Posts Tagged trees

Cambodia

Never did I think I’d be traveling in Cambodia… but here I am sitting in a hot internet cafe on a dusty street in Siem Reap.

Sticky.  That’s how I describe this place.  It is not Rainy Season at the moment and so the weather remains hot and sticky.  My body is constantly covered in a layer of slimy sweat.

Why did I come here?

That’s easy.  I wanted to see Angkor Wat.

Angkor WatAngkor Wat Tree

The border crossing was awful, the relentless calls for ‘tuk tuk’ are annoying, the scorching sun burns my white pasty skin, and the sad little children playing in the dirt just break your heart, but none of this mattered once I caught a glimpse of these amazing temples.

Angkor means ‘Holy City’ and Wat means ‘temple’… so Angkor Wat is the City of Temples.  It is an ancient capital city that was populated between the 9th and 12th centuries AD.  More than a million people lived in and around this city.

Everyone can feel the abundance of power this place holds.

Watching the Earth trying to reclaim its land is my favorite site to see around these ancient temples.  Trees grow right through brick and stone, shoving dirt, moving walls, making way for their roots.  I saw temples like this in Mexico too.

It is awe inspiring.

Nature Always Wins In The End

There are many temples in the Siem Reap area.  We rented bicycles one day and did a 27km loop that took us to 6 different ancient temple sites.  We also hired a tuk tuk driver one day to take us out to the Roluos Group of temples because they were too far away to bike in this heat.

People can buy 1, 3 or 7 day passes to the Angkor area.  It is a bit like getting a visa for a different country.  They take your picture and it is only good for a certain amount of time.  Once you have your pass, you are admitted into any of the temples as many times as  you want.

I recommend seeing the sunset while sitting in front of Angkor Wat.  This temple is the only temple, in this area, that faces West.  So if you’re sitting in front, you’ll be facing the beautiful orange, pink and purple sunset.  Watching the sun go down over a jungle, with only a few temple buildings and palm trees in the skyline, gave me the most serene sense of being I have had in a long time.

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Christmas in Korea

Christmas in Korea is like any other day.

E-mart, along with every other store and shop in Sanbon, remained open.  Unsurprisingly, Koreans celebrate holidays quite differently than we do in the States.  There is a large Christian population (along with the Buddhists), but people don’t go wild with store closings or gift-buying. In America, Christmas is a huge commercial holiday with families spending hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on gifts.

When talking to my students, very few of them had Christmas trees. Even fewer said that they will get presents. Christmas is not a gift-giving holiday in Korea.

I also wasn’t bombarded with Christmas songs non-stop since the day after Halloween.  When I did hear the random Christmas song, I was surprisingly happy to hear it. Sometimes I sang along.   Back home, I get soo sick of Christmas music, hearing all the remakes of the same stupid songs, over and over again.

I did buy a tree.  Albeit a small tacky tree, but perfect in every way.  :razz:

Our director at work gave all the teachers cakes.  Seth got a bigger and different cake than the rest of the office.   His had a huge cookie on top. Mine was a cheesecake.  In the few days before Christmas, all the store windows were lined with red, green and blue boxes of cakes.  Everyone we passed on the street seemed to be carrying a cake too.  Instead of giving presents, I suppose giving cakes is an appropriate way to celebrate Christmas.

Christmas lights make me happy, but finding them in Seoul was a rarity.  When we did see twinkling lights, they were beautiful and reminded me of home.  Sanbon had no decorations of any kind.  These two pictures are from Itaewon and around City Hall.  Areas where foreigners frequent were the only areas decorated with Christmas cheer.

Hanging out with some friends of mine.  Just thought it was a cute pic.  It was a Christmas Eve Eve get-together.  :mrgreen:

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Fall Colors

Perfect weather in Korea doesn’t happen but only a few weeks in Fall.  The weather is wonderful and the scenery is even better.

Yellows, oranges, reds, purples, greens…. gorgeous.  It looked like pages from a storybook.

Changdeokgung (Palace) was especially vibrant this Fall season.  I visited this palace in the summer with Seth’s parents, but it was a completely different visit this time.  I was in heaven.

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