I’m doing something I don’t normally do and posting on the weekend to show off a slideshow I made of my time in Cambodia, with special emphasis made on ancient Khmer culture and the ruins of Angkor Archaeological Park.
The music in this slideshow comes from a recording made by Tara Alan and Tyler Kellen. They recorded a group of landmine victims playing traditional Cambodian music for their blog about bicycling around the world, Going Slowly. While they seem to be back according to their posts, you can get a lot of insight about world travel through their ginormous website. They were nice enough to allow me to use their recording. Remember, you can buy CDs of this music from the musicians themselves, who frequent areas around the temples.
I recommend seeing this video at full screen and if possible, at 1080p quality, the highest available.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be processing and posting shots from my recent trip through Cambodia and Thailand, which took us from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap to Bangkok and Ko Samet. It was an exhausting yet rewarding trip, though we definitely saved time for the beaches of Thailand at Ko Samet near the end.
I’m still trying to contemplate how different the two countries are. Both are based in the same lines of cultural, religious, and historical ancestry but are bitter enemies. I will consider some of these differences in future posts, but should start off with something both countries have very much in common: Theravada Buddhism.
These monks were wandering around Angkor Wat on our third day in Cambodia. The older monk was showing about eight or nine young monks, boys around the ages of 8-10, around the temple complex. In Thailand and Cambodia, monks are not always dedicating their entire life to service in the monastery, so I’m guessing these boys may have recently entered service and will remain living the lives of monks for a few months at most.
While an obvious language barrier existed, it was interesting to see them explore the temple almost as tourists themselves. They were nice enough to stop for some photos as another tourist took a photo of the group with the eldest monk’s cameraphone.
As I mentioned before, I did a LOT in Taipei. It’s a great city with a lot to see – some districts are newer, and others older. While I stayed in the newer parts of the city for things like food and entertainment, the older parts beckon those who want to experience Chinese history, religion, and culture.
Longshan Temple could be called “interdenominational,” as my Lonely Planet guide suggests, but I think that’s glossing over the fact that Chinese religion is super-confusing to most Westerners as it is. Since most people practice a plethora of belief systems, we see most temples “serving out” all or most of these in an almost cafeteria format. Longshan is no different – much like Teo Chew or Pien Hou in Houston, we’ve got Chinese gods, boddhavistas, and Taoist prayer buildings sitting alongside each other.
As usual, click on each for the full Flickr photo.
There are, as usual, a few more on the Flickr stream. I’ll be updating this with shots from Chiang Kai Shek Memorial, Taipei 101, and other Taipei sights within the coming days.