Friday, May 29, 2009

Shorty One

Going back to JB this weekend (eh tonight!). Woots!

Jumpa Fasha di belakang rumah pagi tadi cari gaduh dengan the new cat at our back alley. They are spitting and hissing kat umah sbelah. Hish2. Suke tul buat perangai kat rumah orang.

I hate those Nuffnang innit popup thingies, too. Naseb baik, I taken off the Nuffnang ads from the blog before those annoying thing pervades. And there are some that you can't minimize. Thanks a lot for creating new pop-ups, just when I thought they are now almost obsolete.

During lunch, had some Nasi Kandar from the Kudu restaurant. Supremely sleepy.

Its 5 pm. And its Friday. And I am itching to go back home.

Sometimes people take things for granted and it is pissing me off. A simple thank you pon susah ke? Or do you think you are so special that you are entitled to 'certain' things without any form of acknowledgements. Lantak la.

Aku mahu balik.

I am seriously considering in buying a portable DVD player now. Ramai sangat guna komputer kat rumah, susah la haku maw tengok my series. Tapi, itu bukan alasan ye, as I am also spending my time main game pulak.

Selamat Pengantin Baru to Syukies and Mar, and to my Boss (though he is not reading this) and to my 2, 3 pupu. All whom would be getting married this weekend.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wish List?

There's a reason why I do not put up a wish list... as it is kinda presumptuous. Something like hoping one of your readers or your friends ( who read your blog) would picked up this thing that you would like to buy but loathe to part your money with and give it to you. Being stingy without telling the world that you are and so forth.

Though after a while, come to think of it, the wish list that they put up is not actually for others. Its for themselves. More of a goal... "I wish to accumulate so-amount-wealth so I can buy this stuff". So I let go of my gripe about wish list and just loosen the hell up la kan.

Because I also want a wish list, damn it! I want to buy thing without any money depleting my sad little bank account. Though material-wise and travel-wise, there's a lot of things that I wish for like " A bungalow with indoor swimming pool" or a "tiny castle beside a lake in Scotland as my summer home with James McAvoy come attached to it, even if he would be my butler". Haha. Ok. Not funny.

Nope my wish list are tiny little things, that I wish I could bought but I need to restrict my spending on books because I am spending way toooo much on them already. But of course I always NEED MOAR BOOKS! Cause I could never get enough of books.

It quite amazed me actually. Once a month I would buy 2 or 3 books, but there are still books that I still want and not yet have. I am thanking God for the creation of online shopping for pre-owned books btw which gave me an option to buy book and save me some RM 5 or RM10 which in turn I used to buy more books. This vicious cycle would never end!

So my wish list of books that I keep on wanting to have but don't buy because I kept on buying other books because they are on offer or cheap are:

1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
2. The Wolves in the Wall by Neil Gaiman (though this is because I can't find it)
3. M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman
4. Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman (yes, we detect a pattern here. But with the number 4, end the Neil Gaiman books that I want)
5. Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham. (And its sequel)
6. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame Smith.
7. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
8. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
9. Comics: Fables Vol 5 (currently) by Bill Willingham and so forth
10. 1001 Tales of Arabian Night (In Kinokuniya this is selling for RM800++. Insane. But this is the 18th century unabridged one which also made for some painful reading).

So there are 10. I do believe there's more that I can't think of or forgot.

Do I put it beside on the sidebar? Nah. Let just say that this is one of my own reminder that whenever I go into a bookshop for the purpose of book shopping, do not keep veering off course to buy other shiny new books. Tapi........ jika ade orang mahu beli untuk ku pon aku tak kesah. Hahaha. Perasan *blink* *blink*.

Hmmmm. Come to think of it, I got too many books. Still *shrugs* , kate hobby. Which also comes to a question: If I would sell some of my books here, would any of you would be interested? (Though I do love some of my books and read them again and again and again. Of course those books would not be sold)


Monday, May 25, 2009

Random Ramblings on Monday

Am feeling terribly uninspired at the moment. Because it is Monday?

Bought Fables Vol. 4. Yeay! Finished Neil Gaiman The Dream Hunter, Yeay too ! The tale is really lovely and bittersweet.

Also finished Harriet the Spy. Pretty great. Not your usual fare of childhood story and the correlating morality that always come attached to it.

Went to KLCC on Saturday as my husband was feeling generous and wants to buy the above Fables for me. Then went out with my friends on Saturday night for a movie (Night at the Museum 2. Meh). And on Sunday went to Azie's house at Rawang for a lil visit to the new mother and daughter. Then teman my husband to pick up his sister who is coming here for her graduation. Hence, the events on weekend.

I am still feeling blah and sakit perut la plak. Hoh!

Yeah, still not feeling too la-di-da. Later.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Instance of the Fingerpost

Review of a book! Yeay! Long overdue for a book nerd...



This book was one of my sis's book actually and had been sitting on the shelf waiting to be noticed. Where one day, I looked through the shelf and goes "Hey... I haven't read this one yet". As it had been left on the shelf gathering dust for a few years, the smell was... off putting to say the least.

Took me a few months to get this story over with, to be honest. As sometimes when bored or when I feel it gets too heavy I would then read 'lighter' books in between. Also during the first few weeks I just couldn't stand the smell and kept on sneezing. The smell of the book got better after a while as it had now been considerably aired and even went to Cambodia with me.

Now the story. The summary of the book conveniently lifted from Amazon.com

The year is 1663, and the setting is Oxford, England, during the height of Restoration political intrigue. When Dr. Robert Grove is found dead in his Oxford room, hands clenched and face frozen in arictus of pain, all the signs point to poison. Rashomon-like, the narrative circles around Grove's murder as four different characters give their version of events: Marco da Cola, a visiting Italian physician--or so he would like the reader to believe; Jack Prestcott , the son of a traitor who fled the country to avoid execution; Dr. John Wallis, a mathematician and cryptographer with a predilection for conspiracy theories; and Anthony Wood, a mild-mannered Oxford antiquarian whose tale proves to be the book's "instance of thefingerpost ." (The quote comes from the philosopher Bacon, who, while asserting that all evidence is ultimately fallible, allows for "one instance of a fingerpost that points in one direction only, and allows of no other possibility.")

It was like reading 4 different books retelling the same account of events.

At first the book overwhelmed me by its constant references to the quotes or thought or works of philosophers, great inventors, scientists. The first part deal with a scholar on the brink of discovery and his interaction with other scholars, so it must be a habit with intellectual people long ago to throw random quotes or works at each other. They must be insufferable.

Then the second part deals with the mad Jack Prestcott who tried to clear his father name and regain his family honour.

The 3rd part deals with Dr Wallis who is obsessed with decryption and revenge. The 2nd and 3rd part are slow to digest as it is set during England Restoration period where conspiracies and the fight in retaining religion, monarch and the 'ultimate' courtiers (the men in power to influence the king) served as back drop to their stories.

The 2nd and 3rd part also the hardest for me to read because I was too mad at the characters for being an all around jackass, cold hearted narrators.

The 4th book is an account of an antiquarian who was witness to these events and have the evidence for all the supporting stories. This is the part that I read the fastest and easiest as I am not too bogged down with dead men quotes and forgotten conspiracies.

All 4 of the stories told the same story with the same basic ending. But it really is amazing actually. It is like reading layers and layers interpretation of events from different views and be utterly gobsmacked at the end on how things really turned out. On how perception even with the best argument but without clear evidence, can still be very wrong. So at the end, all the stories makes sense even with Jack Prestcott madness ramblings. I guess I like neat tied ends.

What makes it even more interesting 2 of the character, the antiquarian and Dr Wallis were actually real historical characters and some of the events in this story are also real events with few facts and characters changed.

If I could sum up how the book in few simple words it is; Long winded, detailed, interesting,yet not repetitive (even with 4 narrators telling the same stories again) and very satisfying at the end.

A must read? Those who like historical/murder mystery would find this captivating. Arm yourself with GOOGLE though if your history is a bit rusty.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Siem Reap Trip - Day 5 & 6: Angkor D'Artisans and Shops!

Day 5

Ok I am combining the days 5 and 6 as there were not much activities left. Initially I left the Friday open actually for Tonle Sap, but as we had already gone there the first day and spent 20 USD, not much keen to pay more for a more wider visit.

Artisan D' Angkor

So we decided on Artisan D' Angkor as it was just a stone throw away from the inn. We were greeted by one of the guide and was left on our own to just browse around the workshop. Hmmm. Ok.


The Artisans D'Angkor also provide a free shuttle bas ( a van) to their silk farm which is about 11 - 16 km away. So off we went. We were greeted by one of the guide who then steered us around and gave us a tour around the place. We basically got to see the whole process on the silk making from the puny little wormies spunning its golden cocoon to the lovely woven silken cloth.


The only complaint that I can think of was that the guide was a bit too hurried. But we did enjoyed our time there. Dropped in their shop and was seriously tempted to buy a really lovely long silk blouse priced at USD75. Darab la dengan 3.5 or 4, imagine the price in RM la kan. My husband pulak... "Up to you la, you tak beli ape-ape lagi untuk you." Hoh! But I talked myself out of it as aku bukannye selalu bergelemer sana sini untuk memakai baju silk yang ratus ratus regenye.

Decided also to spend our time lepaking around the silk farm by indulging on a banana split sold at the posh looking cafe. Maybe posh, but the price is ok enough la and the taste of the ice cream was exquisite. Banana split not pictured.

Afterwards, we decide to laze around at the hotel before roaming around town for a spot of shopping around town and dinner.

Food!

We had dinner at a vegetarian restaurant called Chamkar that served traditional Khmer cuisine but, vege ones. A very nice lovely restaurant. The food was ok. We ordered some fried labu and other vege things thrown in. Nice, but a bit muak at the end. My husband also ordered the mango salad and vegetable curry where gravy looked thick, but taste surprisingly mild and thus I love.



Went around the Angkor Night Market and Noon Night Market, hunting for last minute souvenirs and massage!

Yes, dahling. 2USD massage. My husband was really keen on one last massage before going back though not so much moi. I opted for the manicure instead. 2USD also! Wheee! Never have a manicure before, so for 2 USD why not la kan?

Day 6

Its now Day 6 and our last day there. After packing up all our things, we decided to head out again as I was interested in buying a custom made old fashioned stamp . As our flight was on 2 pm, we had plenty of time for a last stroll around the town.

The first picture is a row of fruit stalls. We bought the lychee the day before there. Smaller than the usual here and a little less sweet. The second picture from below is my favorite bakery there "The Blue Pumpkin". Quite famous in Siem Reap. Went inside for ice cream (for breakfast) and it was delish! At least lagi murah dari freakin Baskin Robbins.




Yups, the kedai that have the stamp. Also sempat jua bershopping last minute on bags there. I bought my new purse there that I love. Yeah, Seri. Gamba di atas itu adalah khas untuk anda sebab anda request. Was busy choosing the design of the stamp.

Then we checked out, say our thanks to the lovely owner and staffs of the Mandalay Inn and off we go to the airport.

Pretty tired by this time.

I had a lovely time, overall at Siem Reap. Both of us like it it there immensely. Would recommend anyone interested for a spot of 'history trekking' to go there.

I may post up some pictures on the stuff that we bought there. Not that there are much. But that would be another post. As, aku perlu mengambil gamba dahulu.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Big Bad Wolf Book Sale

Just got back from the warehouse book sale titled above at PJ.

These are what we bought.


Around 24 books. If you rajin enough to count, there are 22 books in there. 2 are not pictured. One of them is a recipe book (OMG! Dils cooked? Horror of horrors! Don't fret, it will be most prolly just for display) and another is a Minnie Mouse cloth book for Abid. I gave that to him and he tossed it aside. He is more interested in MY books.

Overall I am pretty satisfied with what I had bought. Bought 2 Matthew Reilly books,which my husband was looking cause he was hooked on the previous Matthew Reilly's 7 Ancient Wonder's book that I bought. 3 or 4 books in the box (like the Guinness World Records and Jokes book thingies which I would never bought because what the INTERNET are for if not for useless facts eh. Different people, different taste) are his.

Pretty excited because I was hoping I could get Cormac McCarthy book "The Road" and I found it. Bought the Golden Compass series which I was itching to get before, also Inkheart. Also the Undead series where I had been eyeing at Kinokuniya for so long. Though I only manage to get 3 of the series. There are also a few books, that I deigned interesting enough and tossed it into the box, hoping it would be good.

After this? The long hours of membalut each book before reading it. Oh, you should go if you get the chance too. Tomorrow and Monday it is still there, and probably would be even more massive. There are still loads of boxes left unopen for your literary treasures!

I had spoken with a woman who mentioned that today is her 2nd visit (or shopping trip there). There was a husband and wife where the husband eyes bulged when he saw the amount of books his wife had bought ( "You beli semua ni?!!!"). Some old ladies bringing trolley (genius!) in preparation for stock of books! Yeps, pretty hilarious place for people watching too.

Ops. Total damage: RM207. Well, ok lar tu.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Siem Reap Trip - Day 4: Roluos Group and Cambodia Cultural Village

The last temple visits left in our 3 day pass. I did planned to go to Beng Meleaa but paying extra 20USD for a ride over there is a bit pricey for us as the journey is more than an hour . So we went to the Roluos group of temple that is located a bit further away from Siem Reap town.

Our visit today at least is shorter than the past 2 days which is just nice because moving my legs was beginning to be painful due to the energetic roaming and climbing around we done the past 2 days.

Lolei

We got here early and there was no one around. Not much to see either, kinda like a forgotten 4 old towers in the middle of a village although long ago this actually used to be an island temple in the middle of its man made lake (baray). There were some orphanage groups near the place smiling giving us their pamphlets informing on the plight of the children of their orphanage.



Preah Ko

A lovely 6 brick towers temple. It used to be rather big and nearby it should be an old Royal Palace even but some of its structure are gone. Not much to see as it was basically an open space with 6 brick towers and some of its buildings (the gopura and libraries) are in ruins with their roofs missing.



In front of Preah Ko, there's a place where someone had done a miniature on some of its famous temples such as Angkor Wat and Banteay Srei. Below are the miniatures of 3 temples that we were visiting that day.



The place provided a donation box nearby, so anyone who had visited the place can place any amount of donation they like. My husband and I felt really bad that day as we do not have small change (the smallest we had were 20USD) to put into the donation box, because the miniatures and its cute dog are really quite fetching.


Bakong

One of the more impressive temple mountain of the whole bunch. We spent some time here climbing one level to the next and just enjoying the view. It is also one of my favorite. This temple is the first temple mountain constructed by the Khmer.


I like the feeling of the place. The moat there is still filled with water and the huge shady trees make the temple quite picturesque. There are also some schoolchildren and teenagers in school uniform hanging around the temples picking off fruits from the trees, eating and joking around beside the old ruins.


Cambodia Cultural Village

Afterward we were at a loss on where to go so we decided upon Cambodia Cultural Village. The cultural village highlight a wax museum, miniatures garden of major buildings of Phnom Penh and also showcasing each ethnic of village houses.


Both of us were disappointed though. I did thought that the wax museums was delightful and the judgment tunnel and miniature garden were interesting. The judgement tunnel though interesting, make my head spins. There was a blinking light around it, which make it harder for someone (or people like me who can get nauseous really easily) to stay in there too long. So by the end of the tunnel I was like "Quick!" "Quick!" "I need to get the hell out ASAP or I will puke on one of the display"

The Cultural Village is pretty good I guess if you timed your day perfectly to it schedule. If you do not feel or have time to stick around for the whole performances (the grand performance seems to be on Friday, Sat and Sun. It was Thursday for us),there's not much to see. It is especially frustrating with the lack of a proper information or boards informing who is who and what is what around the cultural village. Also the village of the different ethnicity that they showcase, all have locked doors and the houses is just a show of exteriors, excepting the Champa village. Sigh. They have a guide service, but you need to pay extra (more than 10 USD) I think for a guide. I guess in my mind I was comparing it to the excellent Sarawak Cultural Village that I walked away from the Cambodia Cultural Village feeling meh.


Foodies!

Finished touring the Cultural Village, we then asked our driver to take us to D'Wau a Malaysian restaurant at the Wat Bo area. The driver almost get us lost, because he was not too sure where it is but we did found the restaurant in the end.


Reaching there, we laughed cause we encountered the Rasa Halal Orient crew again. They also laughed and said we were late as they were just about finishing off. Terasa stalker pulak. The nicest thing when we bertembung with the Rasa Halal Orient production crew ni, the owner will be there and thus giving us opportunity to converse with the owner.

Like I said, we spoke with the owner (who is a Malaysian) and he is very helpful in suggesting us where to go and what to do. Though we only have 1 day left in our itinerary. Hehe.

The food was excellent though but we ordered only the usual Malaysian dish which was Ikan 3 Rasa and Kerabu Mangga as the food was a tad bit expensive than the usual price we are used to.


Apsara performance

As I want to see some apsara performance but loathe to go very far and sewa a tuktuk, we decided to go to a nearby club that have free nightly apsara performances. So for dinner, we went to Temple Bar at Pub Street. We just picked a vege pizza to go with our fries (I was dying for some trans fat deep fried goodness) while watching the performance.


I love it. There was the blessing dance, the apsara dance, the fisherman dance, peacock dance and other that I completely forgot the name.


The blessing dance reminds me of PGL movie when Tiara flicked the jasmine flowers to M. Nasir.

Speaking of apsara dance when we were in Siem Reap there is a lot of brochures featuring the night show at Angkor Wat that have battle scene, dances, reenactments of the olden days. The pictures I seen in the bunting looked completely amazing, though I did not asked the price as I would guess it would be pricey (a quick google search yield it is 45USD) . It must be interesting though.

Also:
Siem Reap Trip - Day 1: Arrival and The Lake
Siem Reap Trip - Day 2: Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Keo and Ta Phrom
Siem Reap Trip - Day 3: Banteay Kdei, Banteay Srei, East Baray and Northeastern Angkor group & Landmine Museum

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

PSA : Tough stain is a bitch

Taking a break from this Siem Reap posts. Yes, more to come. But not much more.

Anyway, last weekend I had rendam a blue baju kurung that needs to be handwashed (actually not need, but I like to hand wash any baju kurung that have beads) with a pink silk blouse. Leaving it for a few hours and I noticed that the baju kurung now had tompok-tompok pink, and few other clothes too (undies!). I totally hate it when that happened.

Grrrrr. I forgot that some of these silk blouse color totally run. And it messes the nice baju kurung which also I pinjam from my sis. Hikhik. And those stain are a bitch to wash out. After separating the clothes, googling, putting some vinegar and baking powder for good measure. Went to Giant and bought Oxy-Plus Stain Remover. Pour a bit into the soaked clothes and leave for a few hours, and it is gone! Yeay! The same for my undies too! Yeay! Though it is advisable you used hot water to wash out tough stains. So I pre-soaked my clothes in hot water. Do that and it is fine.

Haaa! I will later test it on my other poor clothes that had suffered the same fate.

Eh... I am reviewing household product dah ke skang? It had come to this?

Whatever. I am too sexcited that it worked cause I hate it when I have stain on my clothes ok. So I am telling you guys this piece of advice too. And now, I am going out for lunch.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Siem Reap Trip - Day 3: Banteay Kdei, Banteay Srei, East Baray and Northeastern Angkor group & Landmine Museum

This day, we had another appointment with another tuktuk driver Mr. Rithy (who brought us to the Tonle Sap)for another day of temple visits. The temples that we going to visit is a bit further away, so we had negotiated the price of tuktuk of about 15USD for the whole day.

Banteay Kdei
Our first visit was Banteay Kdei. We planned to visit this temple the day before but did not have time. Glad we make it that day on early morning. The temple had whimsical feel to it due to its some part in ruins and some part restored. Lots of mosquitoes in the early morning though and we forgot to bring the insect repellent. We did enjoyed looking around the maze like place.


There was a tiny cute little boy who persistently asked us to buy the flutes he's selling (2 for USD1). We declined nicely, and only afterwards I regretted not buying the flutes as it was cheap and would make a great souvenir. "No, thank you" had become an automatic response due to lots of peddlers and kids selling their wares and souvenirs around the temples and town too . The goods they are selling are ridiculously cheap (USD1 for a guide book for e.g.) but some people discouraged you from buying from these kids as they should be in school and some of the kids are exploited. But they are just heartbreakingly persistent.


Pre Rup
We then went ahead to Pre Rup. This is another temple mountain. Somewhat high, not so steep though. So I manage to climb my way to the step, tho I did feel sick going downwards afterwards. My husband was laughing when he noticed that my hand was shaking when I was taking picture at the top level of Pre Rup. Yes. Laughed at the person who have the fear of height.




Banteay Srei
Quite a long way from Siem Reap. Took us about more than 30 minutes to reach there. It was fine anyway as I was enjoying the view and I like riding on a tuktuk. Best je rase angin. I was also having fun reading the name of the contributors on each pipe (located in front of the houses in the rural areas) we seen beside the road on the way to the temple. Seems like they had recently introduced a new health campaign for promoting clean water by providing them clean well or pipe, beside the pipes are the names of the contributor who had provided for the particular house.


Anyway reaching there, there was a bit of a crowd. We decided to quickly passed an annoying gaggle of tourist girls who keep on posing (with different pose) at the doorway, each taking their own sweet time. Aside from that, I like Banteay Srei. The temples have intricate delicately beautiful carvings. The temple is unique and easily recognizable compare to the others from the doorway, to its lovely deco and the stone causeways.

During our roaming around the temple we encountered a weird Japanese man who brought along a violin case. At first I naturally thought there was a violin in it. Then he set down the case and I was thinking to myself "Oh, he is going to play the violin because he was inspired by the scenery?". Clearly my imagination is far too poetic, because the case revealed a large doll with dark elegant ruffled lace gown with dark curly hairs. He spread open a handkerchief and sat down the doll and took pictures of the doll with Banteay Srei as background. Clearly the strangest sight I ever seen. An Austrian tourist nearby (who was also watching all this curiously) asked the man, if the doll is special or have any sort of meaning, the Japanese man just answered smilingly, "No. No. This is just a doll".


Cambodia Landmine Museum
Afterwards we went to the Landmine museum opened by one of the local Cambodian Aki-Ra. He used to be a child soldier in the Khmer Rouge where he was tasked to plant landmines. Now he spent his life defusing these landmines, helping children and family who are landmine victims and advocating the cause in educating people regarding the danger of landmines. Clearly a remarkable man.



East Mebon
Another temple that we visit after the Landmine museum. The temple somewhat reminisce of Pre Rup but it is just high because this temple long ago was build on an island. Around it used to be a man made lake I think. The temple have a twin actually, on the far side called West Mebon. But the East Mebon is the best preserved.


Ta Som
Next we went to Ta Som. This is reminiscent of Banteay Kdei and Ta Phrom. It is a beautiful small maze like temple. Also part in ruins part restored. Have some really lovely apsara and devata reliefs in them.



Neak Pean
Then to Neak Pean which was an ancient ponds, 1 main pond that have a tower in the middle with 4 smaller pond surrounding it. It was said that the water have healing properties to it. Hmmm.



When we visited there, there was no water in any of the ponds though aside from a few very large lopak. Thus, we can easily walked to the tower and the horse statue, called Balaha for a closer look.

Where we then noticed this particular statue of Balaha that have the men carrying the horse, also show this particular man looking far too happy to be holding up a man butt up his head.


Preah Khan
Preah Khan is quite a big temple and it was the last temple we visited of the day. This site used to be a temple school, kinda like a monastery university in the olden day. The size was immense and from the lavish gate similar like Angkor Thom of its Churning of the Milk Sea statues and balustrade that greeted us. We have to walked around the outer enclosure to get into the temple as the entrance from where we came is under restoration and closed. Similar to Ta Som, Ta Phrom and Banteay Kdei (though more immense in size), it also share the part ruins and part restored quality feel to it where there are quite a number of old giant gnarled tree entwined with the walls.


A best place really to just explore and walk around. I liked it that so far this is only temple in our visit that have a grand looking building with round column (above: 2nd picture from the left) which reminded me of the Greek temples, though so far the theory is that this place is used to store some kind of food. I also like the feel of walking around the passageways and hallways and be completely enchanted by the ethereal-like feel of the place. It just feel precious. ( And I do have an over active imagination )

That conclude the temple visit of the day. After a round of temple visit, we were very hungry and gave direction (according to our best knowledge) to our driver on where to find the Muslim restaurant we had glimpsed its signboard earlier the day before.

Glorious Food

When we arrived we were surprised to find that the Rasa Halal Orient crew with Farah AF(tahlah brape) were there shooting for their show. Haha! The owner was apologetic and asked us if we do not mind if we would be having what the crew would also be having as they are not used to have a big number of people dining there and are unusually busy. We agreed as we ourselves would not know what we want to order anyway.


Which the above was what we get. Not pictured is the daging naik bukit. My favorite was the sup udang. It was sooo delish. The amok itself was nice, though it was modified a bit. Kinda like "express" amok. Instead of the sup gulai of amok fish that usually being served, we get the fried version. It was also very nice btw. But even today I am salivating thinking of that yummy sup udang.

The crew was a friendly bunch. It was also quite entertaining to watch on how the show being shoot. Tak pasal-pasal dapat 'free pass' on behind the show since the cooking was also being showed at the same room as our dining room. Nice! Though because of this lewat la jugak dapat makan and we were reallly hungry as we didn't eat anything except breakfast for the whole day. So by the time balik, we tipped extra to our tuktuk driver for courtesy reason as he patiently await for us to finish our meal.

For the whole meal, it cost us 8USD, which was a fair price as the owner keep topping our rice and lauk-pauk. Very the generous. I would recommend those who would come here to try out Haji Musa, (that's the owner name) place. The restaurant is in the middle of a Muslim village in Siem Reap, next to a mosque.

After a very hearty meal, we did not feel the need to go out after a day of climbing up and down and trekking through ancient buildings. Decided to stay in at the hotel dan sapu analgesic cream on our legs aje. Penat.


Also:
Siem Reap Trip - Day 1: Arrival and The Lake
Siem Reap Trip - Day 2: Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Keo and Ta Phrom


Friday, May 08, 2009

Siem Reap Trip - Day 2: Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Keo and Ta Phrom

We had arranged for the hotel on our tuk-tuk for the whole day. Our plan for the day is basically going from one temple to another around the Angkor Wat area. We planned to take the 3 days pass to visit the temples ruins. So lepas ni berlambak la gambar temple2 ancient Khmer ni.

The temple pass bought at the the ticket counter near Angkor Wat is USD20 per person for 1 day, USD40 for 3 days, USD60 for 7 days. (Macam bole muntah darah je tengok temple tak abes for 7 days . Prolly more suitable for people who are really into ancient art carvings or history and wants to take note and such). For a tour guide, it will cost you USD25 per day. I do think hiring a guide is the way to go, but we don't have a lot of money to spare, so we opt out and bought a guidebook instead. But if you went there with family or with a group, a guide would be great in telling the history and the details of the places.


At first we went into Angkor Wat. We headed out at 8 a.m. But it felt like in the middle of noon. It is so hot. A hat is a must! The picture I took for the front view was turrible. But I am feeling pretty heady just walking on the huge pathway/bridge up to the building.

We wandered in inside, wondering where to go first. It is huge!

Some of the photos around Angkor Wat


It's gonna be painfully long if I want to tell it in details, so probably I will just say I enjoyed looking through the beautivul carvings of apsaras, devatas, warriors, statues and the intricate decoration lining the pillars, steps, overhead, and walls. Those who studied Buddhism and Hinduism or know the histories would probably enjoyed it a whole lot more. Especially when looking at the bas reliefs (the second picture below), as it is basically 'manga' (as what my husband called it) etched on walls.

The last picture from the left is the 'apsara'. The Khmer were obsessed on them. Almost all of the temples have the apsara carvings decorating their walls or pillars. The nicest thing is, the apsara dancers carved on these walls are all different depicted with different hairstyles or poses. I loathe to delete any pictures that I took that have apsara in them, because its all so beautiful and unique to me.

After wandering around Angkor Wat we decided to go to Angkor Thom. We walked up back of Angkor Wat (rather aimlessly), thinking that Angkor Thom is nearby (you need a tuktuk to go from 1 temple to the next usually) then was stuck at one of the old gate post (gopura I think it called) when the rain came pouring down. We are stuck for about 1 hour where afterwards we headed back to our tuktuk to ask them to bring us there.

Angkor Thom is basically an ancient city. So the place was even more huge. Inside Angkor Thom are several magnificent temples dedicated to all of these old kings. The sight of the gate itself is magnificent. We haven't yet came into this old city.

The south gate of Angkor Thom

Then coming into the city we were greeted by this sight and it is truly one of a kind.

Bayon


The above is Bayon. Sprawling temple with its enigmatic face towers. It is a massive complex where you can climb up to its face towers and the lower complex walls are full of bas reliefs, but many of these are in ruins. At this point it was beginning to get hot again. I was reapplying sunblock to no avail. A sunburn is imminent.


Bapuon
Next we went to Bapuon, a temple-mountain so to speaks. We only went up to the front as it is still under heavy restoration and construction. Love the walkway btw.



Elephant Terrace
Our plan was to go and see the ancient Royal Palace, but it looked like its gonna rain( just a tiny bit of drizzle ) then we went and sit around the Elephant terrace, enjoying the view. This terrace was actually once a royal reception pavilions (whatever that means). The terrace was full of garuda and elephant motifs carved into its walls. We were looking for the hidden 5 headed horse motif but couldn't find it.


Terrace of the Leper King
Right next to the Elephant Terrace , is the Leper King Terrace. Nobody knows for sure why it is called that tho there are many theories. One of the most amazing set of reliefs I seen in my opinion.


Suor Prat Towers
This we only looked around on the outside on one of its tower as there are 12 identical towers facing the Elephant Terrace and Leper King Terrace. No one knows what its functions are and not much to see there either. Amazing actually on how little does we know on so many amazing architectures. After these, we need to get into the tuk tuk for the other temple ruins.


Spean Thma
On the way to another temple, our tuktuk ( I love saying tuktuk) driver stopped by the road for a while and point us this.

This was the remain of a bridge built by the ancient Khmer where it crosses the Siem Reap river. The river had changed its course now.

Chao Sao Tevoda
Another minor temple. Very quaint-like. There was a persistent tukang sapu/monk there who asked me to bakar one of the colok and give some donations which I did. I believe it is important that we respect other people culture and religion when we come to their place as much as we want other foreigners to do the same (covering head, and decent clothes) when they want to see our old mosques. After all makcik tukang sapu tu nak makan jugak. Bagi je la.

The first picture is one of the carvings of the steps.


Thommanon
Another small temple just across from Chao Sao Tevoda. A bit like Angkor Wat design.



Ta Keo
The only temple we went for the whole trip that I didn't climb right up to the top. It was crazy steep and I am mortally afraid of stairs. I only manage the first level. (There are 3 levels). My husband went up the second while I roam around the lower level. He attempted the 3rd level but changed his mind halfway up. Keskeskes.

The last picture makes me think of Pompeii. Hehe.

This temple was called a giant temple mountain. It is indeed. It was unfinished actually. The king who built it gave the temple to someone else (another king?) and that person wouldn't occupy the top area (only used the lower parts) considering himself unworthy of such honour. I personally think that person was just afraid of heights.

Ta Prohm
The cherry on top of the whole day when we went to Ta Phrom. Also our last temple of the day. By this time both of us smelled a little better than kerbau (the hot sun and the climbing around). If you think we were the only one, you are wrong as at one point I was standing near a quite cute Mat Salleh woman and OMG her smell was even more gag inducing.


This is actually the famed "Tomb Raider" shooting location and it was breathtakingly beautiful.
The first picture is the doorway shown in the movie.

This used to be a temple monastery. The old gnarled tree roots intertwined itself into the walls and bricks. Lots of tourist in here tho, which is the downside. The nicest thing about these old sprawling temples are sometimes you find yourselves completely alone and you can just sit back and enjoyed the view while taking a sip of water. But still Ta Phrom is worth the visit and you can find yourself a quiet spot easy enough to enjoy the view of the work of nature gently prying apart these man made buildings.

At this point my camera is just about to give up on me. Afterwards we went back and head for dinner again at Maharajah (after searching futilely for a Muslim restaurant where we saw a signboard earlier, but when we walked back to the hotel we noticed the sign is actually near the hotel. Bah!). We just ordered fried rice. His was beef. Mine was fish. His was nice. Mine was turrible. I guess the fish is too hanyir for my taste.

Lepas tu jua sempat gi massage at the Angkor Night Market. USD3 for 30 mins for foot massage and I took the head massage. A good end after a tiring day I believe.



Also:
Siem Reap Trip - Day 1: Arrival and The Lake


p/s: Super long. I know, don't bitch but this post is mainly for me too. There are many places I like to remember. Sometimes I like to look back at my archive and read back the experience I had.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Siem Reap Trip - Day 1: Arrival and The Lake

Haaa! Dah dapat pon komputer. Super excited. The komputer had been wiped clean btw. Thank God I didn't copy all pictures to my work laptop and delete the memory card in my camera like I originally planned. Computer ini sekarang suci dari dosa-dosa. Sudah-sudah, jangan merepek and will blog about Siem Reap.

Those looking for the condensed version can go visit my husband's blog. For once, he blogged more than moi. ( Dan make me much malas to update. Boleh?)

We bertolak at 27th April around 11 am from KLIA and reached there noon. Cambodia is an hour behind us. Arriving there, a tuktuk hired from the guesthouse we would be staying was waiting for us. We took Mandalay Inn as a our place to stay during the week duration as it is within walking distance to the town and cheap (16USD per night for our room).


Yeah... Does not look much. But the staffs there is super friendly. And most importantly the room is CLEAN. Which it is always kept as CLEAN during our duration there. Did not take a photo of the room though. But below is the view from our room.

Late afternoon, we decided to walk around the Siem Reap town area. We walk around from the Old Market, Pub Street and up to the Center Market. The town is not so big and most definitely full of tourists. And it is ever so dusty.

The picture of the left is actually in front of Center Market. Basically the whole Siem Reap town look like this.

I decided to see the markets as I would like to see price sold for the souvenirs and trinkets. Old Market (Psar Chaa) supposedly is a nice place to shop. It was oklah, a bit expensive from others but you can find shops that can give you good bargains. I read before that Center Market offers the cheapest souvenirs to tourists. Found out, not so much. You can get it around the same price anywhere else if you look hard enough. Also the people at Center Market does not seem incline to lower their price compare to other places. So we shopped there the least.

Wandering around we found ourselves back at Pub Street. As both of us are reasonably hungry we decided to dine at one of the Halal Indian restaurant there, the Maharajah. The owner informed us he is from Lahore and when we was there he was intent on YM-ing and the tv was playing some old Hindustan movie. Feel right at home right?

I ordered myself a garlic naan with tandoori chicken. The tandoori was excellent. Never tasted anything like it here. My husband ordered the non-veg Thali. No idea what it meant. But it comprised of rice (briyani-like), chapati and curries and dhals. With extra rice lagi.

While we were eating, an extremely eager tuk-tuk driver was patiently waiting to bring us to Tonle Sap. My husband and I discussed among ourselves and we agreed on his offer to bring us there.

On the way there, it give us a chance to take in the sight of rural place and also the river villages. Some are living in a pretty terrible condition. But the view of the country sight is wonderful. Paddy fields, lotus filled pool, the houses with the frail stilts propping it up.


When we get at the boats that were to take tourists to the Tonle Sap, we were surprised that it was USD20 per person. We questioned them repeatedly but they were adamant that this is the standard rate. My husband gave in while I was silently cursing. Banyak tu. USD plak kan. Because from what I know it should be USD10 per person. Dasar cekik darah. Ikutkan hati nak aje aku naik balik tuk-tuk tu suruh bawak balik inn. My husband plak duk tanya me, if it is OK but at the end he gave in to the boatsmen insistence. Takkan aku nak tunjuk EPIC bitch moment kat situ kan. Hukhukhuk. My husband was still thinking it is USD40 per boat. Lantak la.

Personally I think we were screwed. But what's done is done. So for any other people wanting to go there, I would suggest asking your hotel first the usual rate and buy at the ticket counters or go with some tour operators.

Not wanting to start the holiday with a bad taste in my mouth so to speak, I decided to just let it go and sit back to enjoy the view. And it is a nice view indeed.

You can click at the picture for a bigger view. The first picture showed a mobile futsal/basketball court for the students there on the river. Totally cool. The school is just in front (not pictured here though). The third picture, is the floating village on the lake from afar. It looks totally magnificent from afar and even more so when closer. The fourth pic is a boathouse jamban. Your waste would fall directly into the lake. Ugh. Which is why some of the people living at the lake kept on getting sick as they used the same water to drink, bathe and throw their waste into. The other pictures are a few random pictures taken there.

At the floating village, we stopped awhile at a floating restaurant/souvenir shops that provided us with a much more expanded and lovelier view of the lake. Also I befriended a cat.


I missed my cat so when this cat sidled along I petted her. She is much more manja than Fasha (kucing durhaka yang hobinye using my hand as scratching board itu) where she started to follow me around and plopped herself on my foot whenever I am standing. It was almost sun down when we get back, so there are some pretty exquisite pictures moment to be taken there. Though we were not staying around for the sunset as there is some extra charges attached if we want to stay further. I understand that it is considered overtime for the boatsmen, but we are not paying more than USD40 thank you very much.

Getting back, we decided to go to the Angkor Night Market which is about 5-10 minutes walk from our inn. Nice. Angkor Night Market is just in front of the Noon-Night Market. Both are completely different markets that sell the same things. I do believe that this is the nicest place to buy your trinkets and souvenirs. We bought some souvenirs (shirts, magnets, scarves, bags etc...) and I bought meself and my sister suede chic bags. I know. It is lovely though, but I couldn't be arsed to show it to you. There are some lovely cheap scarves but I declined to buy those as I am sure I would not be using it.

We get back to the inn, super dusty and excited with all the things we bought. Our room tv have pretty good cables and there are a few movie channels (same as Astro) and some other local channels from other countries to choose from. We finished our night in front of the tv with a cup of Maggi Mee that we bought from Malaysia. Just in case kebuloq di negara orang.

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