Photo Hunt #082: Withered

Sorry about being absent in Photo Hunt for a few weeks. I was on holiday mode way before the Khmer New Year. Now that I’m back (again), I’m going to make up (again) for my absence.

The theme for this week is “withered”. So, here goes…

My husband and I love driving around on weekends. We often end up between Kandal and Kampong Chhnang areas, which is on the northwest  of Phnom Penh and about a couple of hours drive from the city. And why do we do that? If you happen to drive through Cambodia’s countryside, you will know why.

One of the reasons is the charming countryside. Ricefields! We love being surrounded by rice-fields as far as our eyes can see. At this time of the year, when summer is in full swing and the harvest season is over, the once verdant fields have turned into golden brown. And what a sight to behold!

Below is a picture of an already-harvested field. After harvesting, the rice straws are left there. Traditionally, farmers burn the rice straws or leave it there to decompose. More often, you can also see cows grazing and occassional white birds (egrets?) dotting the ricefields.

The huge stupas of Phnom Oudong, on the background, and Wat Chey Oudom on the middle-ground.

There is so much to see in the countryside if only you’re game enough to go off the beaten track and sweat a little.

Not very far from Phnom Oudong (closer to PP), we bravely explored Phnom Prasith during the weekend of the Chinese New Year. Phnom Prasith’s secret (well, not anymore) is a pre-Angkorian wat (temple) – or what’s left of it – tucked away on top of a hill.

The three pictures above remind me of the temples in Angkor Wat. Overgrown by trees and bushes, the temple evoked the same mystery as that of Angkor Wat. Imagine how many temples like this are found not far from Phnom Penh?

Inside the temple is a make-shift altar built in between two huge boulders. According to the temple-keeper, below the altar is a tunnel spanning 16kms., connecting this wat to Phnom Oudong. It must have served as a secret passageway to a rendezvous or trysts during the old times. We saw where it is – it is big. And dark. No one dared to check it out.

It was very quiet, sunny, but not too hot, when we got out after a tour inside the wat. Feeling a little bit like Indiana Jones, we explored the area further. There’s this old stupa that caught my attention. It was old and left untended for years if I am not mistaken. I immediately took photos.

With the gnarly trees and withered surroundings, I sensed something was in the air and stopped in my tracks. Something mystical was blowing through this part of the woods and it sent shivers down to my spine. I had goosebumps and I felt the hair on the back of my neck stood on its end. I hastened my steps to catch up with my husband. I was half-walking, half-running towards him thinking about the area being  guarded by spirits when I got distracted by this black thing a few feet away from me, protruding from the withered leaves carpeting the  ground.

It’s a broken piece of something… maybe a part of the old stupa. Who knows how long it has been laying around there. If you’d look closer, you can actually see some details on it. They’re lotus petals, I’m sure of that.

It’s been two months since our visit there but up to now I can still remember that eerie encounter in the woods. I wonder what it was. Some adventure, eh?

photohunter7iq

NB: All pictures first appeared on my photo blog, Inside Cambodia.

Photo Hunt 071: Numb

This photo was taken several ago when one of my dogs, little Lily, had a nasty fall. We brought her immediately to the vet and, after an xray test result showed a fractured left front leg, she was immediately sedated for surgery.

My poor Lily! It took awhile before the cast was taken off.

I remember this very well because when we took her home from the vet, she was still groggy. The vet said the injured leg was still numb from the anesthesia so she was unable to move properly yet.  My heart instantly went out to her. She looked genuinely sad just by looking at her eyes and obviously wanting extra TLC from me and my husband. And we did, but my husband and I couldn’t help but laugh at her cast though. It was bigger than she was.

photohunter7iq

Photo Hunt #66: Waiting game

This little bugger, Joe, loves to play all the time, especially with my husband. He loves chasing and retrieving the ball. At around 5pm, almost everyday, when Joe hears the sound of our car, he immediately fetches his ball from where he left it last.

Photo taken by my younger brother, and originally posted in My Dogspot.
Photo taken by my younger brother, and originally posted in My Dogspot.

Then and positions himself by the door, and lay there, with the ball in front of him, patiently waiting for my husband to come in.

photohunter7iq[11]

 

Photo Hunt #41: Vertical Airport


It’s been a long while since I posted my last Photo Hunt entry. I allowed myself to be carried away by procrastination and sheer laziness so I distanced away from blogging for some time. Now that I have finally gotten the blogging groove back, I’m slowly creeping into the blogosphere and starting to get active again in the photo-memes that I’ve joined before. So this week, I’m coming back to Photo Hunt. I hope old friends find me here again, if not, hopefully new ones will come.

The theme for this week is vertical, and having taken very little pictures the past few months, I decided to hunt from my old photos (taken on my first (2003) and second (2009) trips to Laos. Not so old, mind you… here it is:

This picture shows the Patuxai Monument in Vientiane, Laos (also known as the Gate of Triumph or Victory Gate), arguably the most photographed landmark in the city. The monument was built in honor of those who died fighting in the war against the French.
Patuxai is said to be modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in France, thus earning the title the Asian version of the Arc. However, the similarity ends only there as the Patuxai Monument, just like the temples and monuments in neighboring Thailand and Cambodia, is never without its bling-blings. Take a look at the ceiling, for example…

The Patuxai monument is typically in Laotian design and details, decorated in typical Buddhist style featuring mythical creatures.

On top of the Patuxai monument (that is, if you are fit enough to climb several flights of stairs to reach the top!) a panoramic view of the city of Vientiane awaits you.  Great for taking pictures.

Just a bit of trivia here to explain why I chose this picture for this week’s vertical theme.

A friend of mine who worked in Vientiane for several years told me that the Patuxai monument was nicknamed as the vertical airport of Laos. Story goes that in the 1960s, the US government gave money to Laos to build a new city airport. However, the Laotian government then, for some reason, used the money to build a monument instead. And so, the Patuxai monument was referred by some as the vertical airport, even up to this day.

Photo Hunt #40: Utensils

Wow, it’s been more than 6months since I last posted an entry for Photo-hunt. I miss you all guys…. I hope old friends find me again here 🙂

Here’s my entry for this week’s theme:

utensils
It was, about two years ago, that I had one of the most delightful dining experiences of my life. With old-world Nepal setting the tone, food was served in antique, traditional bowls and heavy silverwares. Amazing. Come with me as I relive my old-world dining experience in Nepal.

Closer view:

Photo-hunt #39: Bridge

PH Bridge - Panay Bridge
Panay Bridge
Roxas City, Capiz
Philippines

Panay Bridge is one of the enduring landmarks in my hometown of Roxas City. It was built in 1910 but despite the long years and the many typhoons that hit the city, the bridge remains standing and as strong as ever. The bridge connects the main streets to the city’s commercial area and the gateway to most of the municipalities of Capiz province.

*NB. I was told that the bridge is now known as the Roxas City Bridge.

Photo-hunt #38: Furry

Years ago I was assigned to the coastal town of Kep. My only means to go to the different villages was a motorbike. Since I could not drive a motorbike, my husband gladly took on the role as my driver. Rain or shine, we traveled to 11 villages with our furry little pet, Max.

PH furry max

She huddled behind my husband when it rained, and put her nose in the breeze when it’s sunny. Villagers found Max highly amusing (she has the color of a monkey), tame, and approachable. She was a good ice-breaker wherever we went. We came home one afternoon and saw a mob of schoolchildren trying to coax a monkey out of an isolated roadside tree. The monkey looked terrified, and so did Max when the crowd turned to look at her. She’s a “monkey-colored” dog. My husband and I laughed when she gave us an alarmed glance as if to say “please hit the gas!”.

Photo Hunt #36: My Favorite Photo

This is my niece Beebop, my younger brother’s first-born. My mother observed that she’s inherited characteristics from all of us. She is such a Papa’s girl that everywhere her Papa went, she was sure to go. This is Beebop’s recent photo, taken when she watched her father compete in the Skim-board competition in Roxas City. This appeared many weeks ago in the weekly Wordless Wednesday photo meme, but I am posting it here again because this is one of my favorite photos of her *lol*. Don’t you just love the look on her face?

oh my, mama!

After having met me in person for the first time this year, she asked her father to send me a picture of her (below, right; also posted in Wordless Wednesday) so that, according to her, I won’t forget her face; with it came a note that says:

Dear Tita Darling,

When I grow up, I want to be a superstar.

Love,

Beebop

Sweet little girl, eh?

Photo Hunt #35: Breakfast

My husband and I love to spend weekends in Kep. And while there, we stay at our friend’s newly opened guesthouse. Called the Kep Lodge, it offers six charming bungalows with a great view of the Gulf of Thailand and Bokhor mountain. We stay longer especially when it’s holidays, waking up late, having breakfast at the restaurant and enjoying the view. Breakfast is served free at the restaurant. Although the choices are very limited for the free breakfast, however, the restaurant offers a variety of international menu for lunch and dinner. The bar might be small but you would be amazed at how many drinks they can mix for you! But I digress now.

Rob and I loved this simple pork noodle soup, kiwtiew mi, prepared by the local staff for breakfast. A local breakfast fare, kiwtiew mi is served steaming hot; it’s so tasty, with generous amount of pork (or chicken, or beef) and vegetables sprinkled with freshly ground Kampot pepper. A bowl of this is surely a great way to start our day.

chicken noodle soup
Photo taken from my FoodTrips blog.

Kep Lodge is owned by Dan and Chheang Kreis and is located at the foot of Kep National Park. For more information, just click the link above and it will lead you to their website.