Phnom Penh “I can’t imagine worse traffic anywhere else in the world.” 9-10 January 2015

Cambodians could be world's best driving instructors.

Cambodians could be world’s best driving instructors.

To say Phnom Penh traffic is crazed and its drivers are suicidal would be an understatement of enormous proportions. In this city of two and a half million people, most of them are on scooters, in tuk-tuks, atop cargo-ladened trucks, or driving shiny new cars. To transit from Point A to Point B is to make critical decisions, to understand Cambodian logic and philosophy, to be willing to map your Route C with courage, and a trust in Buddha. All of which cannot guarantee safe passage. (more…)

Climbing the Temples of Angkor Wat – Siem Reap Cambodia. 6-8 January 2015

Bayon's South Gate lined with demons and gods.The devil in me chose a demon.

Bayon’s South Gate lined with demons and gods.The devil in me chose a demon.

I have read about and seen photos of the Angkor Wat Archeological Site, but nothing prepared me for the size, complexity and grandeur of its temple ruins. I was unaware that this complex is as big as the city of San Diego and contains over 110 individual temples built over six centuries. Thus, temple architecture and design is as varied as the personalities of the Khmer kings who built them. Many temples were dedicated to Hindu gods but over time were converted to Buddhism, while others started out Buddhist and later all images of Buddha were chipped away or adapted to convert the temple to Hinduism. After the 16th century, the temples and the country peacefully adopted Theravāda Buddhism. (more…)

Siem Reap, Cambodia. 5 January 2015

DSC04748I learned today that Royal Gardens are relative. Some rather poor, dusty and dull trees, a spout of water, and an empty garbage-strewn fountain a royal park do not make. The beautiful temple, where costumed youth are posing for professional photos, makes for an interesting pause. The men and their harmonious instruments add reality to the fact I am in Siem Reap. Drawn to the screeches in the trees, I look for the monkeys but instead note that the sounds come from numerous large bats. Countless motorbikes, rickshaws and bicycles zoom amid honking cars and trucks. All traffic seems to move slowly. Good thing as there are very few traffic lights and a smattering of stop signs, most of which just suggest as action to be contemplated by drivers. There appears to be no rules to driving when it comes to direction, passing, turning, or right of way. (more…)