Saturday, 31 October 2015

Not Alone

 Angkor Wat is a major tourism destination, even though October is not peak season it was a busy morning with the crowds thronging in to watch the sun rise over temple's distinctive towers.


Friday, 30 October 2015

Figures on the Bridge

 These figures line the bridge from Angkor Wat to Angkor Thom,  Some have been restored.  They are holding a huge naga - snake like dragon.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Apsaras at Angkor

Apsaras at Angkor. These dancing female spirits, known as devata, are carved into the walls inside the Angkor temples. Apparently each of  figure is distinct and each Apsara has a different hair style. As seen here they can be very creative hair styles. One researcher believes they are portraits of the noble (or is that Knobel) women of Angkor in the time of King Suryavarman II.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

A Khmer Gem

Banteary Srei - meaning citadel of the women or citadel of beauty - was one of my favourite temples in the huge Angkor complex of temples.  It was over 20 km from the main temple of Angkor on a scenic road through paddy fields and villages in the fateful tuk tuk. 

The temple buildings are quite distinctive as they are carved from red (blush pink) sandstone and is smaller than many other temples.  The temple is dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. The carvings are especially intricate and deep. It lives up to its reputation as a  Khmer gem.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

A Bayon Face - the Middle Path

The Bayon is one of  the most distinctive temples at Ankor, due to the faces carved into the stone towers.  There are 50 towers in the main space and 200 giant faces look down at you as you explore.

The faces are thought to represent the compassionate Buddha or Bodhisattva Avalokitsvara.  A Bodhisattva is a Buddha who forgoes Nirvana to remain on earth to help others for find the middle path.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Bayon Sunset

A peaceful Buddha at Sunset.  
Sharing Angkor photos also brings to mind our accident - a quick update, I am slowly recovering, still stiff and sore, especially in the chest and rib area, I saw a doctor at the French clinic the other day and she said it will take a while to heal as it was a serious knock and that the ligaments connecting the ribs to the sternum are inflamed - intercostalitis - or something like that.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

An Elephant Going into Battle

The carvings inside the galleries and cloisters of the main temple at Angkor Wat were amazing in detail and creativity.   Panels on each side of the temple told different stories, mainly of battles but also images of heaven and earth. 
This photo shows an elephant as part of a huge entourage heading into battle.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Friday, 23 October 2015

One World Day

Today was One World Day at School.  It was wonderful.  Lots of national costumes such as Grade 6 Abel, top left from Holland and of course two Australian staff members - Duncan in his Hawthorn gear and Jenny with great earrings from the $2 shop.
Each grade participated in a different activity. Grade 6 researched and debated a group to empower through microfinancing from  Grade 12 visited the EU team in Laos and I accompanied the Grade 10 group to GDA (Gender Development Association), who work to support women in rural and remote communities through programs to encourage economic development and prevent domestic violence.
There was also a concert with some very talented students singing and dancing.  A great day at VIS.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Watching the Races

As with all events prime viewing spots were a premium at the boat races on Sunday.  Locals and monks were keen to get the best view, either in a lean too bar or restaurant on the river bank or on the concrete ledge of the riverside temple.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The Races cont......Fashions on the Field

While there wasn't a fashion parade, you could buy your fashions, literally on the field, as their were clothes stalls lining the dusty lane by the river.  Hats and T shirts displayed on headless mannequinns, bras on tables overlooking The Mekong River and sandals and shoes on the road.  Just what a Lao race going fashionista needs.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Beer Lao at the Races

Beer Lao is the national drink of Lao and was the most popular beverage at the boat races.

One of the country's main exports, Beer Lao is one of the few products made in the country, but from German hops.

Monday, 19 October 2015

An afternoon at the races

The boat races.

Melbourne has the Spring Racing Carnival, Vientiane has the Boat Racing Season.  It is held each year prior to the end of Buddhist Lent, with different villages holding races on weekends in September and October.

This afternoon I went for a look at the races on the Mekong at Chomchaeng village, on the outskirts of Vientiane. There seemed to be two boats in each race - not sure if they were heats or the finals as it was late in the afternoon.

The dragon boats are long boats built specially for racing.

More photos to come this week.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Ta Phrom - The Jungle Temple

Ta Phrom was the last temple we visited on Saturday before our horrible accident.

It was atmospheric, wet, green and lush.  It is  ancient and organic, with the jungle surrounding the temple and its crumbling towers and trees embracing  the structures.

It has been partially restored, but there is a dynamic and ongoing relationship between nature and the temple.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Dawn at Angkor Wat 2

Proof -through a touched up photo - that it was dawn and I was there, I was awake,  and it was amazing.

Still a bit dopey, but feeling better after another day of rest, and focussing on the wonder of Angkor through playing with photos today.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Dawn at Angkor Wat

I spent my birthday at Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia, beginning with a dawn visit to Angkor Wat.  A great start to the day.
However the day ended shockingly when our tuk tuk crashed.
My friends Margaretanne (Hood) and her husband were seriously injured and medivacced to Singapore on Sunday morning.  They are getting top treatment and hopefully will be Ok, but I am very concerned for them.
I have a concussion and I am fine; stiff, sore and dazed (more than normal).
I am back in Vientiane recuperating at Jo and Mark's place - thank God for good friends to take care of me.
It was a wonderful day and I will share more photos this week.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Scooter in the Sunset

I liked the light as I was on the scooter following another scooter into the sunset.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

A Golden Elephant

This elephant may have a distorted body shape, but still looks majestic against the brilliant green tiles of a temple.

We sheltered at this temple when it started to pour down on Wednesday as we exploring the banks of the Mekong on Vientiane.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Misty Mekong

We enjoyed seeing the life along the Mekong  River yesterday.  It was showery for most of the afternoon, but the mist on the hills looked mysterious and magical.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Lao National Teacher's Day

A public holiday to mark the importance of teachers, not a football match is what Australia needs!

Today was a public holiday for schools across Lao, including VIS.

I asked, and paid, a colleague who has lived here for 25 years, and does some tour guiding,  to take Taz and I on a day trip beyond Vientiane.  We started on the scooters, exploring the banks of the Mekong on a dirt track heading south, but when it started to rain he suggested plan B.

Garrett's  family joined us and we drove north, on a sealed road, once again following the Mekong and stopping to explore some temples.

The girls were great fun and very cute, helping me to practice my limited Laos.  They loved posing on the patio of a cave temple overlooking the river.

A great day was had by all.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The Swimming Coach

How many swimming coaches wear shiny leather shoes, trousers and a pressed shirt? He may not be Laurie Lawrence and I'm not sure if he is a coach or an interested parent, but this fellow was intensely involved in swimming practice after school.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

We Love Vientiane

Enjoying a sunset stroll along the Mekong with Taz. Great to catch up, laugh and solve all (maybe just some) of the world's problems.  Wonderful to  hear about her life in London and plan future adventures while having a Beer Lao watching the sunset in Vientiane.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Shangri La Bangkok - It was WORK

Just back from a great weekend in Bangkok.  All for a conference, EARCOS, East Asian Regional Council of Schools and CIS,  Council of International Schools, joint conference for Guidance Councillors.  I learnt a lot, meet Guidance Counselors from across the region, networked with university admission officers, all the time making the most of the luxury of  staying in a 5 star hotel. The Shangri La was on the river, great location and wonderful facilities.

I may be spoilt for life - fantastic food, wonderful staff and this view!!!  It was all for work.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Mekong Sunset

The sun setting over Thailand on the opposite bank of the Mekong to Vientiane.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Shelter and Sunset

Shelter is the theme for the City Daily Photo community for October.  The brilliant sunset is why i originally took this photo from my balcony.  However it does illustrate the range of housing/shelter in Vientiane from a traditional wooden Laos house on the far left, a typical concrete home in the centre. The brick building will be apartments and if you look closely you can see it is currently providing shelter for the workers building it.  They sleep and eat in the hallway under the blue tarp.