Dec 23 2009

Land Mines

Category: TravelRandall Kelley @ 10:51

We noticed the remote temples had signs saying land mines had been cleared.

Apoarently the Khmer Rouge used them as forts and mined the areas around them.

Then there was this in the Phnom Penh paper today. The tragedy goes on so many years after the fact.



Dec 23 2009

Trainyard

Category: TravelRandall Kelley @ 08:07

One quick note about the SmugMug site, I left the setting where you can adjust the view. If you look at them in “Journal View the will be much larger. Unless you are viewing full screen or slideshow view. If you leave them in thumbnail view, it’s easy to glance at each one, but they will be smaller. I encourage checking out the slideshows or Journal view, and for those with large screens scale as big as possible, as they “size up” to larger sizes once you past a point. Also you can download any you really want to see in detail at full resolution. RKK



Dec 23 2009

Phnom Penh

Category: TravelRandall Kelley @ 00:29

We decided to go ahead and visit the Killing Fields this afternoon and while it was a sort of must do site, it was not a pleasant visit.

However, we did enjoy the insanity that is Phnom Penh traffic. The tuk tuk drivers were a harder sell lot here, but when you see the exponential level of difficulty and danger increase between Siem Reap and here, you figure there is a reason,

In the end I paid the the price Steve negotiated plus a tip that brought it up to the first lower offer they made. About an even split between the negotiated price and the first asking price. The driver more than deserved it.

I’m going to try to get a few pictures up at the trainyard. Some of the trip here, some of the killing fields monument, and some of the city here and some interesting sights.

Then I’m going to try and get some good sleep as tomorrow is another transit day. We depart at noon by boat down the Mekong to the Vietnamese border. Then it’s a bus on to Can Tho. Probably going to be a long day.

More Later, RKK



Dec 22 2009

The Quay

Category: TravelRandall Kelley @ 14:09

Just arrived in Phnom Penh. Checked into the Quay Hotel. SWEEET! one if the nicest and COOLEST places i’ve ever stayed.

We are grabbing lunch here, and then our Tuk Tuks will take us to see the Killing Fields museum this afternoon.

More later, R&R

Oh and Steve offers a shout out to the people at the EPA! (and he’s super calm!)



Dec 22 2009

Reflections on a Bus

Category: TravelRandall Kelley @ 08:54

We’ve been on the Mekong Express bus for about one movie plus about 10 minutes, but it was a short movie. We still have at least 4 hours to go.

The bus that picked us up at the hotel had Steve and the girls a bit worried, I guess I wasn’t clear in communicating that the bus to Phnom Penh had to be reached by a shuttle bus, as the station was at the edge of town.

The one we are on now is pretty nice (a tourist class bus). AC, they brought us a hand towel, some water, and a nice cookie and a roll when we boarded. And as I mentioned, showed a movie.

Watching the countryside roll be and seeing how they live is great. I am glad we chose not to do flights around over here, as we are seeing so much.

I love the houses in stilts here. It seem so logical, I can never figure out why Americans living on flood plains can’t adopt the technique.

Our first day in Siem Reap was pretty brutal, but that wasof our choosing, as we went to remote temples, one of which was over a hundred kilometers out on bad roads.

Still, I wouldn’t change a thing. We got a big benifit of seeing early Khmer dynasty works before seeing those from it’s glory days yesterday.

I can’t wait to see Tomb Raider again as yow of the place we saw were used in filming. I love watching a movie set in some exotic place and realizing, “Hey! We were there!”

We are hoping to get into Phnom Penh today with enough time to visit the “Killing Fields” and the war museum. Then I guess I’ll have anothe movie to watch again on return.

I watched a documentary on the Vietnam war called “Hearts and Minds” right before we left and that was pretty devastating. I probably enjoyed it more than I would on return after meeting all the nice people over here. War is a tragedy for all sides in any conflict.

I have been batteling with my technology every since we got here. It certain now, a new computer for the next trip. I’ve been able to get some of what I want up, but the process of posting photos is too onerous to be putting them up in the blog itself and elsewhere at the same time. I have chosen to stick with the trainyard site on SmugMug as it offers the highest quality of images, ans is about the easiest to use as well.

I apologize to all for having to do a two step process, but thems the breaks! The upside is it is easier to add comments on there as well, so check back as I have gone back and fleshed out the story of those shots at later times when I have more time.

The good side of tech is that even though my laptop ended up in the hold of this bus, I can do some reflecting and get it documented using my phone.

We really do hope all are well. We haven’t had a tv on or listened to a radio, or read a paper since our departure, and I’m enjoying that.

Peace and Love, R&R



Dec 22 2009

In Transit

Category: TravelRandall Kelley @ 06:04

Up early today, as soon as we have breakfast here at the hotel we will catch a bus for Phnom Penn. I don’t know if I’ll get more photos up late today as it is a travel day, but I’ll try to write a few things on the bus to post later.

We are having fun, but we’re glad to have Steve and Diane along, as it would be quite a shock to drop into a culture this different all alone.

More soon. R&R



Dec 21 2009

Ta Prohm, the Bayon, and Angkor

Category: TravelRandall Kelley @ 22:57

Today in Siem Reap we stuck closer to town. Just outside really. We toured Ta Prohm, the Bayon, and Angkor Wat proper. The Bayon is a single monument really, though it is large and has several towers. But it is on the grounds of a larger area, while Ta Prohm is a smaller complex of it’s own. And then Angkor Wat is really the big Kahuna. Not as big as Angkor Tom (which was really a town more than a temple), but it does not have other monuments scattered around. Angkor Wat is all one big temple complex, intricately laid out and very structured and unified.

Angkor Wat is all about the presentation, there is no unimpressive approach, and no way that the pictures do it justice. We can only imagine how impressive it was when the now dingy sandstone was shiny new and bright white. The sheer amount of carvings is staggering.

At the end, Rita and I took a ride in a helium balloon to an altitude of 200 meters (a bit more than 600 feet) to bet a bird’s eye view if the whole complex. The impressive part of that for us was the amount of water surrounding the place. While you see creeks, canals, moats, and small rivers, you don’t really see it in the open enough to get a sense. There is water everywhere.

I will upload some shots from today, but due to the exigencies of the circumstances, I will be picking them from thumbnails and not having the benefit of checking out focus quality, etc before posting. I will be picking shots that show what we did, not great pictures. Unfortunately, I do think that even once we get home and can edit them, the shots of Angkor Wat will NEVER get close to simulating the experience. But then that’s why we travel, isn’t it?

Shots will be at the trainyard

Our best, R&R



Dec 21 2009

Trying to post photos

Category: TravelRandall Kelley @ 08:11

All my prep work has been for nothing so far. I am trying to post to the smugmug site now. If it works there will be shots there soon. I have no time to proof, so they aren’t the best, just representative, picked from thumbnails, so focus etc may suck. And that’s if the wil go at all.

Wish me luck. RKK



Dec 21 2009

Siem Reap

Category: TravelRandall Kelley @ 06:38

Arrived safe and sound late last night. We are taking a day tour shortly so no time to post. Hopefully tonight will be an earlier evening and I’ll get something done. But we have hooked up with Steve and Diane, had breakfast, and are gung ho to be the best little tour group the we can! R&R



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