Vishnu at Angkor Wat, Cambodia

At the western entrance of Angkor Wat  stands this 5 meters tall statue of  Vishnu, known locally as Ta Reach, revered by Hindus and Buddhists alike for its representation of the “King of the ancestors and spirits”. It is carved from a single piece of  sandstone and is draped with colorful clothing and  offerings from pilgrims visiting the site.DSC_0051

Angkor Wat was dedicated to Vishnu who is the supreme God in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism and venerated as one of the five primary forms of God . This standing stone statue has eight arms and the head of Buddha. When Angkor Wat became a Buddhist temple, the head of Vishnu was replaced with the head of Buddha.DSC_0052

In my impression, Angkor Wat has several basic colors – green for the trees, light brown for their roots, blackish grey for the stones. What I like in these photos is  the contrast between the dark monochromatic body of the statute and the bright colors on the clothes and the parasol. The bright colors really stood out from the whole setting!

Rediscovered Memories – Ta Prohm, Cambodia (2)

Ta Prohm’s original name was Rajavihara which  means “the royal monastery”.  It has a romantic atmosphere  and many hidden corners.

There are two main types of trees at Ta Prohm, the silk-cotton tree, Ceiba pentandra, with huge trunks, and the strangler fig Ficus gibbosa, which draps itself around other trees with its multiple grey roots. The strangler figs and silk-cotton trees entwined among the ruins add to the eerie quality of the place.

The picture below shows how the massive roots of the silk-cotton tree frames around an opening.DSC_0228

Here is a picture showing the strangler fig, attaching itself to the walls.DSC_0240

There are many hidden corners in the monastery, many of them have sculptures of Devatas. An example is shown below.DSC_0243

Michael Freeman and Claude Jacques  in their book “Ancient Angkor” described “….Ta Prohm has the romantic appeal of, say, a Piranesi ruin: partly overgrown and gently declining”. This reflects truly our feeling when we were there.

Rediscovered Memories – Ta Prohm, Cambodia

I was overjoyed yesterday when I accidentally discovered my Angkor Wat photos which I thought were lost for the last six years.

We took a trip to Angkor Wat in March 2007 and were totally fascinated by what we saw.

One of the places we stopped by was Ta Prohm, a beautiful temple built in Bayon style in the 12th and 13th centuries and has been left pretty much the same condition which it was found. However, this temple has been taken over by large trees and their massive roots, making it pretty dang cool looking.

The large tree shown in the photo is the silk-cotton tree. This temple has been used as a location for the film Tomb Raider. The photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings have made it one of Angkor’s most popular temples with visitors.

Angkor scholar Maurice Glaize observed, “On every side, in fantastic over-scale, the trunks of the silk-cotton trees soar skywards under a shadowy green canopy, their long spreading skirts trailing the ground and their endless roots coiling more like reptiles than plants.DSC_0220

The image was taken using a Nikon D40 entry level DSLR camera which came to the market just a few months before the trip. I must say it is not of the best quality but it does show  the temple’s details and the eerie qualities.

Yellow Monday (2)

This is Yellow Monday again; but I can assure you that it will not be another week of all Thai colors.

After posting every day last week ( continuous eight posts including this one), I am sort of exhausted.

When I first blogged, out of naivety, I called this blog – RetireeDiary, thinking I was going to write something everyday in a second language. Last week has taught me the lesson that doing so will be more like work ( and not retirement)!

I love the yellow fields of canola / rapeseed flowers in Luoping, Yunnan; so I am posting another picture of it to uplift my spirit and wishing you all a good start of a new week leading almost into Easter!DSCF3122

Red Sunday (1)

Thai Sunday is Red !

Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love.

In China, red is the color usually associated with joy and luck; it is the common color seen in festivals.

In our trip to Beijing last November, we have nothing scheduled for our last day in the capital so we decided to have a leisurely stroll in the 798 Art District.  This is an art zone for a thriving artistic community that attracts artists and visitors from both overseas and locally. The art district and its galleries thrives among 50-year old decommissioned military factory buildings, making it interesting to look at the architecture. It was cold as we wandered in the 798  Art District, it even started raining.DSCF2787

As we strolled in the rain, we were met by three red dinosaurs. They looked a bit fiery, fortunately, they were all caged up.

The district turned out to be quite interesting; it has some shops selling works of art  too. The dinosaurs are, of course, not for sale!

Purple Saturday (1)

Thai Saturday is Purple!

In our sub conscience, Purple is usually linked to royalty and spirituality. In Thailand, it is also a color worn by widows in memory of their husbands.

I like purple flowers but I also like sceneries which has a purple tint.

While cruising the Bosporus in Istanbul,  the setting sun created a purple hue in the sky and also in the water.  The hue together with the reflection in the water  was just breath-taking. The cruise was an odyssey of colors. When the cruise started up the Bosporus, there was sunshine. Then followed by heavy rain. When the rain cleared up, there was an incomplete rainbow, followed by an unforgettable pink sunset.  CIMG0580

In a way, the cruise was somewhat liked our journey through life; we have been through good times, seen bad times, encountered many interesting things,  even rainbows and when you have travelled far and long, you are almost near to the shore but the magnificent sun was setting!

Blue Friday (1)

Blue is the color for Friday in Thailand.

I like blue skies, blue seas and oceans but my favorite for this week is the blue waters in the JiuZhaiGou lakes in Sichuan, China.

By no means it is the most beautiful blue but it is very interesting.050

It appears that lakes with a high calcium content exhibits a kind of bluish tint in the water. For instance, this can be seen in both the JiuZhaiGou lake in China and also the Plitvice lake waters in Croatia.

Plants and other matters fallen into the water are subject to calcification and not a lot of life survives in such water. However, schools of carp-like fishes protected by tiny scales can be found swimming lively in the lakes of JiuZhaiGou. How wonderful !

Orange Thursday (1)

Thai’s Thursday is Orange.

If I have to assign the orange color to one of my more recent trips, it has to be Dubrovnik in Croatia.

While standing on top of the Dubrovnik wall and overlooking to the seaside, we found two seas. Near to us was a sea of bright orange-colored roofs, some of which were reconstructed after the war of 1991. DSCF0846

Beyond the sea of orange roofs, we have the blue Adriatic sea which never failed to entice us. The green island yonder was where Richard the Lion Heart landed and later took residence.

A trip to the mountain behind the city further confirms that the city is an orange city even from  a high altitude!

Green Wednesday (1)

Based on  Thai astrology, Wednesday is Green.

Have uploaded a couple of posts recently on Green as entries to Travel Theme and also Weekly Photo Challenge. Green has always given me tranquility and the color is soothing to the eyes.

Our recent trip to the mountains of Yunnan, China has brought us to some high hills where we were able to have a panoramic view of the Wan Feng Lin which is the Forest of Ten Thousand Hills.

In fact, there were 20,000 hills in the area, with some rising to 2,000m. The ones we viewed were the most picturesque.DSCF3081

Here we have a mix of dark green on the hills and light green / yellowish-green on the plateau. The hills seem to have soared from the flat area, giving a sharp contrast in terms of landform and colors. The more distant hills just faded out in the haze.

We were amazed even the areas wedged in between the high hills are also cultivated. Some yellow flowers have bloomed but most of the flat area was still green. We can only marvel again at how man have made use of every inch of arable land!

Pink Tuesday (1)

Continuing on with the Thai colors for each day of the week: Tuesday is Pink.

Our recent trip to Luoping filled us with colors, we didn’t only have yellow for canola / rapeseed flowers but also pink for Cherry blossoms.CIMG3061

Cherry blossoms was in full bloom when we were there late February / early March. We viewed many of them in botanical gardens and also in Shilin- the touristy spot for limestone column formations.CIMG3066

We have the opportunity of viewing them closely too. They looked lovely at a close distance.

In the gardens, all we can see was tree after tree of pink cherry blossoms.CIMG3127

Even along the roadside, we saw not only many cherry blossoms but also white flowers from the plum trees.

Our trip to Luoping has filled our eyes, our brains and even our souls with a variety of colors; making it an unforgettable trip!