Alamak~

Posted on October 8th, 2008 by GracyBee.
Categories: General.

OMG.

Didn’t realise it is already this long that I didn’t update!! Alas….obviously that the job is taking up too much of my energy to do anything else but sit and relax~

Today I have not mood to do any work. Been feeling vexed.

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Absence

Posted on August 23rd, 2008 by GracyBee.
Categories: General.

Can’t believe I have been absent for nearly 1 mth since my last update. Can’t say that I’m busy, but juz lazy to do the updates, and since Cambodia there is indeed a lot to update!

28 comments.

Cambodia 14 & 15 Mar 08

Posted on July 26th, 2008 by GracyBee.
Categories: Places, Travel.

Cambodia 14 & 15 Mar 08- ‘NU-A’ day

WE decided not to go visit the temples though we have one more day ticket allowance. Juz dun wanna spend $ on transport to see the same structure in different place. And we were also quite tired from the 2 days ultra intensive temple visiting and walking.

SO……..we decided to NUa in the hotel. We zzzz late and decide to explore the town later in the afternoon when the sun rays are less glaring.

 Here’s some interesting sights.

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Black market for petrol,  seen this everywhere. Initially I
tot what kind of drink is this! DUH

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OH! So familiar and yet so different!

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Oh…..

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Gasp..

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They ’sell’ the mobile phone service like public phone

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Another nua day.  Surprisingly I felt very down not because I’m homesick. But rather I felt dreaded  - very dreaded to go back to work, despite looking forward to see my colleagues and friends back home. That was a strange feeling.

We decided to finalise our shopping for souvenir today. We visited the night market juz round the corner of our hotel and trying to get some local products. But they don seem to sell any local products and very expensive souvenirs. We managed to find some souveirs and back to the hotel. Feeling unusually sad

16 Mar 08

Our flight is at 7am, and so we need to set off in wee hours of the morning. We hired a tuk tuk driver to take us to the airport. YEAH, a tuk tuk! It was a refreshing ride, when the roads are not yet busy with traffic. Cool and peaceful and not so dusty.

After checking in, we hang around taking photos then we proceed to the departure hall after paying our airport tax.

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The aircraft that is taking us back to Spore

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Woosh! Up we go!

End Journey trip

Finally my wish to go Cambodia has completed. Get to know how the people live, and also get to see the poorer side of them. Despite that, I’m pleased to be able to see the famous AngKor Wat with my darling. Thanks baby 8)

38 comments.

Cambodia 13 Mar 08

Posted on July 19th, 2008 by GracyBee.
Categories: Places, Travel.

Cambodia 13 Mar 08 — HOT! HOT (AGAIN!!!)

Visiting more temples today! We wanted our driver to be the same as yesterday and yes, we got it after some arrangement by the hotel. 

It shall be a short journey compared to yesterday. Yesterday was juz ……too……. muuuch…..walking…..and sunburnt~

These are the temples we visited…….. 

1. Pre Rup

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From the top

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The remains of the corridor - arrgh!

 2. Banteay Sei

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The mini version of Angkor Wat

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If you know my height, you will know how nice I fit into this :P

3. East Mebon

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Do you find this familiar?

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YEAH! After seeing so many of the temples’ photos, you may realise that all temples look abt the same!! That was our sentiments after seeing temples after temples that, we almost get temple-phobia. The only thing that is nice in this temple, is the elephant……..haha 8)

4. Ta Som

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Yet another temple of the same pattern~

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The beauty of ruins

5. Neak Pean

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The ‘reservoir’

I’m pretty impressed with this as I didn’t expect to see such monument. I thought it would be another temple. Yet, this is an ancient hydraulic project by the royals!! Didn’t know that they are already starting this long long time ago! Pity we visited this place in the dry season, if it is the wet season, it shall fill up with water. It would have been a beautiful sight.

6 Preah Khan

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The entrance

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The corridor is darn long and the door get shorter as you go deeper….they say is a sign

of respect to the deities as you need to bow as you walk through the door

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I’m starting to get intrigued with all these stone carvings

7. Prasat Kravan

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Very plain huh

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 I was disappointed to see such a plain temple entrance though I’m pretty tired to see temples. However, there are surprises held inside the tower. The carvings no doubt took my breath away

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******

We were happy when the journey finally ended. The temples were breathtaking, but too much of it can be bad! Never so glad to go back hotel to have a nice and hot dinner and shower and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

End of the day

Not too bad. Though getting tired of temples, there are little details that still took our breath away. Felt sad sometimes to see how badly the temples are ruined. Perhaps that means the lack of funds to support the restoration. It must have been magnificent during its hey day nearly 600 years ago.

Comparing these ancient monuments with Egyptians one, Cambodian one are smaller and finer in details wherea Egyptian is larger and not so much on details. Nonetheless, seeing these has make take hats off these people who had helped built.

39 comments.

Cambodia 12 March 08

Posted on June 10th, 2008 by GracyBee.
Categories: Places, Travel.

12 March 08 : hot hot hot!

Finally today is the day!!

We had booked a tuk tuk driver for a day to take us to see the temples..which I call the trail of temples… :D

 ^^^^^^

After breakfast, we set off to our destination. Ooh…the weather was nice and cool and the morning sun is just nice to warm us up. Not too hot…..COOL!

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On our way

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^^^^^^

Our 1st stop……………nope is not the temples, but rather the ticket booth…haha. We planned to buy 3-day tickets and woah, is quite high tech! We were to stand in front of a small camera (similar to a web cam) and BINGO, here come out tickets. Lucky at that time, the crowd had not built up yet.

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Our ticket

Ok, tickets done, and off we go! Here’s the itinerary (and the pix!) for the day:

 1. Angkor Wat

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2. Angkor Thom
   a. South Gate

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   b. Bayon

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   c. Baphuon
   d. Terrance of elephants

3. Thommanom

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Restored structure: how it would have been like during its heyday

4. Ta Prohm

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On our way in
Look at the roots!

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Lost in the forest

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5. Ta Keo

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6. Banteay Kdei

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7. Sras Srary

Woah! A lot of the day right?? YEAH, indeed! By the mid day, the sun is blazing HOooT! Phew! All day long, tuk tuk, walk, walk, tuk tuk, walk walk……ANd yet another temple to visit….

8. Phnom Bakheng - for the sunset

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The ancient route

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Angkor from afar

Frankly we’re getting quite bored after seeing the same structure of temple in and out….and finally the only thing that cheer us up……  8)

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The monkey!! Very human!!

After sunset, was never so glad that the day is almost over…..

End of day

Felt sticky, hungry and tired…. Now there is day 2 tomorrow…

32 comments.

My Great Grand Mother

Posted on May 20th, 2008 by GracyBee.
Categories: Memory Lane.

Been very quiet and not updating my blog for ages, been busy with work that can really drained me of my energy. Meantime, I’m also waiting for photoshop to be installed in my new computer, so updating of my Cambodia trip shall have to wait

 ^^^^^^

Feeling quite down today and feeling vexed to continue doing my work, I chanced upon a mum’s blog and I was reading her recent article of her dad’s passing away. I can feel her frustration and sadness, and most of all, was guilty stricken as she wrote she was not able to spend time with her dad as she is in other country with her husband (working overseas) and was not at his bedside during his last moment.

Reading her article has made me pondered and thought of those my beloved close relative’s passing. Of my lifetime, the closest relatives that I know had passed away were my grand great mother and maternal grandmother when I was in Pri and grand aunt abt 3 years ago.

Of the 3, I had not attended my great grand mother’s funeral,  because she died in China and at that time I was in Primary 3 and couldn’t travel due to some chinese’s beliefs that I don’t know of. And I didn’t think much abt it, until recently I felt that I missed her a lot despite the fact she was gone for nearly 20 years.

She was gone for that long already? I didn’t even realise that.

^^^^^^

Accordingly to my parents, she was my baby sitter from the day I was born till the day I was sent to Singapore for studies in 1986. I remember of her presence and my strongest memories of her was sitting at her dining table eating her dinner. As she was a strict vegetarian, she don’t have her meal together with the rest of us downstairs. I would always run to her when she was having her dinner. On her table, was the same dishes everyday without fail. The next I remembered was her little garden upstairs where she would go and do some watering in the evenings. Her friend who visited her frequently for gossip and companionship.

I was born into the traditional chinese belief that boys were much prefered than girls. Yet, despite that, I felt loved and taken care of by my GGM  and grandparents. Perhaps that was partially because we were the great grandchildren, but that was beside the point. Many of my childhood stories was told to my parents from my GGM. If she was not taking care of me, how were there so many stories to tell?

^^^^^^

Fast forward to the year 1986 when I was sent to Singapore for studies. I don’t remember much and  don’t know why my GGM was not in the picture when I left her. At that time, I was excited of my new surroundings that I don’t think abt my life in Malaysia.

It was only in recent years that my parents told me how upset my GGM was when she found out that we were sent to Spore for studies and was in daily arguments with them. Why was that not captured in my memory? After we were gone, she was looking forward for our return during our school holidays and demanded that we travelled in style when we come back.

The next thing I knew, she was back to China, and shortly after, the news of her death. It was told to me via my aunt in Spore. Strangely that time, I don’t feel much abt it.

 ^^^^^^

Again, it was in recent years that my parents revealed that my GGM demanded to go back to China just months before she can gain her PR in Msia and said that she missed home in China and don’t feel any more purpose to live in Msia. She refused to give in despite my grandfather and parent’s trying to convince to stay a bit longer. While she was packing, one of the things that she packed was our family photos, and my bro and myself’s protrait photo taking during that time. Think it was shortly after, she passed away at the age of 98.

Now that I know of all these, I felt guilty myself that I was not at her side and during her last moment. I was one of her loved great grand child, how can I not done the simplest thing to be with her? This question still ponder me: did she make the decision to go back China partially because we were not there by her side anymore? I haven’t even gone back to my ancestral village and visit her grave.

^^^^^^

Thinking back of her life, I really marvel at her determination and endurance. At a age of about 30+, she lost her husband, and came to Malaya to join my grandfather who has just found a business. I wonder how for the next 50 years, without any education, armed with only her Heng Hua dialect, not many people she know there and any known entertainment and technology she managed to live her life in Malaysia after leaving behind her home in China. Putting that into my own shoes, I know it was not a easy feat, after facing the similar situation when I went to England, and I was already living in the technology savvy 21st century!

I know that she was resourceful as she run the household and despite the age of 70 - 80+, she lived a healthy lifestyle and taking care of her grand children (my dad, uncles and aunts) and great grand children.

Now that I’m overseas to pursue my career, I faced the same struggle of not being able to be with family, in fact for the last 20 years. Should try my best to go back visit them as much as I can.

^^^^^^

I can’t undo the history, but the very least I can do is: Rest in Peace, my GGM. I have missed you all these while.

28 comments.

Cambodia 11 Mar 08

Posted on April 7th, 2008 by GracyBee.
Categories: Places, Travel.

11 Mar 08: HOT!!!!!

Yippee!!!! We’re finally leaving Phnom Penh! Don’t get me wrong….Phnom Penh is all right, but staying there for too long is really bored! Plus I’m really looking forward to Siem Reap as that is the essence of this trip!

 ^^^^^^

As our time schedule have been brought forward to 0730, we get up in wee hours in the morning to get all prepared. We didn’t managed to take the picture of the hotel when we arrived, so Baby took it before we left the hotel.

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 Verdict of the hotel: Good location, but can do better with the cleanliness and facilities.

 ^^^^^^

A van took us to the main station to take the coach to Siem Reap. Oops…while on the bus, I knew something is not right as there are duplications of seats. But who cares at this moment, it is they who want us to change…so we did get our seats at the back. The whole journey was about 5 hours. Similar to the timings from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur.

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We finally leave at 0915, and along the way, I realised that there was another point of pick up AND……..the bus is already full. Oh dear, look like they either forget or miss out one more couple’s booking and they in the end have to sit at the lower deck. Lucky they were not picky if not we have to move down cos we took their seats :( (not deliberately, but was pre assigned by the company)

We finally set off after a while. Felt funny though: how come there were such strong smell of petroleum?

We passed by the villages and farms along the way to Siem Reap.

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The dry land

It is only now that I knew it is a dry season in Cambodia. Dry means NO RAIN for 2 months AT LEAST. Phew, no wonder we are burnt for the last few days.

I felt sad though. The cows struggled to find grass to eat; the children finding water to play and settled in playing with muddy or algae-filled water; the land is bare and dry that is not able to support agriculture. Now that I felt blessed to live in Singapore where rain is abundant.

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The dried up pond

We had our 1st rest stop and proceed to the loos. Then this caught my attention.

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OMG.

In Singapore where they emphasised on the safety and limited load, right here in Cambodia, that don’t seem such a case. They really fill the poor van right to the rim and beyond!! This one sure kenna very severe fines if they decided to do this in Spore! haha :D

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Tested beyond the ideal capacity

^^^^^^

Then halfway through, our coach’s tyre burst. BOMBED! OH GREAT. Our journey has now interrupted. The damages……under a hot, burning afternoon sun

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 The punctured tyre

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Up close

It was obvious that they don’t have the proper tools to deal with the situation. U can imagine them using the tools meant for a small car’s punctured tyres. And they were very experienced. Hm…don’ tell me this happen very frequently?

The whole episode lasted for nearly 3 hours.  Everybody started to get restless and finally it is time to go. We are already 4 hours behind schedule and we were making another stop!

Alas….another delay…………

^^^^^^

Finally it was all clear to go after another round of tyre change. By the time we reached Siem Reap, it was nearly 5pm when we were supposed to reach at 1230pm. We were immediately mobbed by the tuk tuk drivers eagarly to take business. We saw our driver from afar and quickly made our way there after we got our luggage.

^^^^^^

After our stay in the hotel in Phnom Penh, we don’t dare to put high hopes in the one in Siem Reap. But we were wrong. It was so much better! It was much cleaner, much better environment and facilities. Our room were also a lot better with cooler air conditioning.

We even have our welcome drinks brought to us in our room! A good way to unwind after the unpleasant experience on the road.

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Yummy lime juice!

 It was dinner time by the time we fully settled down. We decided not to roam around the town as initally planned, and so we had our dinner in the hotel restaurant itself.

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The restaurant

 A very nice ambience where we can relax while having our meal. We decided to order ginger chicken and their local dish. OOhh..that is yummy! Tasted like mixture of tom yam and green curry! Just to my liking!

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End of day

Very exhausting day, but still looking forward to go Angkor wat!! Planning to do that tomorrow!

33 comments.

Cambodia 10 March 08

Posted on April 5th, 2008 by GracyBee.
Categories: Places, Travel.

10 March 08 - Hot, hot HOT!!

Today is our nua day…..really really slack. I have planned 1 extra day to stay in Phnom Penh. Hence,we decided to wake up later and started our day later. I decided to have pancakes for today’s breakfast. Baby still stick to his favourite breakfast menu…

OMG, what huge pancakes these are!!

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We decided to go to Sorya Shopping Centre to do some window shopping and last min shopping.

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Front view of Phnom Penh

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Another view of Phnom Penh

Lunch time!! But what should we eat? Been quite tired eating those food we used to eat, as they don’t come cheap. Then we came across the food court in the shopping centre, and decided to give a try.

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Great, now we faced the language barrier challenge. No English menu unlike those we used to frequent previously. This is purely the local area. So what to do? We decided to stop by this stall as they had a sample dish on display. And we used sign language :D Even they felt amused.

What is so different abt the foodcourt: they used token to pay for food!! That we realised while waiting for our order, that Baby had to go buy the tokens.

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Our tokens! Cost approximately US$2.50

 OMG!! It was so much cheaper here!! Where we used to eat, one portion can cost to US$4- 5 dollars. H0w I wished we can find this place earlier, we can save cost on food :(

They are just as nice…yum yum

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 ^^^^^^

After late lunch, we decided to drop by the supermarket to get some bread and others for tomorrow’s trip to Siem Reap. Then I saw this. Red Duck eggs!! Hmm, why it is red?

We got some breads, instant noodles and porridge. Yeah, I missed those actually :P

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^^^^^^

We headed back to hotel since it was almost 6pm.

 At the hotel, we were informed that our intended bus journey has been changed from 0930 to 0730. Well, meaning we need to get up at 4am….

End of the day

Felt very bored in Phnom Penh. Now doing packing to get prepared for our 2nd leg of our journey.

37 comments.

Cambodia 09 Mar 08

Posted on March 24th, 2008 by GracyBee.
Categories: Places, Travel.

3rd day: It is my birthday! HOT! HOT!

Baby was so sweet. He has insisted on buying a simple cake for me and wanted to celebrate with my on 12 midnight on the 9th. I was like: ‘no need la……..wanna zzz during this time and still can celebrate later after we wake up right?’

As much as I wanted to stay up to 12am, I was way too tired, that I zzzz before the time. Only to be nudged by baby to wake up to wish me Happy Birthday.

Only then I realised why he is so insistent of wishing me at 12am. He has a gift ready all this time and wanted to give me at 12am! I have already told him not to buy any gift and yet..this is a pleasant surprise from him.

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My precious gift

Time to ZZZ!!

^^^^^^

It is a Sunday and our hotel had the weekend Breakfast special. A more filling one and worth the price of US$3.. Being an Irish hotel, they included their famous Black pudding, though it is not very well done.

 

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Weekend breakfast

We decided to visit the Central Market 1st and then the Royal Palace. Wanting to save on transport costs, we decided to walk there ( around 20 min walk). Our guide book has said the things sold in Central Market are more expensive but we decided to go and take a look and see what it has to offer.

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The Central Market aka Psar Thmei

Indeed, it is more expensive there. The prices are comparable to Spore, if not more expensive!! FYI, all transactions are dealt mostly with US$. And things are indeed not cheap over here.

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Part of the Psar

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The local delicacies

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Seriously, I din expect to see this here!! Last seen: 22 years ago. Who: My grandma using this to brew soup

^^^^^^

We kinda lost interest in seeing the things inside. It was a very crampy and warm place. We decided to hope over to the shopping centre nearby - Sorya Shopping Centre.

The range of shops are slightly different from ours in Spore, and we were quite surprised to find Swensen in there. We decided to have ice -cream!! Greedy!

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The Swensen there is purely an ice cream store and nothing else. No western meal as found in Spore’s Swensen. We called for the B’day ice cream to celebrate.

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My B’day ice cream - Yum! Yum!

 

After the ice cream session, we saw another tempting scene.

 

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These are also ice cream, displayed just outside the supermarket! Yum!!!! and really nice presentation!

 

^^^^^^

We headed back to our hotel, where on the way we settled down in a restaurant for lunch.

^^^^^^

While waiting for our food, there happened to be a birthday celebration going on opposite us. That is not what caught my attention, but rather a group of beggers going into the function.

Somehow, the guests vacant the tables at different intervals and the beggers just go to that empty table and get whatever they can get hold of: left over food and drinks, straw etc. It was the children who went up to ‘collect’ and take it back to their mother who were waiting for them.

Somehow I pitied them, but sometimes I do not.

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Whatever they had got…

Anyway, after lunch, we headed back to hotel to rest before we proceed to the Royal Palace.

^^^^^^

At mid afternoon, we headed to the Royal Palace. According to the guide book(the latest edition), the entrance fee is US$3 per person. However we got a rude shock when we found out the price to be US$6.25 instead. WOAH?! The attendant there say it has changed.

We felt quite disappointed and cheated. The big increase of 50% is a bit too much. We decided not to go because it is not really worth the price.

We then settle for the Wat Phnom instead. This is the temple built on a hill. Now U turn back…………

This is the temple where locals went to pray for their wishes. Once the wishes come true, they must come back to give thanks.

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 As the religion here is mostly buddhism, the temples there practise similarly as in Msia and Spore.

One of the statues

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 What caught my attention is this.

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 This is the statue that guard the entrance of all temples that we see (and later in Siem Reap as well), that I’m surprised to see this familiar sight.

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The Lone Ranger

But amuse me is this. Our chinese counterpart always sit now, with either a ball or a baby kids,  but our Cambodian one don’t seem to be the same leh.

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Juz can’t resist taking this photo 

OMG! They are half squating, half sitting! They must have powerful power strength!! Check out their butt too :P

We stayed there for a while then we headed back to the hotel. Decided to have dinner in the hotel instead. Starting not to feel well now. Felt tummy quite upset.

End of day

Another hot day. Already drink nearly 9 bottles of water for our 3rd day. Never seem to rain huh!

31 comments.

Cambodia 8 Mar 08

Posted on March 23rd, 2008 by GracyBee.
Categories: Places, Travel.

2nd Day - HOT HOT HOT

We found our hotel in Hostelworld.com, and we knew that it is in the central location in Phnom Penh. The National Museum and the Royal Palace is in front of our hotel. We decided to visit the National Museum after our breakfast.

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Our breakfast

The architecture of the museum mirrors closely to the Thai temples. For a moment I thought I was in Thailand instead.

 

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The National Museum, Phnom Penh

 

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The roof

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No prize for guessing who! :P

The museum housed mostly buddha’s statues, which briefly reminded me of Egyptian Museum. Too bad, no photos are allowed. BUT, I took this for fun.

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BANG!!

We spent about 1 hr+ in the museum, and just wanted to go back hotel to chill out after that. The weather was juz way tooooooo hot.

^^^^^^

We decided to try out the Vietnamese cuisine in An Nam Restaurant, which according to the map is not far from our hotel. So we walked there. Now then I realise, can never fully rely on their maps, as it is not really 100% accurate. Some of the pictures took along the way.

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Baby

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Don’t know who this is…

^^^^^^

After a long walk, we managed to find the restaurant. We ordered a simple chicken noodle soup and dry pork noodle. But this is what we had after our order.

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We were puzzled. At first we thought that is our vege salad, but we didn’t order that. We tried mixing a bit of the vege with the sauce. Tasted quite good though.

Then………this is what we get shortly after. Eh? This is what we had ordered. Then wat are the vege for?? The waitress then told us, the vege are meant for the soup noodles, then the sauce meant for the dry noodle….OORH……….understood! ahaha….

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Tasted juz like our malay counterpart Mee Soto, very very nice!

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Something different…

^^^^^^

After lunch, we walked around the area. We came across the National Monument and then came across the Paragon Shopping Centre. WOAH, also have Paragon! We are dying for air con, and we rushed there..

Didn’t take any pix here. The shopping centre, obviously the latest hype over there, is juz like our shopping centre 10 years ago. We went to the supermarket and bought some necessities like drinking water and fruits.

Baby had to carry the whole box of carton of water back to hotel, but we lost our way while going back. We knew we were around the area, but somehow we are walking in circles. Then we decided to take the tuk tuk to take us back. Ah….it is on the other side of the road, but need to walk in circle to reach there. ALAMAK!!

After resting in hotel *again*, we went out for dinner. We went up to FRIENDS. This is kinda of a charity restaurant. But it is very expensive with their small portion and unusually salty hor fun. But their tom yam is good. Too bad….portion too small.

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Tom Yam

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Hor Fun

We decided to take short walk around the area. Before we came here, we have told by people to stay indoors by 7pm. Initially we thought the people are too paranoid. But once you were there, you would understand why they say so. By 1830, you can feel the tension. The traffic was horrible with mixture of cars, jeeps, motorbikes, bicycles and tuk tuk. We hurried back after taking a short walk around. Never been glad to be back to hotel.

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Town area at 1830

 

 

End of day

Very hot day, felt tired from walking.

40 comments.