Sunday, March 23, 2014

Its almost over! And there's so much We didn't get around to....

We have arrived at the end my friends.
Tomorrow evening very late we will head to the airport to return to
lovely warm and sunny Chicago (what? its not warm? hmm...).

We are packing up our stuff at the cheapish Chinatown hotel we've been
at for the past few days, and off to a swank river-side pad for our
last night in town.

Yesterday Logan and Sandy (friends from Chicago that live here now)
took us on a trip out to a Hell Temple. Basically a Wat with lots of
folk-art concrete and chickenwire ghosts and monsters to really make
kids think twice about talking back to their elders. Lots of super
home built animatronic monsters run by motors and pulleys and bad
audio soundtracks. Drop in a 5 baht coin and watch 'em go. (below
are some bad videos of same).

It has been quite and adventure, and once we're back I'll throw up
some more detailed narratives here of special bits.

Now to get some coffee and wander about!

love to all

Nat and Michelle

"Science is a Differential Equation. Religion is a Boundary Condition."
- A. Turing

Buddha love you. Hell temple trip near Bangkok

Tortured souls and torturers

Devil On way I to hell

Don't be bad....or go to hell!!!

Hell wat (scare em straight!)

Yep. Teenage mutant ninja turtles in hell

Hell entrance. Hell temple. Near Bangkok

Heaven (hell wat) near Bangkok

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

It's crowded. There are people on our beach.

Life is not easy

Arrived Koh Lanta

After a 15 hour train ride (2nd class air-con a
submarine! but pretty comfy)
and a 2.5 hour air con minivan ride (not so comfy, nice view, but the
driver liked to just pump the accelerator over and over...makes even
my travel loving self sick.....)
to a ferry
to another ferry....

and now we're on a slice of tropical beauty.

staying in a shack with a fan, 100 ft from the beach....

life is not bad at this exact second.

not bad at all.

I'll upload some pics later.

Now the question is just, stay on this beach for a bit?
Or voyage North by boat to other even more idyllic isles.....

we think stay here for a bit,
do some scuba
then voyage north a bit

Friday, March 7, 2014

A more mellow day.

Today we headed out early, but after dinner, to catch Ta Prohm when its quiet.

Ta Prohm is famous as "The Jungle Temple". Left largely alone (tho a
digression on that will follow) and having lots of giant trees and
vines crawling in and out it is a beautiful place. One of the large
monastery complexes one can clamber through half rubble filled rooms
and doorways, through holes in walls and find yourself in beautiful
empty rooms, with the ceiling below your feet, trees above, and not
another tourist in sight. Until you clamber back out and find
yourself in a Korean tour group of 40 people posing for a picture by a
big tree.

One of the more intellectually interesting facets of this trip is
looking at various "preservation" and "conservation" practices that
are going on here.

Once and a while I get in a discussion about various schools of
thought in "preservation" and "Conservation". And I've always been
one of the "don't muck about if you can avoid it as the future will
always have better techniques.". And "make sure people can tell what
modern work has been done and what is old."

Around here those aren't exactly the theories. Here its more "make it
like it was" and "make it as seamless as possible".

So today at Ta Prohm, walking through the loggia I thought was still
standing, we regarded a picture showing the giant pile of stone it had
been until 1980-something. And with a few years here the jungle
totally hides any new mortar and a good layer of moss on everything
and bang! Its 1000 years old.

But it does mean that when we made it out farther to the small jewel
of a temple called "The Women's temple" or Banteay Srei (I think it
might have been Nina's fave back in 68) that we regretted their
preservation and conservation work.

Banteay Srei is tiny, and the carvings are amazing! Super good
sandstone and apparently very good carvers equalled unparalleled
beatuty. The stories of Shiva and Vishnu and Burning Forests and
warring Monkey Kings. Amazing.


dinner plans arrive

gots to go.

"Science is a Differential Equation. Religion is a Boundary Condition."
- A. Turing

Te prohm. The trees always win in the end.

Te prohm. (tomb raider anyone?)

A tuk tuk back from the temples

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Pano of bayon, early morning.

Sent from my iPhone

More beauty. And more stairs!

Epic! And one of the smaller ones!

Battle of monkeys!

A day at Angkor wat!

Today we started before dawn, taking a tuk tuk (here a scooter towing s trailer that holds 4) with Michelle's brother Scott and his gf Beth out to Angkor wat, the temple, watched dawn break them headed straight to an entirely empty bayon temple. It is the temple of faces and it's amazing in the completely empty just dawn hours.

From there we wandered and rode around from temple to temple as the day hot hot hot until at last visiting Anglor again when it's least busy due to the heat.

Words fail me at description.

My parents were here in 1968 before I was born and it has been a lifelong dream to make it here and now I have.

Pictures to follow.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, March 5, 2014