UNESCO: Sambor Prei Kuk

Kampong Thom City

Capital City

Kampong Thom Province

Cambodia

January 26, 2019

Less than an hour’s drive from Kampong Thom in Central Cambodia lies the UNESCO World Heritage Site - The Temple Zone Sambor Prei Kuk, Archeological Site of Ancient Ishanapura.

I visited the site with my friend Howard.  We strolled among the temples for several hours.

I have two distinct impressions of this site.

First is the age of this site. 

Archeologists agree that the temples were built in the late Sixth to early Seventh Centuries.  This complex is at least two hundred years older than the first temples at Angkor Wat, one of the most famous sites in Southeast Asia.

My second impression is the detail. 

I look closely at the decorations on the temples, the 1300-year-old decorations!   UNESCO calls the sculptures and reliefs “true masterpieces.”

Phnom Vor Village School

Phnom Vor Village School

Phnom Vor

Kep Province

Cambodia

January 24, 2019

 

Who can resist the charm of the schoolchildren in the rural community of Phnom Vor Village?

Attentive, curious, serious and ever so friendly, the young girls and boys are totally delightful.

In the early and late afternoon, the children of all ages attend English classes that are taught by the local teachers.

The Vine Retreat

The Vine Retreat

Phnom Vor Village

Kep, Cambodia

January 22, 2019

Hello,

About a year ago, my Bangkok friend Robert invested his considerable talents in the ten-room guest house, spa and adjoining farm and gardens called The Vine Retreat.

Robert, a native of Quebec Province, Canada is a Certified Accountant.  But somehow, he has morphed into a civil engineer, electrician and carpenter as he repaired, renovated and rebuilt the long-neglected site in the jungle uplands of Kep Province in southern Cambodia.

Dependent - Independent Part One

Hotel Aigai Kum

Bashi Village

Altyn Emil National Park

Almaty Region

Republic of Kazakhstan

October 11, 2018                                 

                                         Nyet! and Da!

"Nyet!”

I refuse to drive the 50 kilometers (31miles) to the “Singing Sand Dunes.”    I anticipate the “road” will be uncomfortable, uneven and rough.  In addition to my back brace, I will need a dental mouth guard.

I am thinking, “How many sand dunes do I need to see?   I have already climbed the dunes in seven countries.  I don’t recall if any of them ‘sang’ or even ‘whistled.’   Regardless, enough is enough.”

“Ali,” I suggest to my driver, “Please take the afternoon off.”

Dependent - Independent Part Two

ZhanaOtel

Aktau

Mangystau

Kazakhstan

October 24, 2018

Out west, in the Mangystau Region, a herd of camels in the desert is a common sight, especially for my driver.  But I insist we stop at a watering station. 

I introduce myself to the camel herder and his sons.  They are most welcoming and certainly curious about me.  I watch in fascination as their tall and thirsty animals slurp, shake and swallow big gulps. (Camels can drink 30 gallons of water or 113 liters in just 13 minutes.)

My driver Vladimir suggests we visit one of his secret places.  Of course, I agree.  Our “secret place” is a long, white, crenelated valley that can easily be missed from the road.  We are alone above the valley as we observe the blindingly bright white, deeply gouged formation.  

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