Sunday, 30 September 2012

Thien Hau Temple

Next stop on the temple tour was Thien Hau Temple. I loved the contrast between the delicate ancient looking temple's façade and the high-rise buildings in the background.
More incense, notes of prayer or worship pinned to a wall, and some crazy looking fan below.
Another awesome 3D tiger and cub. This one is a little vampire-like I think. And huge beautiful lanterns in the entrance way.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Quan Am Pagoda

Arriving in Ho Chi Minh City Edu and I figured out a plan of attack, and decided that today was the day of Pagoda-visiting. We went to the pagoda hub in Cholon area. Here we saw 4 pagodas… eventually. We got lost more than once in the maze of streets where commonly streets have different names, depending on which end of the street you enter - maddening at times!
But we figured it out in time. First up, Quan Am Pagoda.This was one of the larger pagoda's we visited and also one of the more popular. The smell of burning incense from the spirals hanging from the ceiling to the handfuls of sticks each patron was holding as part f their worshiping ritual was quite overpowering. To the point where I had to duck out and get air and rest by burning teary eyes.
The decoration was fantastical. Like this tiger protruding out of a wall.
Dragon walls and bundles of incense sticks below.
Loved this tiger that almost looks like a dog.
What you can't tell from these pictures is the circular disc behind these statues rotated giving the effect of a Vegas sign. It was quite awesome. The decoration was so kitsch, I loved all of it.
Here you can get an idea of just how many incense sticks and spirals were burning at once. This is just one corridor in the temple.
Outside the temple there were many people selling offerings for the gods. This seemed to change at each temple, though the lotus flower was popular at all.
This woman is selling incense in all shapes and sizes, plus fake money and messages of prayer. All in all fascinating.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Binh Tay Night Market

After such a short stay we regrettably had to say farewell to Cambodia as we headed to Vietnam. Although arriving in Ho Chi Minh City, formally Saigon, I loved the energy and buzz about the place and I was ready for some lively city life after a few days in the sticks. We hit the Binh Tay night market.
From the quite of the Cambodian countryside we were then thrust into the crazy of Asian city living. Motorcycles everywhere. Cars everywhere. People everywhere.
We strolled through the vibrant market looking at piles of incredible coloured food. Had we not already eaten a delicious meal I would have had to try some. Especially the iridescent green variety.
Loved this sign.
At night the streets are packed and buzzing with life. Hoards of Vietnamese sitting on what look like children's chairs sitting at children's tables scoffing down dinner. 
This lady was feverishly preparing meals over a hot fire in the very warm and humid evening. In front of here bowl after bowel of shellfish, some of which Edu and I had never seen before. I'm sure they were all delicious.
Grilling whole fish on an open barbecue in sweltering heat.
This was a common sight, women with baskets laden with food, carried on a cross-pole, walking around the city selling their wares. Tough way to make a living.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

The Last Temple

Then as we headed to the airport we stopped at one last temple, and I'm afraid I can't tell you the name of this temple either. By this point I was a little weary of temples, and very sweaty. I slowed right down, stopped taking so many pictures and just took in the vista. Sunrise from this temple is meant to be amazing, but sadly we were at the wrong time of day and the wrong season for the show.
Other than the actual historical sights Edu and I loved the drive through all the villages this second day. Fascinating to see the village life. Kids, dogs, chickens, all running amok. The people, very poor, houses very basic all mostly on stilts, planting rice in paddy fields underway. The colours were amazing, and the people seemed happy.
We headed back to the Siem Reap, grabbed some lunch next door to Angkor Wat, watched a monkey in the car park for a bit then high tailed it to the airport. Bye, bye, Cambodia... it was wonderful.