In continuing to blog about my adventures last week, I come to the highlight of the trip: The phenomenal Angkor Wat temple complex. This is going to be a short(ish) post with regards to text, because in this case photos speak so much better.
Angkor Wat is stunning. Everything you would ever imagine. Huge. Ancient. Mysterious. Overgrown. Overwhelming. Intricate, yet rugged, and looking like a set straight out of Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider (sort of because it is…). If you can go, please do. It will take your breath away.
I think I’ve caught a glimpse of what church is meant to look like.
Yesterday morning and all of Saturday I was in the Cambodian town of Poipet, right on the border with Thailand. The guide books call this place the ‘Armpit of Cambodia’, but it was there, in a small church service overlooking the dusty street, that I was hit by some of the most beautiful images of unity, grace, faithfulness-without-borders and family that I’ve ever seen.
Due to only having a korean iPhone for internet usage, I can’t tell you in full what’s been going on… Except that it’s been amazing. Soon you’ll be hearing of lime green oceans of billowing rice fields, of clambering through claustrophobic Viet Cong tunnels, of friendships that cross any sort of language barrier, and, of course, Angkor Wat. Just got back from the temple complex itself. Overwhelming.
Facebook is blocked within Vietnam (I know! How will I survive…?), so posting ‘Microblogs’ like this will be a good way to let the folk who actually care know that I’m ok! Vietnam is amazing, I absolutely love it. The traffic is crazy, and going on the back of a motorbike (by far the most common way to travel – the roads look like mechanical, two-wheeled locust swarms) is exhilarating to say the least!
A short post today, just to let you know what I’m up to over the next few days. This afternoon I fly out of Singapore to the mystical world of Vietnam, to meet up with some of the programmers we’ve been working with (the guy I’m working for is already out there). This part of the journey will be fine.
However, slightly more nerve-wrecking is the second leg, where I dive into Cambodia by bus, on my own, for a couple of days. Granted I’ve prepared everything to the smallest detail, and granted I’m going to get to see Angkor Wat, but I’m still pretty nervous! If by some fluke/miracle I make it to Friday evening in one piece, I’m then going to meet up with Katie Brown for a day, leaving on Saturday morning to head to Bangkok (which is where I catch a plane back).
Should be good, but there’s a lot of room for error! Please be praying I keep what few wits I have about me…!
Just got back from a couple of days in Indonesia where I was helping to deck out an orphanage with some cartoon sunflower frescoes (among other things) like some sort of weird Van Gogh/Da Vinci/Whoever-Illustrates-the-Beano hybrid. Good times.
We were staying at a small orphanage called ‘Filadelphia’ on the Indonesian Island of Batam, where, next Sunday, a new kindergarten is opening (hence the decorative spree). I loved every bit of the trip – the ferry crossing to the island, meeting the kids, staying up till half one painting, getting my hands completely covered, being genuinely out-skilled by a ten-year-old at football (anyone who knows me won’t find that hard to believe…) and even been stopped for a ‘random’ security check at customs, drugs search and all (now far be it from me to suggest they choose their targets, but I was the only obviously western person in a crowd of about a hundred. Just saying…). One of the most striking things, however, was the staggering gap between Singapore and Batam.
The food in Singapore is by far the most interesting and inventive of any country I’ve been to so far. I had a whole crab placed in front of me on Monday, which was a new experience, and tonight I’m going out for a Singaporean delicacy: Fish-head Curry. That’s curry, with a large fish’s decapitated head on top. Should be good! This goes alongside fried octopus, eel, pregnant fish (had that a few times, it’s pretty good) and the explosive wasabi. The variety is staggering!
However, there’s also an awful lot of amazing drinks as well. (Sweetened) Ice tea is incredible, particularly lemon and passion-fruit, and I had a sugar-cane drink yesterday which was beyond description. Why don’t we get these sort of drinks in the UK? Heaven and Earth ice teas are (unsurprisingly) owned by Coca-Cola anyway, and are far more refreshing than anything else they produce. Yes, I went there. These drinks are better than Dr. Pepper.
Anyway, as well as fish head curry, I have a bunch of other things lined up which should be exciting: Transformers 3 on Thursday with folk from church, heading to Batam, Indonesia on Friday and Saturday to help paint an orphanage/kindergarten, and then Vietnam on Monday for a week, capped off with a visit to Cambodia to see Katie Brown and (hopefully) Angkor Wat! These last couple of weeks are looking good!