It's been several months since I visited Cambodia, but I have yet to share some of my favorite shots of the trip (back in April). One of my favorite activities when visiting another country is shopping at a local market. Not only do I enjoy the haggling and shopping, but I find it's an excellent place to see the locals and get a feel for the town. When I'm shooting, I enjoy capturing the feel of the country.
I haven't done a list in a long time so I shall list away Things about June. 1.
- I finished designing the bulk of my packaging goodies until I can have it all professionally done.
- I had to pay for some big purchases. New packaging. Estimated tax. Two plane tickets. One conference (ALT Summit! Yay!!!!). 8 days at two hotels. ugh. And that's pretty awesome. I like to pay bills. I like the satisfaction of going back to "zero" every month or pay period.
- This is the last month of "free" weekends. I use that very loosely. Starting in July, I'm shooting a wedding every weekend until September. Yikes. I don't know why I do that to myself.
- I'm not traveling at all this month... and it's nice.
- I've been pretty productive these first 6 days of June. I'm more productive without deadlines, ironically. I balk under pressure. I learned that that's due to the fact that I'm a discouraged perfectionist.
- 6. I sold my google stock and made lots of money. I'll buy it again when it goes back down.
- My parents celebrate their 40th anniversary this month. I celebrate that I think I can remember what day it is. (My sister got married the day after them and for the past 8 years I've had a hard time remembering which date was my sister's anniversary and which was my parent's anniversary. Finally another sister gave me good way to remember.)
- My littlest niece is 6 months old. And I'm happy to say I haven't missed her baby-ness like I have with my other nieces and nephews. I'm capitalizing on this time when I can still cradle her.
- I'm very happy. I'm excited to ride my bike. The weather's been great.
- I started reading my first fiction book since who knows how long. So far. So good. I started reading it last night. I'll likely finish it in the next couple of days. (It's good, Karen!)
- I keep a list of books I've read. I'm trying to someday read 52 books in one year. This year I'm failing miserably. I was supposed to finish 20 books by now. Last year I did pretty well. I almost got to 25 by the end of the year. Now I'm aiming for three books by the end of June.
- I like that I have stacks of books in my room. I'm going to try to sort through the ones I've read and the ones I haven't
- I'm doing Ali Edward's One Little Word Class. My word is "fresh" and this month is "think fresh". So far this One Little Word class has been awesome. I love it.
- So far been having really good devotions. Like REALLY good. I'm looking forward to what else God will teach me this month. (It all goes real well with "think fresh".)
- I really need to eat some new york style pizza. I've been also craving a caprese salad. desperately craving one. It's been less than two months since I've been to New York. I'm sad it'll be another three before I'm back. This will be the longest I've been away for a long time. But... I have an exciting idea for this coming trip.
- I'm 100% set on going on a trip for my 30th birthday. I can't wait to go. I think I'm going to start planning this month
- This month I also started taking a class called "Thrive". It's been amazing and I can't wait to implement what I learn into my business. June is my first month, but I have a handful of months of catch up work to do.
- I am schedule to photograph two births this month and the more I think about it the more I think the babies will be born on the same day. (I think the 14th. The first 5 births I photographed were born the 14th. Amazing, no?)
- I'm going to go to the De Young this month. For fun. For me.
- I also plan on (mostly) catching up on all my project life awesomeness.
My outlook is good. Bring it on, June. I'm excited to see what you have for me. yay.
And because posts are boring without pictures... Here is a picture of a gate at Angkor. I think it's the victory gate. I liked the smiling faces. Enjoy :D
Holla. So I absolutely loved going to the temples and revisiting ones I'd visited before. I went to Angkor Wat on my second full day in Cambodia. I spent the day visiting temples and Angkor Wat was my last temple for the day. I went sometime in the afternoon and was absolutely miserable. The thing about Angkor Wat is that you have to walk this long pathway from the road to the temple. It feels extremely long when the sun's out and there's no shade. I want to say that at that time it was well over 100 degrees and very humid. By the time I reached the temple I was so soaked in sweat that there wasn't an inch on me that wasn't sweating. By then I ran out of water and I craved something to cool me down. I rested for a bit and then began to explore. Even after visiting the first time, it's still incredibly remarkable. Angkor Wat reminds me a lot of European bathhouse ruins. I'm not sure what the little in and outs of Angkor Wat were used for, but a lot of the spaces looked like they could have once been pools.
Like many of the other temples, Angkor Wat was much different than when I visited four years ago. There's a lot of renovation going on which is both good and bad. They've opened up access to climb the main tower in the center of the complex, but as a woman you can't wear shorts or a tank top and I was wearing both. So I just sat happy in the shade watching people explore. I sure wish I had brushed up on my Cambodian and Hindu architecture before this adventure.
I love exploring Cambodia.
(You can see pictures from my other trip here. It's incredible how my editing's changed but my eye is still relatively the same. )
Isn't kind of strange to think Ta Prohm is most known for being the temple used in the Tomb Raider movie? I think so. Kind of like the Burj Khalifa might be known as the tall building in Mission Impossible, and not for being the tallest building in the world. strange. Ta Prohm is one of the temples I visited when I first when to Cambodia back in 2009 with the Raddest Photo Trip Ever. And it's changed immensely. In a way it's sad to me that Cambodia is making these temples more "tourist-friendly". Like other temples, wooden boardwalks have been build around and through the ruins for accessible touring. For me it takes away from the charm and history of what these temples once were and how what they once represented is literally left in ruins. But add those tourist-friendly elements and I feel the "renovations" are really doing a disservice to people who come to soak in the history of Angkor Wat. The boardwalks are also set above ground level to manuver over some of the fallen stones, but you lose the grand feeling of being on ground level looking up at these amazing structures and the ginormous trees growing out of them. In 2009 you could climb and explore through the temples which gave me a feel for how the ancient people of Angkor used to. Now with the boardwalks it feels detached like I'm walking through a zoo or something.
I'd highly suggest getting your butt to Cambodia and Angkor as soon as you can. Who knows what else will be changing in the next years. Not to mention, when I went in 2009 most of the temples were empty, so we could explore at our leisure. This past time I visited most of the temples were overcrowded with tour-bus-loads of people. I wasn't a fan of that.
With all that said, Ta Prohm is amazing. It's one of a few temples of Angkor Wat that is covered in the types of trees with their huge roots that climb up and over the ruins. On this day I was alone, so it was nice to spend time sitting and soaking it all in. I really enjoyed going through and capturing the same elements that I did in 2009 and looking back to see how my voice has changed. This time, too, I brought along a polaroid land camera and an instax mini. I can't wait to get those prints scanned.
. . . . .
P.s. I love looking back at my post from my first Ta Prohm visit. Oh how my photography changed. Going on that trip was one of the pivotal moments in my life. I gained so many girlfriends whom I cherish to this day... one even named Cherish, whom I went with to India. I also learned a lot about photography, especially Amy <3 who I spent many long tuk tuk rides with. And Richelle who I went with on this Cambodia trip! All in all it was wonderful to return to Cambodia. I felt like I was returning home. I loved experiencing Ta Prohm for a second time, my eyes wiser and my photography more mature.
Here's a picture from my trip in 2009. The picture is taken of most of the group by Josh Newton.
Below is a picture of the same spot. The left from 2009 and the right from 2013. The original left picture was a vertical image, but I cropped it to compare the two images. You can see how they've added modern structural elements to keep the ruins from falling apart. You can also note a vast difference in how I edit. Crazy how so much changes in four years.
Beng Mealea is a beautiful temple, but its two or three hours outside of Siem Reap, where I was staying. Sounds like a long bumpy bad drive huh? A two hour car ride isn't the most fun. Imagine doing it in an open-air tuk tuk. Sound dreadful? Well, absolutely not. My favorite parts about my trips to Cambodia are the long rides through the countryside. The wind blowing in my hair, the sun tanning my ghostly white skin. Some days I didn't care so much about the temples or the destinations I just wanted to drive. I longed for those long tuk tuk rides. Any time I visit a country as poor as Cambodia, it's really such an introspective and sobering experience. You drive by homes that you could barely call huts, but you see the people inside smiling and laughing. No matter how little these people have, still they greet you like you're one of their own family. They invite you into their homes, their lives. Cambodians are such warm people. I know that Cambodia is wrought with its own problems and its not all pixie dust like it appears to me as a tourist*, but one can't deny the immense sense of contentment these people have.
An example of how awesome some Cambodians are is Mr. Sith, my tuk tuk driver (and friend!). Mr. Sith was talking with me one day, telling me about his children. I asked to see a picture, and responded by asking if I wanted to meet them. So he drove across the river to a market for locals where his kids were hanging out. I was so happy to meet his wife and kids. Later in the week, while in search of some bags for a friend, Mr Sith decided he wanted to buy a present for me and my parents. I mean really, who buys presents for someone's parents? I thought that was the sweetest thing. It nearly melted my heart that he wanted to give my parents a gift. I suspect that he didn't have a lot of my money, yet he so generously want to share what he had with me. I love people who love Jesus, but honestly even Christians who should be so loving and generous can't compare to my experiences in Cambodia.
So as we drove through the countryside, I thought about life and what I needed to change about myself. In what ways could I be more caring? more giving? more loving? And that was my theme of Cambodia.