28 Oct 2007
New Places
4:54 pm | 2 are hungry | Published in book,nothing |

I had 2 new blogs set up! Thought I should mention it here, although they’re linked from the main page of meexia.com.

One is a full-blown book blog. Finally! I’ve been wanting to have this for the longest time.

One is my Japanese playing ground. I may put down notes, books, translations, and random Japanese-y stuff.

I will keep this blog for travel stories and cuisine adventures.

I know I’m having too many blogs to make any of them successful, but I’m thinking about it this way: Each blog is like a different room or spot in a house. One day I may feel like spending time on the window sill near the book shelves, another time in the kitchen with its island bench and high stool. You never know. It’s good for me to have separate corners for separate topics, and most probably, separate group of people.

18 Oct 2007
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
10:48 pm | Noone is hungry | Published in book,review |

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

This book is my first bookring that I got. It had 10 journalers and 26 journals before I got it. A well traveled book :). You can see it here and join the ring if you want. I’m sending this book to the next person in Australia.

Got it from: followdream, US (bookring)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (boy do I became harsher these days..)

“The tale of one motherless daughter’s discovery of what family really means- and of the strange and wondrous places we find love.” ~ The Washington Post (back cover)

It’s a sweet short book. Like strawberry short cake. Like eating fairy floss alone in the middle of beautiful park. There’s just the right balance of sadness and happiness. Sure there were moments a bit too corny for me, but the main character is 14 years old girl, what do you expect ;). I admit though there were many moments too that brought me to the verge of tears. It was both funny and melancholy book I’d say :).

A few elements felt very close to home. Including the “We can’t be together now, but one day, after I’ve gone away and become somebody, I’m gonna find you, and we’ll be together then” promise, complete with dogtag exchanging hands. Seriously, I’m asking you, does this kind of thing happen to everybody? Now I feel that it does happen to all teenagers around the world LOL.

Do you know what’s the key to writing a good fiction? Pick a few key points that can stick on readers’ mind. Anything that’s outlandish, or even ordinary but with a bit of twist. Like from this book, I could easily remember the kneeling on grits, pink house, wailing wall, and the black Madonna (Mary). (You gotta read the book to understand what they are :)

So see, even maybe after I forget about the how the girl found her mother, I would probably still remember the one that had the world’s burden and sadness like it was her own and her wailing wall where she stored all her griefs away.

Memorable Quotes

“Every little thing wants to be loved.” ~ August, pg 92

“The hardest thing on earth is choosing what matters.” ~ August, pg 147

“It’s something everybody wants- for someone to see the hurt done to them and set it down like it matters.” ~ Lily, pg 185

“When it’s time to die, go ahead and die, and when it’s time to live, live. Don’t sort-of-maybe live, but live like you’re going all out, like you’re not afraid.” ~ May and August, pg 211

“People, in general, would rather die than forgive. It’s that hard.” ~ Lily, pg 277

“In a weird way I must have loved my little collection of hurts and wounds. They provided me with some real nice sympathy, with the feeling I was exceptional.” ~ Lily, pg 278

“[Love] is the only purpose grand enough for a human life. Not just to love- but to persist in love.” ~ August, pg 289

“If you need something from somebody, always give that person a way to hand it to you.” ~ August, pg 298

13 Oct 2007
Out by Natsuo Kirino
12:06 am | 9 are hungry | Published in book,review |

Out by Natsuo Kirino

This book is now on a ray. Look at it go! It’ll travel to India and Iran among many! Greece, France, Netherland, and Canada too. What a lucky book! =P

Got it from: Popular Singapore, with voucher from NLB, which I got from a selected book review I submitted to their site
Rating: 4 out of 5

It’s a thriller/mystery book. Not the type I normally would read. But I was just intrigued by the good reviews from Amazon, and the mere fact that it’s authored by, again, Japanese, my recent obsession :). From the front cover, it’s Winner of Japan’s Grand Prix for Crime Fiction and Edgar Award Finalist.

From the back cover:
This mesmerizing novel tells the story of a brutal murder in the staid Tokyo suburbs, as a young mother who works the night shift making boxed lunches strangles her abusive husband and then seeks the help of her coworkers to dispose of the body and cover up her crime. The coolly intelligent Masako emerges as the plot’s ringleader but quickly discovers that this killing is merely the beginning, as it leads to a terrifying foray into the violent underbelly of Japanese society. At once a masterpiece of literary suspense and pitch-black comedy of gender warfare. Out is also a moving evocation of the pressures and prejudices that drive women to extreme deeds, and the friendships that bolster the in the aftermath.

Meh, I’m not sure about that ‘friendship’ in that last sentence. Every action in this book is done out of desperation more than anything, IMO. If I had to summarize it in one word, that’s the central theme of the book. Desperation. All characters are desperate in some ways, to get OUT of their sticky situation. Is that probably where the title comes from?

The gender prejudice and inequality are especially thick in this book. Work especially well with Japan setting and four women as the central characters. (Well, this reminds me of Desperate Housewives out of the blue. But rest assure, it’s nothing like it. Doesn’t mean I don’t like Desperate Housewives :)

Some parts can be too gross to read. I did read every single word with some effort. I thought I couldn’t go on but I could.

It’s totally a page-turner however. I finished the book fairly quickly, finishing the last 2 chapters in 1 night (ie a few hours), because I just had to know what happened next!

Recommended if you’re looking for that engaging book you cannot put down.

Discussion on the book at TheReadingLounge.com

Memorable Quotes

“The way to despair is to refuse to have any kind of experience…” ~ Flannery O’Connor (front page)

“.. fate is what happens to you in spite of all your plans.” ~ Satake, pg 192

11 Oct 2007
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
11:06 pm | Noone is hungry | Published in book,review |

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

I’m running bookrings for this book.
1 copy in Singapore
1 copy goes around the world (currently traveling to Europe)
If you’re in Singapore I will gladly lend you my copy (I can easily send it by mail). If you’re somewhere else, you can join the ring :)

Got this from: Borders Singapore
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

From the back cover:
“Toru Okada’s cat has disappeared and his wife is growing more distant every day. Then there are the increasingly explicit telephone calls he has started receiving. As this compelling story unfolds, the tidy suburban realities of Okada’s vague and blameless life are turned inside out, and he embarks on a bizarre journey, guided by a succession of characters, each with a tale to tell.”

In my own words (halfway through the book):
Main character is a guy in suburban Japan, living with his wife, and cat which disappeared at the beginning of the book. At first looking for the cat, he starts to meet all kinds of weird characters with their own quirky stories and personalities. At several parts of the book I found myself like the King in 1001 Arabian Nights when his wife stops telling her story in the middle of exciting part, “Nooo, don’t stop here. Please continue!” Which is exactly what the guy does when all these weird people he meets suddenly decides to stop their tales for whatever reason. Love this book :). I found myself reading like a little kid, all wide-eyed and open-jawed throughout the book.

After I finished the book:
Not exactly sure if I like the second half of the book (I totally love the first half!). The book is a trilogy. The third part gets much weirder. A lot of things are left unanswered at the end, which left me a bit unsatisfied. But my friend said that’s what makes a book great, like what makes a movie art house, that you leave things for the audiences to figure out (I’m not totally convinced though. He’s British =P). Still at the end this is a book I would highly recommend for anyone to read. It’s also one of the 1001 books you must read before you die :).

It’s definitely a page turner and it’s a very thick book. This is the third Murakami’s book that I read. I plan to read ALL of his books (that’ll take me a while. He got about 10 books or so). He’s the second author whose books I want to read all. First was Amy Tan.

Memorable Quotes

“Curiosity can bring guts out of hiding at times, maybe even get them going. But curiosity evaporates. Guts have to go for the long haul. Curiosity’s like an amusing friend you can’t really trust. It turns you on and then it leaves you to make it on your own- with whatever guts you can muster.” ~ pg 65

“When you get used to that kind of life- of never having anything you want- then you stop knowing what it is you want.” ~ pg 72

“The passage of time will usually extract the venom from most things and render them harmless.” ~ pg 79

“You’ve got to spend your money on the things that money can buy, not worry about profit or loss. Save your energy for the things that money can’t buy.” ~ pg 115

“Memories and thoughts age, just as people do. But certain thoughts can never age, and certain memories can never fade.” ~ pg 207

“There is nothing so cruel in this world as the desolation of having nothing to hope for.” ~ pg 346

“Hell has no true bottom.” ~ pg 547

06 Oct 2007
Fall Into Reading 2007
11:25 am | 1 is hungry | Published in activity,book |

Fall Into Reading 2007
As I have so many books on hand right now, I’m joining callapidderdays’s challenge, because it has cute image to come with it ;). The deadline is 21st of December (starting 23rd of September).

So my list is:

1 book for thereadinglounge.com
Out by Natsuo Kirino done 09/10/07
The Discussion
NLB Book of the Month Nov 2005

1 book from a friend
The Girl Who Married a Lion by Alexander McCall Smith

1 book for Wild/OBCZ release
Lucky by Alice Sebold

1 book from RABCK to ray forward
When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro

1 book from local OBCZ
Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

1 book from Bookcrossing Bookring/ray
Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd done 17/10/07

1 book from my cheapo stack
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

Plus other books that I may get from bookring/ray and sudden interest in certain book. I really think I could manage this list.

I will post the reviews once I get them done. Go here for reviews from the others.

23 Sep 2007
Still Busy
1:26 pm | 5 are hungry | Published in nothing |

Very busy bookcrossing. Still spending a ridiculous amount of time hovering on the forum and the site. I thought that rather than fighting the addiction, I would just let it flow. I’m sure it will pass eventually. I mean I would still be around, just would not spend enormous amount of time on it anymore (hopefully anyway ;).

The latest thing happening is to send your wish list up and try to fulfill other people’s wish lists too. In other words, sending gifts (this in the spirit of Christmas by the way) to strangers. You can see it here. It’s just waaay too addicting. I ended up making a couple of friends. One lives in rural Texas, 71 years old, stays with her 2 dogs since her husband just passed away. I had the most fun time reading her stories about where she lives and things happened in her life (summarized, of course). She’s sending me Japanese children book! The other one is from South Africa, who also shared stories from where she lives. About white Africans, the languages, situation in the country. It’s like reading tales from somewhere far far away. She’s sending me a package of stuff, including butterfly earrings that she made herself. I got a few packages to send to people, but I wouldn’t say here until they get them, because it’s a surprise ;D.

Another exciting thing is I got my first book from fellow bookcrosser, sent from Sri Lanka! It’s When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro. Can’t wait to start this one. Someone in my office was almost as excited as I was when she saw the package. She wanted the stamps :). She said she started collecting stamps since people get packages from all over the world in our office (we have 29 nationalities here).

I’m also currently studying Japanese and Chinese. The latter one for fun because my company has this very cheap 18 weeks course for us. Most of the people in the class have never studied Chinese before though, so it’s been quite slow. Which is good, because it doesn’t give too much pressure on me. I have given up on serious learning of Mandarin language a while ago. From now on, I’m just gonna do it for fun. Conversation only, no writing or reading.

On the other hand, I’m really into Japanese right now. I’m planning for a trip to Japan hopefully next year. This will be a trip that I’ve been dreaming of since I was 5. Sure it’s been a couple of years since I can buy a ticket and fly off to Japan, but I want the trip to be perfect! After all, I’ve been waiting for it for as long as I can remember. When I do get to Japan, I will savor every little thing, as much as my soul can take. Hence I need to get the language. I will not make the trip if I’m not confident enough to speak and understand Japanese (including writing and reading). It’s good because I have a deadline now! The harder I work on this, the quicker I’d get there.

So anyway, I will continue writing about all the stuff I want and need to write. Siem Reap and Bali on the queue. My deadline is somewhere before Christmas, because Rendy and I are going on another trip. (Damn, the posts need to catch up!) I wouldn’t apologize for lack of posting, because then I would need to apologize a lot ;). I will do it whenever I feel like it.

08 Sep 2007
Poof! and Bookcrossing
1:04 pm | Noone is hungry | Published in book |

I forgot what I did in the past week. Time went by like POOF!

These days I’ve been spending a huge portion of my time at bookcrossing.com. EVIL! Well, for bookworms like me anyway. Since I joined the community, the books I’ve got surmount more than ever (although I’m talking only about my time in Singapore, not anywhere else. I have heaps of books at my parents’ house in Sydney..) They’re either from Book Ring/Book Ray, book sales, or RABCK.

Just this week alone, I bought 9 books, and that does not include the books coming my way from ring, ray, and RABCK. As if something sets me free (read: nuts)! I guess the community gives me more reasons to buy books, more than anything ;). You can see my To-Be-Read mount. The first 9 books were the ones I bought the past week. I spent a good S$23 for the first 6! *grin* So cheap right? Very very happy lor! I had them yesterday at Times Book Sale @ Expo.

If you’re intrigued about bookcrossing, just drop by to the site and look around. My username is meexia. You can drop me a message. We can organize something together :D. I hope to introduce this to more people who love books as much as I do, especially in Singapore.

More about the terms I threw around just now:

Book Ring. Person #1 has a book to share and posts notice of a book ring in the Book Ring and Ray forum. Interested parties will PM her, and a book ring begins. The book is mailed to Person #2 along with a list of everyone in the ring–without including anyone’s mailing address (for privacy reasons). When Person 2 receives the book, he PM’s Person 3 for his/her address, reads the book as quickly as possible, and mails it off. Two to four weeks has become the standard for keeping a book. My personal suggestion is that if you need it longer than that, you a)let the founder of the ring know, and/or b) send it to the next person, unread, and request that your name be added to the end of the list when you may have more time. Person #3 repeats the cycle. Eventually, the book returns to the original owner.

Book Ray. This works exactly like a book ring except it is never returned to the original owner. Much like a paper ray of sunshine, the book travels forever. When the last person on the ray list finishes the book, they can post it on the wish list forum for more BC readers, or they can release it into the wild.

Book box. Person #1 gathers together a bunch of books, This can be as few as 8 or 10, or as many as 30 or 40 paperbacks. The books can be themed (sci-fi, chick-lit, romance, childrens, etc) or just random books. After posting a message on the Book Ring/Ray forum, s/he gathers a list of interested participants. Box is mailed to Person #2, who takes out a couple of books and puts the same amount back in, then mails it to Person #3. Eventually, the box will make it back to Person #1, who has a lot of new books to read!

Random Act of BookCrossing Kindness — this can take several forms, but the most common is when someone sends you a book without asking for a trade or postage reimbursement. It’s just the act of doing something nice for another BookCrosser.

~ taken straight from bookcrossing faqs

Happy weekend!

31 Aug 2007
Siem Reap Day 2: Angkor Thom and Beyond
12:11 am | 1 is hungry | Published in backpacking,Cambodia,Siem Reap,travel |

This post is the second part of my second day at Siem Reap. See first part here, first day here. Food experience first day here.

Angkor Thom is one of the largest Khmer cities ever built. The total area of 900 hectares is now mostly forest but originally a considerable city.Angkor Thom - gateGate to the city. We went by tuktuk because there’s no way you could go around on foot. It’s practically a city. There are a number of individual temples inside.Angkor Thom - gateI told you you’re going to see the gods (or asuras/demons? I really can’t tell the difference.) holding naga again. They’re everywhere.


Bayon - front

We went straight to Bayon, which is right in the middle of Angkor Thom. Bayon is one of the most famous temple among Angkor temples. It’s one of my favorites too. It’s supported by Japan and UNESCO for preservation of the world cultural heritage.


You would see all around Siem Reap (or Cambodia) the paintings of Bayon. Especially the face tower. I kept wondering whose face it was. It’s probably the face of their King or something.

“The temple is extremely complex both in terms of its structure and meaning. It uses, uniquely, a mass of face-towers to create a stone mountain of ascending peaks. There is some dispute about the number of towers. There were originally 49 towers even though Paul Mus thought there should be 54. Today only 37 are standing. Most are carved with four faces on each cardinal point but sometimes there are only there or even just two. The central tower has many more. Readers are invited to write in when they counted them all. Whatever the final number the overall effect is quite overwhelming.”
~ excerpt from the guide book, Ancient Angkor

Bayon - face tower

Had lunch before we continued (separate post).


Still in Angkor Thom area, next temple was Baphuon. It’s restored in collaboration with French.


Baphuon’s signature is the long high causeway to the main building, with pond on each side…


… and the rocks. Crazy number of loose rocks scattered around the yard. Apparently the condition of the temple was so bad that they had to lay out all the loose rocks and need to put them back like 3D puzzle! All rock was numbered/marked to be put back into a complete temple. Walau, the job must suck real bad. It took them (and I assume is still going) years to figure out which goes to where.


More rocks…

We’ve actually seen something similar at other temples, including Bayon, but Baphuon had significantly more numbers of loose rocks.

Baphuon - view from top

View from the top. Beyond this was a lot of restoration work going on. They also put some new rocks in, and I thought they must have given up trying to find the right rock to fill certain slots, might as well make a new one =P

Elephant Terrace

Elephant Terrace

Next one was Elephant Terrace, which was the foundation for royal reception pavilions. The carving of elephants along its walls give it its modern name. Somehow I always imagine elephants actually walking on the terrace a long time ago. Of course this is not true.

We were in the middle of the terrace when it suddenly rained pretty hard and we couldn’t find our tuktuk. We took cover under some tree, but it got too heavy. So when it slowed down a bit, we quickly ran to the nearby eating stalls…


… and had a coconut ;).

Coconuts were everywhere in Siem Reap and dirt cheap. One coconut was 2000 Riel (50c). They would always try to sell you more though. So if you ask, instead of saying 1 for 50c, they would say 2 for one dollar (one dollar again! It’s the magic word. Everything also one dollar.) But you can insist that you only want to buy 1 for 2000 Riel, they’d give up in exactly 2 seconds. Somehow they always had the coconut opened only small enough for a straw. So you can’t take the meat out. I suspect they wanted to eat the meat themselves or use it to cook something else.

painter near Elephant Terrace

A painter busy painting Angkor Wat just in front of us. My mind wondered if I were to live there, painting everyday, open-air, sometimes in the middle of the rain. Maybe sell some small paintings for bread and butter (or rice and vegie ;), while working seriously on the big one. One day someone who can really appreciate my hard work would buy it with a good price. Then I could live comfortably for a while working on another big painting. Would I just be happy?

Well, enough daydreaming. We went back to the Terrace when the rain stopped for a bit.

Elephant Terrace

Elephant Terrace

There are a lot of elephants carving on the side of the terrace. That’s where it got its name from.

Elephant Terrace - 5 headed horse

The five-headed horse! We saw it on the guide book, saying that it’s somewhere on the hidden wall. And we accidentally found it!


Our tuktuk driver was so nice, he had 2 raincoats for us. So we could continue exploring even though it drizzled.

By this time we got pretty tired though. Because of the heat in the morning and afternoon, then the rain. So when I saw another steep steps with ‘Climb at your own risk’ sign again with deep canal just at the foot of the stairs, I thought naahh.. I’ll pass the climbing this time.


We went around a bit more since the temple had a big garden and pond and all, but the rain made everything uncomfortable. It was really hot and humid under the raincoat too. So we were sweating like monkeys with raincoats.

By this time I started to get really worry about my camera. First the battery almost died. Second I ran out of memory card, and I didn’t bring the cable to transfer the pictures. Siem Reap was a very small town, which we assumed of course, technologically behind. So we were just praying that we could find either a place that sold SONY memory card, or place that had SONY memory card reader (Note that my camera is SONY, so the memory card is not the standard one. It’s SONY memory card.) Well at the end we found a big photo shop that had both new SONY memory card and SONY memory card reader. I decided to just transfer the pictures and burnt them to a CD. Cost $5, $2 for the CD, $3 for the transfer. I just remember thereafter that I had my 2GB thumbdrive with me and I could just transfer the pictures to it.


This “mini” temple was neat and compact. And when we were there there was almost nobody around, because it was pretty late and after rain. So we managed to take quite a few good pictures.



It’s almost like a mini Angkor Wat, with its not so high steps and low ceilings.

Thommanon - library

Complete with library. We started to recognize library building. It’s always separated from the main building, and has certain squarish shape to it. This mini library though, was so small and dark inside that I wondered how the people in the old time actually used the place as library. I mean they didn’t have any electricity before, right? Do you really wanna bring fire to a room full of papers?

Thommanon - carving

A pretty well reserved lady carving. Either that or they remade restored it.

Chau Say Tevoda

Our last temple for the day was this very small temple that was obviously still under heavy restoration, in collaboration with China.

Chau Say Tevoda

There was a hut next to the temple with all the pictures and stories of restoration (the same thing with the temple with thousands of rocks lying around in its yard). There was also a big guestbook where people can sign and write crap. I wrote something too. In case you went there next time, look for our name ;)

If you notice, we’ve changed clothes to the Cambodian shirts we just bought because the rain wet ours. My shirt has Khmer characters at the front side and back.

Then we just called it a day. We were worried the photo shops we were looking for closed early (at the end I got to transfer my pictures, so it was all good). We went back to the hostel after that, setting up appointment with our tuktuk driver for 5am in the morning the next day to catch the sunrise. Took shower, went out to get dinner (separate post), and slept. Even longer days ahead.

27 Aug 2007
Siem Reap Day 2: Angkor Wat
11:55 pm | Noone is hungry | Published in backpacking,Cambodia,Siem Reap,travel |

This post is part of my Siem Reap series. See day 1 here. Eaters go here.

On second day, we departed from the hostel around 8:30am with our lovely tuktuk driver, to the majestic Angkor Wat, the biggest temple of them all. It’s just in front of Ta Promh Kei that we went the day before.Now it’s very difficult to describe how big this place is. I often felt that my camera was not big enough to capture everything (not as in the actual size of the camera, but… oh you know what I mean). So just follow me bit by bit and hopefully we can show some parts of it ;)So here we start. YAY! We’re at the front gate.Angkor Wat - front

The building you see behind me is not the temple. It’s the gate.

Angkor Wat - gate

Still gate.

Angkor Wat - Buddha inside gate

Buddha inside gate building. Angkor temples are fusion between Hindu and Buddhism.

Angkor Wat - photo spot

Outside of the gate we found another long terrace. At one side we found these people with costumes. You can take pictures with them for a few dollars.

Angkor Wat - library

Walk a little bit more and you’d find this library. O well, what used to be.

Angkor Wat - library

Feel like I was in Greece. Not that I’ve been there before..

Some parts of the building would look obviously new (like that pillar behind me). They are restoring a lot of bits and pieces. Almost all the temples were destroyed during war. Apparently they were all in pretty messed up conditions when the outside world found out about this historic place. Countries from all over the world give hands to help Cambodia restore of what little they have left. Each of the smaller temples were ‘adopted’ by different country, from Japan, French, Africa, China, India, and more.

Angkor Wat

One of the best view of the inner temple that I can get. The ones that don’t have hundreds of people blocking my camera.

Angkor Wat

HERE is the main building! Finally!

Angkor Wat

We’ve walked so far to go in… That tiny building is the gate I showed you earlier.

Angkor Wat

Going in, we found a lot of hallways like this. Very very long hallways.

Angkor Wat - cloister

My favorite spot. Giant cloister.

Angkor Wat - cloister

I had to be in the picture to show you how BIG it is! Still the picture can’t do it justice. It’s huge!

Angkor Wat - Buddha

Rendy is crazy about Buddha. He’s attracted to it like mouse to cheese, like bee to flower, like magnet to refrigerator. He has to take pictures with all the Buddha he sees XD

Angkor Wat - steps

Have I told you how STEEP the steps were? They’re not only steep, they’re ridiculously narrow. You have to step like a crab (on your side) to fit your feet. I wonder how all the monks that time climb up and down the steps. Crawling up and down doesn’t seem cool at all. Did they just have very short feet and very long legs?

After I came back to Singapore, Hailey told me that someone fell from the steep steps and died. I wasn’t surprised. Seriously, someone must have died because of those steps. The husband then donated some money for them to make safer steps. So sometimes wooden steps were there at what I assumed the more dangerous spots. Oh by the way, I really don’t think Angkor is a good place to visit with your kids. The best spots are hard (to the point of dangerous) to get to. Then after you get there, there’s no safety bar or whatever. So you can be very high up without anything to keep you from falling down deep deep below..

Angkor Wat - view from top

Like this high up..

Angkor Wat

Or this..

It’s all really gorgeous. Amazing. Awesome. Jaw-dropping. I’m running of words to describe ;)

Angkor Wat - bas-relief

One of the most famous bas-relief, The Churning of the Sea of Milk, telling story about the gods and asuras (demons) pulling alternately on the body of the giant naga, which is coiled around Mount Mandara. They rotate the mountain for 1000 years to produce amrita, the elixir of immortality (I have a friend names Amrita by the way. Elixir of immortality, what a cool name!) They’re supposed to share it half and half, but of course, as demons they don’t play it fair and steal the stuff. Remember these gods and demons pulling a naga, because you’d see it again and again everywhere you go around Angkor. No idea why it got so popular among all stories.

Angkor Wat - bas-relief

Almost all the carvings depict figure of women. I think Rendy realized this first. He felt discriminated as a man LOL. I think I read somewhere that a long time ago the Kings in Cambodia had women as soldiers and warriors, and there was no (or few) men in the palace. Men were proven to be the ones who betrayed. Women were loyal. In their entire history, there was no woman betrayed the King.

Angkor Wat - back gate

This was the back gate. We walked there and there was nothing much. I bought a guide book and a bunch of postcards for $7. Here we learned that Siem Reap people had a completely different marketing technique than any other places I’ve ever visited. They would shout ‘one dollar! one dollar!’ for anything. And when you actually approach them, thinking that it’s really $1, it’s not. For my book the lady there shouted $2, and after I browsed through deciding to buy, she said “Nooo that’s not $2. This is $2 (suddenly had another much uglier book coming out from her basket).”

We got sort of annoyed after a while with people shouting $1 for the same book. So just for fun, one time we pretended to snatch the book right away when the guy shouted $1. Then he sheepishly smiled, saying “Free to look! One dollar! Free to look!” (As if he could charge us for looking *roll eyes*) Notice that the guy still said ‘one dollar’, like it’s some kind of magical word. We humored him, “Really? One dollar? We take okay! One dollar!” At the end he said, “Noo.. 1000 baht..” all the while smiling sheepishly (Baht is Thai money, sometimes they use this. 1000 baht=~$20-$30) O well, you played us we played you lor. We all were grinning all the way through. Can’t really blame people for trying to make a living =P

Angkor Wat - back

Angkor Wat from the back gate.

We tracked back to the front gate after that, but not by climbing up the main building again. We took the pathway on the side of the building. There was a separate small building for the toilet on one of the sides. The toilets were all surprisingly clean. But they were also ridiculously dark. Looked like they had light bulbs, but there was no electricity *_*. Couldn’t turn on the lights, I had to do all business in the pitch-dark. It’s really possible that the electricity had not gone in yet. Siem Reap is currently building like crazy, you could see new buildings and constructions everywhere.

Angkor Wat - side

The side of building. The toilet was behind those trees.

So that’s that for Angkor Wat. The guide book suggests several hours to spend here. We spent around 2 hours.

ps: I will try to conclude all the other temples in one post for the next one.

25 Aug 2007
1001 Books Journey
2:46 pm | 1 is hungry | Published in book |

I compiled my “1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die” list, based on the published book of that title. Doesn’t mean I’ll go around immediately eager to finish off the books in the list. Some of them are classics that I’m kinda reluctant to start (as they’re often sadly labeled as booring.. No offense, they’re still all high in value. But I just find them hard to grasp.) In any way, this list is good for books that otherwise I wouldn’t have heard of. It also re-highlights some books that I know everybody has read and I know I have to read too at some point of my life but have not. I’m sure there are lots and lots of gems here. So I’ll keep this page (and my to-read list) updated.

So far I’ve read 7-8 of them out of 1001 *grin*. I had about 10 of them on my to-read list before I found this 1001 Books list, added a few more after that. I’d probably random pick some books from the 1900s or 2000s once in a while to add to my list. The older ones scare me off easily.

How about you?

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