Monday, August 11, 2014

Royal Palace and leaving Cambodia

Our last day in Cambodia was spent at the Royal Palace. We had only the morning, so ate breakfast and went early to the palace. We had to be somewhat covered to get onto the grounds, even though we only went in a building or two. Many of the other visitors apparently weren't told about the dress code, and got to wear really ugly teal/mint scrubs (basically they were scrubs, and not cute).

A woman asked us to take a picture for her in front of this same building, and went so far as to hold the camera in the right place, with the right framing of the building, and then making sure Hannah was holding it in exactly the right place before she ran back to pose. She was very particular and Hannah had to take a few pictures to make sure she got the right one. When we asked for her to take a picture, she cared so little that I'm surprised she even looked at the camera. Later, we ended up wanting a picture of us with another building (below) and she was the only person around. Again, she set the picture up, and then shuffled to go pose. When we asked for her to take ours, she just kept repeating "hurry, hurry, hurry!" and let me tell you, we were apparently a burden to her that day. But, we got the pictures.

We didn't pay for the tour, but we overheard from someone else's tour that this building was built so that one of the kings could get onto his elephant. I would like such a building.

No one was near this building, and we wanted a better look. Following the sidewalk, we walked right past a man who we assumed was a guard, and got really close to the building (the turquoise parts around windows and doors - super detailed and amazing) until we heard a man yelling "HELLO!? HELLO!?"

For the record, I chose not to turn around and say hi back, and instead just turned around to see what he had to say. He was yelling at us, as apparently we weren't supposed to be anywhere near that building. It would have been a lot more efficient if he had told us that while we were walking past him toward the building. I guess things happen differently in Cambodia.

That's a lizard hanging out on a geometric bush.

On the right: the picture that the woman took while yelling "Hurry!" You can tell that she took a lot of time to make sure it was straight.

The Silver Pagoda. We got to go inside, but we weren't allowed to take pictures. Unfortunately everything inside was made of gold, so that makes a lot of sense when you're at the Silver Pagoda.

This was painted, and probably old, so think about that.

This is a very metaphoric picture. This is a flower floating on water with a bee inside of it and I walked so close to the flower (despite the presence of the bee) to take a picture and mostly to overcome my fears of bees. Please keep in mind that I had survived a bee sting only the say before.

This reminded me a lot of Cinderella, I'm not sure why.

Something that you should know is that identifying different types of travelers has become one of my favorite activities. We found a man in very impressive walking shoes, with a hat and a fanny pack, who was kneeling with a camera to get a picture of an entire building at an angle, so we figured he might know something about using a camera and he would be a good contender for someone to take our picture.

Here's the first one, which he did well.

And then here's the second picture he took. At least it was in focus, but I'm basically not even featured and the Silver Pagoda isn't actually shown that much.

(Could be my fault, as I've found that I would assume people know how to use a camera and then hand them mine, but more often than not the pictures were out of focus or too zoomed in or I had to remind people that once upon a time, you had to look through a hole in a camera to take a picture. They're all confused by that, the lack of the real-time picture on the back of the camera. Sigh.)

This was the temple the many with the fanny pack was looking at when we first spotted him. He was a tour guide, who came to Cambodia many times a year, and told us that this temple was being built for the last king who died. He was really enthusiastic about this building, so at least we learned something.

A model of the grounds.

This was the last picture that I took at our hotel, I took it as we were checking out. The flowers everywhere were beautiful, and like nothing I ever get to see at home.

From our flight home: two pictures. The first is some rain over Cambodia. It's one thing to see the rain coming from the clouds when you're on the ground, but another to see it from the air. On the right is almost landing in Singapore, with the sun shining. 

I'll say what I've said to everyone who asked about my trip to Cambodia. I am so, so, so happy that we went and had that adventure, because I can't think of anything that is as different from where I grew up and live, and the United States in general. I am immensely proud of Hannah and I for deciding to go, even though when she asked me if I wanted to go to Phnom Penh, I hadn't even heard of it. It wasn't as scary or weird as I thought it would be, and the people and places that we met and saw were some of the nicest and most beautiful things I've ever seen. While it wasn't on my bucket list (or even my Asia bucket list), I would certainly go back, in fact I want to, and now Siem Riep is on my bucket list. As for a weekend, ours in Cambodia was a pretty amazing one.

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