Craig and Chanthas Engagement

Friday 30 July 2010

Regular guest and friend Craig Soden from Melbourne is marrying Chantha our ex assistant cook. This will happen later in the year. On 26th July it was their engagement.
We welcome him into the Peace Of Angkor extended family and were all at the celebration at Chanthas family home near Damdek 37kms from Siem Reap.
Khmers take weddings and engagements very seriously with a Buddhist celebration with blessing from the priest. Rings are exchanged, family and friends join in for an important celebration and breakfast afterward. A Khmer wedding photographer ad dresser prepared Craig and Chantha for the photo session where they dress in their pre wedding finery. Craig was relived to know they had clothes big enough to fit his 2 metre frame.
The event went well and it’s so greet to see the two lovely people get together.

Other things happening!

Woz  is still in UK for among other things his daughters Graduation He will be returning to Siem Reap on 8thb August

Housekeeper Salat is expecting a baby in 6 months time.

Hun has joined the team on a full time basis as Daves  Photo assistant. He has been invaluable in helping  Dave prepare images for the web site and managing a vast image collection.

Den has just stetted a computer maintenance course. Hes tech savvy so the additional skills will  be a help.

students digging

students digging

I spent Wednesday at Steung School near Roluos. looking at the latest project from the Singaporean education organization Lifeworks which Peace Of Angkor have been coordinating.

Lifeworks are an international organization which take parties of schoolchildren and high school students to Cambodia volunteering and funding development projects for schools in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap areas.

painting the slide

painting the slide

The current project involved the Students from Yuhua Secondary School in Singapore. They were  working on the construction of playground equipment and helping with the assembly of new desks for the school. You can see here the students digging sand, finishing off the desks and painting a slide and seesaw which the Lifeworks organization had made for the school.

Finishing off new desks

Finishing off new desks

This work benefits the students who live a totally different lifestyle to the children they are helping. Most of these students have never been exposed to poverty; so its a valuable experience for them. The families and friends of the students have been generous in donating clothes and toys for the children. You can see our guide Ta Elit Supervising the distribution of clothing with one of the secondary school teachers.

Ta and teacher sortinf clothing donations

Ta and teacher sorting clothing donations

Peace Of Angkor have been arranging these school projects in the Siem Reap area since 2007. The groups range in size from 20 to 40 students and teachers for between 2 and 7 days taking in a mix of Angkor visits and volunteer projects. Ta Elit and his brother Aung has been doing a lot of ground work for this project; coordinating materials and aliasing with local suppliers to ensure this project and all our previous projects run smoothly.

Completed see saw

Completed see saw

One of the most exciting things about this is the way the relatively wealthy kids from Singapore interact, play and get on with the Cambodian village kids. They may come from different worlds and backgrounds but they share the same sense of fun and enthusiasm.

The school group

All the school and Yuhua Secondary School students at final meeting

Ta Elit is passionate about helping those less fortunate than himself. Ta has been involved with the planning and coordination of these events. he has taken a lot of his personal time looking for suitable schools,organizing building materials and local craftsmen. Is is a labour of love which is rewarded in  the faces of the children  and the long term benefits and relationships with the local village communities.

Its taken a while but after 6 weeks work by Dave with the invaluable support of Woz is now on line.

The site has been totally rebuilt from the ground up with new information and photos, keeping the best of the old ones of course.  The emphasis is on information on Cambodia and  the temples in an easy-to-read form; with the best photography on Angkor you will find anywhere.

The look is very different and much simpler to navigate and use!

The original Peace of Angkor website was started  soon after Colleen and Dave arrived here at the end of May 2003 . Web design has moved along since then; so it was time for a change, as the old site was too complex to update.

By something of a coincidence it was published yesterday 28th May exactly  7 years to the Day that Coll and Dave Arrived here.  Sadly Coll is not here at present but does plan to be here later in the year.

Peace of angkor Photo web header

Peace of Angkor Photo web header

Further to the Dengue Fever photos I took on 3th May.  I had a shot of the band published in the Los Angeles times (the one of all the band on stage),on 20th May.

Return of Greg Fitzgerald

Saturday 29 May 2010

Oxcart in countryside

Greg Fitzgerald on an Oxcart in countryside

It was our pleasure last week to have Greg Fizgerald stay with us for a week. Greg and his wife have stayed with us a few time before and  are actively involved with Child trafficking support, or to be more precise preventing it. Greg was here on his own as his wife could not make it this time.  Greg tried out our Village and Countryside tour.

Here is a picture taken by Ta Elit of Greg on a Buffalo Cart!

Dengue Fever in Phnom Penh

Sunday 16 May 2010

Before you get concerned about my state of health; Dengue Fever are an American rock band who play Khmer style rock, harking back to the innovative music that came out of the country in the 1960s. The band stopped off in Cambodia in the middle of a world tour. Steve and I had the onerous 🙂 task of shooting the band for week from Monday 10th May.

The first gig at the Parkway theater included the Legendary Kung Nai the octogenarian master of the Chapai (2 stringed guitar)

Chapai master Kung Nai

Kung Nai and his 2 stringed Chapai guitar

Senon making a trunk call

I went out with the Band on Weds 12th May to Ta Kmau zoo south of Phnom Penh .  Dengue Fever are helping support the organization which conserves and rehabilitates animals that have been captured and neglected .

Dngue fFever and elephant

Dngue Fever and elephant

Animals at the park   include:  tigers, elephant apes, bears and rare birds in a 250 hectare site. It’s an interesting place which is likely to be featured in our custom southern Cambodia tours.

Dengue Fever

Dengue Fever at Wat Botum LA Times shot

The Concert at Wat Botum was attended by over 3000 people. This image was published in the Los Angeles Times 19th May 2010

Dengue Fever lead singer Nimol

Nimol of Dengue Fever at Wat Botum

Dave Perkes on action at Dengue fever gig

Dave Perkes in action at Dengue Fever gig

photo by Andy Brouwer of Dave in action

Images by  Dave Perkes 15th May 2010

Angkor National Museum Siem Reap

Thursday 6 May 2010

We get a lot of websearches and other enquiries about the Angkor National Museum in Siem Reap. I had a dig through our archives and came upon this article written by Dave Perkes, when the museum opened in 2007. It’s still relevant today and the pictures give a good insight.

As one who has more than just a casual interest in the Angkor Temples. I have been eagerly awaiting the opening of this Museum for years.  To be able to view some of the spectacular artifacts which have been hidden away in the Angkor Conservation for decades; was  very exciting. So did the reality live up to expectations?

Peace of Angkor Tours Siem Reap Cambodia National Museum image

Reflecting Pool outside

To start with; the building is impressive; with plenty of architectural references to Angkor’s past heritage.  The style is simple, unlike like many of the surrounding ornate hotels which ape Khmer Architecture.  On entry to the lobby, you get a sense of space and light with glimpses of the circular stairway and the blue pool in the courtyard beyond.

Peace of Angkor Tours Siem Reap Cambodia National Museum image

Concourse (Atrium)

The visit commences on  the upper floor, where a short promo film describes the Museum and what you are likely to see there.   The first gallery is a spectacular display of 1000 Buddha images. The Buddha’s are set within niches; the lower ones were easy to see; but the upper ones were practically invisible.  As yet there are no detailed descriptions of the artifacts. I was assured by staff that labels will be added later.

Most of the upper floor is given over to the Pre-Angkorian period with well presented text descriptions in English and Khmer.  The overviews of Hindu and Buddhist religion and Khmer Culture are concise; easy to read and understand.

Inner Pool

The lower floor covers the golden age of The Angkor Empire; centered on Angkor Wat. Some of examples of the finely carved Nagas and Lintels are spectacular  with descriptions of where they came from. The cutaway model of Angkor Wat illustrates the construction and  is well detailed, even down to the bas relief’s on the outer galleries. The Foundation Steles with their Sanskrit inscriptions were of particular interest and the  Ancient Costume Hall with the Apsaras was another highlight.

Peace of Angkor Tours Siem Reap Cambodia National Museum image

Bayon style heads in Upper Lobby

I am usually terminally bored by statues in museums; preferring to see these in their locations.  I spent nearly a half a day ther in my last visit in October 2008.The museum have selected a well balanced range of artifacts; selecting some spectacular pieces and giving plenty of space. I quite like this approach as it is not overwhelming or cluttered like many similar museums.

The multi-media presentations on LCD video screens and multiple projectors are professionally  done; are of a sensible length and like the text; not over wordy. The Designers have thought very carefully about the intended audience; which are probably those who have a general interest and want an overview of Angkor before a visit to the Temples.  Academics would want more information.

Coffee shop

The Cultural Mall is  open ; but  the  Arts and craft or clothes shops  have nothing you  cannot  get elsewhere cheaper most likely . There is a Coffee Shop on the first floor which serves decent coffee and snacks and the inevitable gift shop which you pass through on the way out.

Peace of Angkor Tours Siem Reap Cambodia National Museum image

Sophisticated (if expensive) Gift Shop

Overall, the Angkor National Museum provides a good introduction to Angkor; has some spectacular exhibits. The pricing at $!2  is far too  high compared to what you would pay in neighbouring countries.

A tour company with a difference!

Tuesday 27 April 2010

Well – many differences actually! But I’d just like to share the news about our new tour office here in Siem Reap.

Peace of Angkor Cafe Bar Siem Reap Cambodia

Travellers in Siem Reap enjoying refreshments and swapping tales!

Not only is it the admin hub for tour planning and operations, our forward-thinking owner Dave Perkes has created what must be Cambodia’s first travel office combined with a cafe bar!

Now travellers can just call in, find out about information on travelling in Cambodia, photography or maybe even book on one of our tours!

Here’s what the ‘Canby Publications’ Siem Reap Angkor Visitors Guide’ has to say:

Created by travellers for travellers, Peace of Angkor café bar is a cool and airy meeting place, where you can research, plan and select places to visit, while enjoying a hot or cold drink or a snack.

The café bar also has local and national tour and destination advice for solo travellers, couples or groups. The owner is a renowned location photographer, who is always ready for an exchange of ideas or discussion on any aspect of photography.

Open from 9am to 10pm every day, it’s an excellent venue – the photo gallery alone is well worth the visit. Situated on Street 20, off Wat Bo Road , next to the New Apsara Supermarket.

So, while you’re in Siem Reap – please call in and see us!

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