Adventures living as expats.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Hoi Ann with Tav and Jenny

After months of trip anticipation, our Hoi Ann trip with Tav and Jenny finally arrived!   The journey exceeded all expectations and everyone had a great time strolling through the lantern lit streets, savoring the amazing food, exploring temples, and having custom clothes made at the tailor.   In the evenings the streets are closed to motorbikes making the downtown area really pleasant and relaxing to wander around in.

A few friends highly recommended we take advantage of the tailor shops in Hoi Ann and get some clothes made.  
Lookin good at the tailor
We had quite a few amazingly delicious meals during our stay, including a banh mi that was so good it cracked Jeff tooth.  It made for endless hilarious jokes throughout the trip.  Luckily we already had a dentist appointment scheduled for 3 days later and he was able to get it fixed up quickly. 
Lookin really good after the banh mi!
We made our way to My Son temple, a partially ruined Hindu temple complex made from red bricks.

My Son Temple 
Searching the jungle for a missing temple
The trip finale was cooking class where we learned to make pho bo, fresh spring rolls, Vietnamese pancakes, and chicken with lemongrass.  Our favorite was the pho of course and we’ve already replicated it at home several times.  Unfortunately our 3 days in Hoi Ann flew by way to quickly, but it was an amazing trip and awesome to experience with friends. 
Making Vietnamese pancakes
Very serious students

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Angkor Wat

Whew it seems like it’s been so long since I’ve updated the blog.  After a year and a half in Jakarta our lives have settled into a routine and we've become mostly accustomed the sights and smells of the big durian.  Cheap massages are a weekly occurrence and we hardly blink an eye when we see 5 people jammed on a motorbike.   A few weeks ago we met up with Tav and Jenny in Hoi Ann, Vietnam.  On our way there we stopped for a visit in Cambodia to see the largest religious complex in the world - Angkor Wat.  Its been very high on our travel list since we moved to Asia, so we were unbelievably excited to finally make it happen.  We were only there for a quick 2 days, but we managed to tour most of the big temple complexes in the area.  

Our first morning we woke up at 4 AM to get a good spot for the sunrise over Angkor Wat temple.  We fought through the Chinese tourist groups and were awestruck as the temple slowly lit up with a beautiful orange and pink sunrise.

Next we walked through the temple and viewed the stunning and intricate carvings and even climbed to the top of the main structure.

It's hard to fathom how much work went into these carvings
Angkor Wat from the outside
This area was completely collapsed when the temple was rediscovered.
After Angkor Wat and a quick breakfast, we walked through a few small temples on the way to the Bayon Temple.  Jeff climbed up this one while I cheered him on safely from the bottom.  Just looking at the picture he took at the top give me vertigo so I’m glad I stayed firmly on the ground.

Bayon is also nicknames the “faces temple” since it has over 200 faces carved throughout.  

Next we walked to Baphuon Temple as the heat started the really ramp up.  At the back of the temple is large reclining buddha.  Can you spot it?

After a lunch nearby we threw in the towel for the first day of temple viewing and opted to cool off at the pool.   Jakarta is pretty warm, but Angkor Wat was scorching and we definitely started feeling woozy from the heat and humidity.  

The next morning we made our way to the Ta Prom or the "jungle temple" where part of Tomb Raider was shot.  Before being rediscovered, all of the temples around Angkor Wat were taken over by the jungle.  Instead of completely restoring the temple, the trees were left to grow through Ta Prom giving you a good idea of how the other temples looked when they were discovered.

Our final temple stop for the day was Banteay Srei or the "pink temple".  This was the smallest temple we saw, but it was extremely intricate and my favorite of the trip.  Instead of sandstone like most of the temples in this area, Banteay Srei was made out of red brick giving it a beautiful pink color.  

Our stay in Cambodia was short and sweet, but exceeded all expectations.  Next on our list is to visit the temples in Myanmar, hopefully someday soon!