Flashback Friday: Temples at Angkor Wat


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*This post is a flashback to a trip we took to Cambodia several years ago. I loved this country, and I would very much like to visit again.

Ever have Indiana Jones fantasies?

Without a doubt, the main reason to come to Siem Reap is to view the breathtaking temples at Angkor Wat. Built during the Khmer Empire’s height of power between 842 and 1432 AD, the temples rise out of the jungle to demonstrate the force of this civilization in Southeast Asia. There’s nothing like that first sight of one in the distance as you approach!

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The 216 staring faces of Bayon Temple

Interestingly, when Angkor Wat was at its peak and held a population of over a million people, London only had a population of 50,000. (I’m embarrassed to admit I knew nothing about this ancient civilization of Angkor Wat until Angelina Jolie starred in Tomb Raider) On another interesting note, Angkor Wat was somewhat of a secret until the French “discovered” and revealed it to the world in 1860.

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Wall Reliefs at Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom

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Sawadee pose at Bayon Temple

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I especially love how the jungle is slowly swallowing up the temples…

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In ancient times, travel through the temple complex was done by none other than- elephants.

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Cambodia Travel Tip:  While these days you can actually visit the temples on the back of an elephant, I recommend hiring a tuk tuk driver for the day to tour you around the temples and city. We paid about $15 for ours, and he took us anywhere we wanted to go, including areas outside the temple complex. And while at one point, he seemed as though he too was going to take us home for a feast of chickens, we had a special bond with him and used his services for 3 days.

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Me, striking the Cambodian universal tuk tuk driver afternoon pose

Cambodia Travel Tip: If you plan on touring temples for several days, start with the lesser known places and gradually work your way up to the more resplendent. You’ll avoid temple fatigue that way… trust me, they start to look the same after a few hours in the blaring sun.


SPACEBAR

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Sean and I got into a fight over this place.

It happened last Friday night. Both starving, past our normal dinner time, we arrived at the Spacebar in Falls Church as the sun was setting and the place was getting rowdy.

We had seen this bar driving by a few weeks before and were attracted by the sign: GOOD BEER GRILLED CHEESE.

I guess on this particular Friday night, so many people had the same idea. It was packed. Nowhere to sit and a few layers of people standing around the bar.

There was no way we were getting in, even to lean against the bar.

So we snapped at each other and left disappointed and hungry.

It was not to be on Friday night, but on Saturday, it was!

This time, we were there right when it opened at 5:00 pm.

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This place has a lot of character. I can just imagine two high school guys hanging out years ago, having this conversation:

“Hey, you know what would be so cool?”

‘No, what?”

“Let’s open a space themed bar!”

“Awesome! We’ll serve all different kinds of beer…

“yeah, and we’ll serve grilled cheese!”

“And tator tots!”

Then a few years later, that’s what they did. Now there’s this bar.

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The menu is pretty varied. There are different kinds of bread, cheese, and fillings to choose from. I got the tomato basil with fresh mozzarella.I was going for the light summer-time feel grilled cheese.

Sean, who always orders more fun than me, got the pastrami, bacon, and cheddar. I had a few bites of his.

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The Spacebar is very laid-back. It’s the kind of place you can pop in while you’re in the neighborhood and get a drink.

You can even sit and read a paperback book there, which we saw one guy doing.

If you’re up for it, you can even play Ms. PacMan. There’s a vintage machine against the back wall.

SpaceBar is adults only. I recommend you get there early when it opens at 5:00 if you want to grab a table or seat at the bar.



Five Favorites

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 Elegant gift from a student

This week was all about winding down the semester and getting into a slower pace at work! A lovely student brought me the flowers above as an end of term gift, and I was so touched… on the last day, many students avoid eye- contact while quickly hustling out the door, so it’s always nice to get a thank you from a student.

Here are some of my favorites of the week. Does it feel like summer wherever you are?

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Homemade Cinco de Mayo brownies for coworkers. You won’t regret making these brownies from Cooks Illustrated. 

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Book club discussion about this excellent novel

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Cool morning walk around the lake without a jacket!

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I love a warm afternoon rain shower- and our irises are blooming!


The Blind Whino

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Over the weekend, Sean and I attended a Bloody Mary Festival with our friend, Betsy at the Blind Whino, a very unique arts venue.

It’s a former Baptist church built in the 1900s designated as a historic DC site for its Victorian, Gothic, and Romanesque architectural features. Developers had a vision for this space to be a non-profit venue, bringing arts to the Southwest Corridor of the city. They transformed the exterior with murals and renovated the inside to feature lots of art from locals.

This event featured a dozen versions of the classic brunch Bloody Mary presented by restaurants around DC. Some drinks were traditional, others innovative.

Some of the more interesting versions featured ingredients like bourbon, sherry vinegar, bacon, barbeque sauce, cajun spices, and pickled okra. Some even were accompanied with fun garnishes like meatballs, a mini bagel with lox and cream cheese, and to my absolute delight,a chicken and waffle on a stick!

It was great fun to have a sip of *most of the drinks (I did reach my limit pretty fast), but in the end, I confirmed (like I did during the DC Burger Bash ) that I am a food traditionalist. My personal favorite was the classic Bloody Mary from Founding Farmers in DC.

All in all, this was a really fun event to attend on a warm Sunday.

Take a peek at our afternoon…

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How do you feel about this classic brunch drink? Are you a fan?


Art on the Rocks 2015

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We were excited to get tickets to Art on the Rocks 2015 at the Torpedo Art Factory in Old Town, Alexandria.

The Torpedo Arts Factory is a really cool place. It’s a huge workspace where local artists create and display their work. Browsing arouse the industrial halls, you can find everything here from pottery to abstract paintings to sculptures.

During this event, 6 bartenders from various local restaurants showcased a cocktail and snack inspired by one of the works of art in the venue, and of course visitors can browse the art for sale (with less inhibition about buying because of the drinks probably).

We attended this event a few years ago, and it was so fun then. It was a great time this year too!

Here’s a peek at some of the evening’s highlights…

and no, even though we were tempted to buy a Kobe-Bryant-Ghengis-Khan-mongolian-basketball painting, we resisted.

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