Tag Archives: temple

Siem Reap, Cambodia ⎮ A Day at the Temples…

Okay, to start off this blog, Dad made me do it! Alright, maybe I was happy to get assigned to do an educational blog. This was a pretty awesome day to begin with, and I really enjoyed all the temple viewing. It is quite tiring though!

We visited multiple small temples and saved the largest, Angkor Wat, for last.(which Sebastian will be educating you on) But before I start my portion, here is a little fun fact that was in my World History class.


Fun Fact!

Did you now it took over 600 years to build Angkor Wat? It is also the largest Hindu temple in the world! Pretty cool!


Before telling you all about the temples we visited, let me provide you some knowledge on Hinduism. It is okay, you can trust me. I just learned about this in World History.

Hinduism is a religion originated in India. To be specific, with the Aryan peoples in the Indus Valley. It is the largest religion in India and considered 3rd largest in the world. Today, about 80% of Indians are Hindu. One of the projects I did for my World History class involved the caste system. This is one of the beliefs in Hinduism. It is a social structure used to organize society. The Hindus worship many gods. There is one main god, Brahma, but Hindus worship millions of other gods separately including Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Ganesh. You may have heard of these gods before. A major belief that the Hindus have is reincarnation. This is the belief that a person is reborn after their death. They also believe in karma which is if a person does good deeds, they will be awarded in the next life. Maybe by being in a higher class in the caste system. Karma also relates to a person doing bad deeds being punished in the next life. Possibly by being in a lower class in the caste system or even a slug!

Now that you have some background knowledge on Hinduism, let me tell you about the temples of Siem Reap.

The first we visited is a city named Angkor Thom. It actually has multiple temples in it such as the main one, Bayon temple. It took 40 years to construct the city and there is a moat surrounding it. There are five gates that allow you to enter or leave, each having both gods and a demons. To the left are the gods and the right has the demons. They are lined up and you will notice that they hold something; well, that something is a snake. Yep, that’s right! Not a real one of course. Anyways, the gods hold the tail and the demonds hold the head. And to think that we have not even entered the city yet! But even from the outside, you can see that there are 49 tall towers in the city. This was easy to remember because all I have to think about are the San Francisco 49ers! Each tower has four faces that were built for the king way back when (12th century) and the four faces on the tower represent mercy, compassion, sympathy, and impersonality. Inside each tower, there are statues of the Lingha and Juni. The Lingha is represented as the male and Juni is female. The Hindu people offer the Lingha and Juni water and flowers and Buddhist people burn incense instead. Today there is only one statue of Lingha and Juni still standing of the 49 towers.

・・・・・・・・・・The Legend of Phimenakas ・・・・・・・・・・

Another temple we visited inside Angkor Tham is Phimenakas. The cool thing about this one is the awesome myth behind it! Let me begin…

There was a king and he wanted to know what was on top of the temple.  No one had ever gone up before so no one ever knew. The reason being that if you did, according to legend, then you would die. But the king was tempted and he set off to climb the temple. At the top, he found a beautiful woman and he made a promise that he would climb up there every day to see her. Lucky him, right? Not! If he failed to do that, he would die. One night, the king climbed up hoping to kill the woman and free himself from this daily burden. But just as he slashed his sword into her, she turned into a snake. The woman was a serpent the whole time! The king was given a disease from the serpent’s bite and soon died. Sorry to let you down friends 🙁


 Another cool place we visited in Angkor Thom was the elephant fields. It’s a very large grassy, dirt area where they used to have races, on elephants. Just imagine how fun that would be! You could have your own personal elephant and climb up and race on him any day! Now I don’t know how fast they’d go but my brother, Sebastian, says that they could run as fast as 25 mph! There is a huge viewing area with really cool sculptures of animals that the royalty and friends would sit on to watch the races. Now they use the field to set up VIP private parties for sunset dinners and no, we were not VIPs!


Fun Fact!

Did you know that Hindu and Buddhist dancers use twisting hand motions to tell stories? 

I learned some moves – pinch your two fingers together, (index and thumb) and point them down towards the ground. Curl it back up so it is pointing to the ceiling or sky now. This means stem and growing. Get it? The plant is a stem to start with and your fingers pinched towards the ground. When you twist and curl them back up, it is growing just as a plant grows. Then, open up your two fingers still pointing up. This means flowering and fruit. I thought it was really cool how people can tell stories just by making hand motions!


Phew! Just writing all this makes me sleepy…just think about how it really was! I hope you got something out of this and most of all enjoyed it! 🙂



The 180º panorama view of Angkor Thom


Family photo with Angkor Thom


A relaxing lunch on the hammocks…

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GastrOnn Delights in Penang

I thought about naming this Fun, Fitness & Food in Penang but really, none of that occurred without our dear friend, Onn who brought us into his family, friends, and some amazing experiences with food, fitness, and fun!


Old souls give thumbs up to life!

Branson Buds!







Onn & I are high school friends that stayed in touch over the past 30 years mostly via fb but occasionally in person when our paths crossed. I’ve seen him as a newlywed, a father, and a friend; on every facet, he is nothing short of a classic gentleman while also being a kid that loves to have fun! So enjoy this blog ride…

One of the blessings of travel is food. A mere 25 years ago, I recall eating the spiciest pepper EVER at a Penang hawker food stand with my good friends, Eustace, Randall, and Onn’s father. No surprise that my return is just as spicy and memorable only this time we had an expanded familial experience.

group gtown

Georgetown Wines


The photo above is one of our big nights with our families bonding at Mee Lyn’s restaurant wine bar in Georgetown. We enjoyed a feast this night of steak, bruschetta, and of course churros – the best I’ve ever had! More important are the people in the photo: behind Leticia is Onn, his wife, Mee Lyn, and his father who hosted me 25 years earlier. Onn’s mom is next to Louisa and myself and she can do ropes (more to come in fitness) like you won’t believe! Behind us is Wilson and his wife – he’s a jazz musician that adheres to the classics when he’s not sharing his knowledge of wine. An entertaining night was enjoyed by all.

Before we connected with Onn, we trooped around the historic area of Penang which is pretty cool. Onn’s father eloquently described it as, “The only place where you have a church, a temple, and a mosque all on the same street.” He is absolutely correct and they are not far apart; what’s most impressive is the fact that “these places of worship have never once in all of their history fought nor attacked each other.” And Onn’s father could not have explained it any better – Penang is a diverse and peaceful place. If only the rest of the world understood!


Red & Black – Georgia colors! At Onn’s garage

A hawker market is an open area with food stands; think of it as a mini food trucks area with anywhere from 10-25 or more trucks. They started in the 1950s so if you thought the food truck thing is new, then you’re a bit behind. Regardless, you should feel jealous because they are awesome.

Before we met Onn, we went on a hawker search and failed – it was closed! But that didn’t stop us because our mistake discovered Passion of Kerala where we feasted on southern Indian food with our right hands (ok, just me). Then life changed when we connected with Onn. It really started to blur over time, especially with the hawker food, but I’ll give you my best recollection of the dining smorgasbord.

Zealand’s was the sight of our first feast with full family eating around a fast moving round table. To me, it was a reunion seeing Onn, his parents, Mee Lyn, and Wilson – all of whom I had not seen for years. I can only recall some delicious noodles, fish, stews and fried chicken that was extra crispy with Asian spices as I wobbled out! Another highlight evening was what I call the VIP dinner at Green Ocean which included stuffed crab (see photo) and great friends.


Zealand’s Family Lunch


Stuffed Crab







The entertainer of the night was none other than Onn who broke a chopstick in half…with a paper napkin!

Chopping chopsticks!

Chopping chopsticks!

Mee Lyn’s Georgetown Wines restaurant was the home base for the week. We met friends, family, and many glasses of wine with great food.









Did I mention hawker markets? One morning I hopped on the scooter with Onn to buy breakfast for everyone. The entire trip took 20 minutes and included 6 different food stallsfor noodles, dessert cakes, fruits, and Chinese snacks as well as a speedy ride to the market and back. Whirlwind! The kids love eating sweets in the morning!









Another night we ate out with Onn and friends at another hawker area that really gave us the feel for the eating culture of Penang which is that you get to eat whatever you want quickly! Leti and the kids love pork buns so they got them; I ate shrimp curry noodle. And for dessert, Sebastian and I enjoyed flavored ice with strawberry ice cream on top; you mix it all together with beans and other ingredients at the bottom of the bowl to give it a delicious taste. Are you starting to get the picture? Yes, overwhelming in a gastronomically awesome way!

To work off all that eating, we trained with Onn and learned some awesome workouts. The two highlights are definitely the ropes that I mentioned earlier. Basically, you take a 50-60 feet rope 1-2 inch diameter and use it to workout; sounds easy peasy??? NOT!!! I guarantee in one minute that you will feel the burn! The second learning point was Onn showing the kids how to defend themselves; the only downside was that I was the dummy bad guy that he used as a target!

We also did what many tourists do including the cable car up Penang Hill, Butterfly Farm which is the best in the world, Snake temple, Spice garden, 3D Museum, Peranakan museum, and of course Onn’s family temple to name a few.


3D Capture!


Me & My snakes




Photo Bombed at Penang Hill


Olympic Gymnast Leti! At Escape, Penang




Ziplining Crew


15 years strong! At Penang Hill


29 years Strong!


George Town, Penang

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And then there was Escape: pronounced like Dory: ehs-cap-ehhh but I’ll let Sebastian share that story for you. Yes, Penang is a truly diverse place for religion, food, and experiences – I will be back only this time it will be less than 25 years from now!


Climbing competitors unite!

Sorry but carried away with the photos this time around…hope you enjoy a few more to end:

Ladies Night

Guys Night or maybe this should be Ladies Night or Cool babes with Dork Night…


Family Night @ Georgetown Wines


Team Es-caw-peyyyyy!

save us

Da Boyz