Posted by Paul Groves on March 15, 2017

Tall Panorama in Cambodia

Day 64 of 111. Siam Reap, Cambodia

During Ron’s excursion to see Angkor Wat, they took a picture in front of a silk cotton tree at Angkor Thom. We think this tree appeared in the movie, Laura Croft, Tomb Raider. The tree itself is not very useful. The cotton is too light to be used for fabric and the wood of the tree is light and airy and not useful as a structural material or firewood. What it IS good for is to hold the ruins of the temple together. Without this tree, the temple would have fallen apart.

Posted by Paul Groves on March 15, 2017

Sea Day (Paul) or Angkor Wat (Ron)

Day 63 of 111. Sea Day for Paul en route to Singapore.

While Ron is traveling in Cambodia, Paul had a hands-on cooking class with Hong Kong chef, Jowett Yu. He has an Asian Fusion restaurant in Hong Kong, but his culinary background includes French techniques in culinary school, cooking in Australia, and home cooking with his family. The starter dish was Wagu Beef Tartare. Wagu beef is special because the cows are fed chocolate for the last four months to fatten up the cows and make the beef darker and richer. The main course was delicious steamed barramundi. My team worked on dessert. A Kit Kat brownie (green tea flavored Kit Kat) topped with caramel, green tea ice cream, popcorn and marshmallows. Everything except the marshmallows were from scratch. Delicious.

Ron was in Cambodia. They had a tour of the Beng Mealea Temple. After lunch, they drove to Angkor Wat where they were blessed by a monk. These pictures are all from Angkor Wat. The temple complex is a major tourist attraction, but also an active Hindu temple. Vishnu is shown above. The bottom pictures are a “small” temple that was only discovered in the past few years. Angkor Wat has been the movie background for famous movies such as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom as well as Laura Croft: Tomb Raider.

Posted by Paul Groves on March 15, 2017

Visiting Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)

Day 62 of 111. Phu My, Vietnam

Ron left the ship for a three-day overland excursion to visit Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The first day, however, was spent in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Ron visited the Independence Hall (formerly the Presidential Palace). The tanks were the first to enter its grounds in April 1975 effectively ending the Vietnamese War. Tank 843 is a Russian tank; Tank 390 is Chinese. There was also a visit to the History Museum.

Posted by Paul Groves on March 7, 2017

Nha Trang, Vietnam

Day 61 of 111. Nha Trang, Vietnam

Nha Trang is a town with many beautiful beaches. We saw visitors from everywhere in their beach attire heading to the sun and water. We first visited an embroidery shop. On many of these excursions, we get dropped off at a jade factory or jewelry mart, but the embroidery in this shop was exquisite. We saw embroidered pictures in China as well. This shop has ladies working on pieces and you are given a quick introduction to the craft. People were picking up nice smaller pictures for between $100-$150. Of course Ron’s favorite picture cost over $1800!

Next, we went to the Long Son Pagoda, a Buddhist temple with mosaic dragons decorating the entry and roof. Ron climbed the 152 steps to visit the huge white Buddah sitting in a lotus flower. I stayed below and poked around the temple (take your shoes off) and saw the beautiful statues. In 1963, two Buddhist monks set themselves on fire to protest the Vietnam War. There are shrines to them as well as information about them on the bottom of the white Buddah.

The third stop was the Po Nagar Cham Towers. The ancient Cham people built these towers between the 7th and 12th centuries. This is a Hindu temple. Ron saw some dancers behind the towers.

Our last stop was very exciting for me, the Dam Market which is a giant two-story market complex that can accommodate 6,000 shoppers. We wandered through the small stalls and bought a couple of t-shirts, a belt, and a thumb drive. We

Posted by Paul Groves on March 5, 2017

More Than Halfway

Day 60 of 111. En route to Nha Trang, Vietnam

We have passed the halfway mark on this trip. This is the second of two Sea Days and I’ve completed another watercolor project, a Chinese Junk, I believe. Ron is gearing up for another overland trip to visit Angkor Wat in Cambodia. He is very excited, but we haven’t quite recovered from our four day trip around China. We are moving closer to the equator and the weather has changed from cold and snow to hot and humid. We get to break out the Hawaiian shirts again!