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Photo albums el2995

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A Glimpse of Angkor and Siem Reap, Cambodia
Start slide show: A Glimpse of Angkor and Siem Reap, Cambodia The Angkor / Siem Reap area is perhaps the top tourist destination in Cambodia. It goes without saying that the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat Temple is the first thing (after the horrible genocide and atrocities carried out by the Khmer Rouge, of course) that comes to the mind of the traveler when Cambodia is mentioned, and Ta Prohm Temple (part of the Angkor Thom temple complex) is likely the second thing that comes to mind given the popularity of the movie ‘Tomb Raider’. With its nearby historic temples, opportunities for outdoor adventures and activities, numerous venues for exploring the richness of the country’s exotic culture and cuisine, and an ever-evolving nightlife, Siem Reap has something to offer for everyone. The following are photos that I took during a 4-day visit in 2009; my video ‘Angkor and Siem Reap, Cambodia – 2009’ can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/user/el2995 . Enjoy!

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The Bac Ha Sunday Market, Northwestern Vietnam   Winner of the photo album contest of the month Dec 2012
Start slide show: The Bac Ha Sunday Market, Northwestern Vietnam album of the month contest The Bac Ha Sunday market is a 'must-see' if one is visiting the Sapa area of northwestern Vietnam, not only for the fascinating live animal section of the market, but also the large number of local Flower Hmongs (H'mongs) that visit the market on that day. They are perhaps the most colorful of the various hill tribes that inhabit northwestern Vietnam. Combining them with perhaps the most interesting market I've encountered yet during my travels around Southeast Asia to date made for a very memorable experience with a wealth of incredible photo opportunities to boot. Video clips that I took at the market can be seen on my Youtube 'EL2995' page, with Part I covering the live animal section and Part II covering the rest of the market. Enjoy!

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The Central Markets of Mandalay & Sagaing (Burma)
Start slide show: The Central Markets of Mandalay & Sagaing (Burma) It has been said that the best way to get to know a country’s people and culture in to visit the local central markets. In my travels, when visiting a new city or town I make it a point to visit the central market in the earlier morning hours to hopefully catch it at its busiest. I enjoy taking in the unique sights, sounds and smells of a new destination and/or culture, watching the interactions between the local vendors and customers, and recording in photos and video clips the images and sounds that seem to best capture the essence and the mood of the location as I experience it. The following photos were taken in Mandalay and Sagaing, Burma in November 2006. Enjoy!

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Pagan, Burma
Start slide show: Pagan, Burma My fondest memories of Burma are of my time spent in Pagan. Memories of viewing myriad red brick, white and gilded temples and pagodas out across the arid plains from the seat of an old horse carriage with the rhythmic clop of hooves on the thin veneer of weathered tarmac the only sound to break the early morning calm; of the sweet smell of smoke that rises as illuminated white curls from the cheroot lightly held in the wrinkled fingers of the old woman as she sits with a contented smile on her bamboo straw mat and enjoys the warmth of the morning sun on her back; of watching a young village girl with her cheeks adorned with yellow streaks of thanaka powder skillfully etch intricate traditional designs into a handmade lacquer bowl placed in her lap; the sights and sounds of the open marketplace with its wandering vendors; the gritty coolness of brick tiles on bare feet while walking the halls of an ancient temple; the pleasurable excursion to Mount Popa and the experiences in the small villages en route; the cool breeze on my face and the hiss of the parting waters below as I watch the setting sun turn the sky and the surface of the Irrawaddi River a brilliant red-orange from the deck of an old riverboat. Pagan is truly a magical place.

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Burma's Inle Lake
Start slide show: Burma's Inle Lake Situated 2600 feet above sea level on a plateau in Burma's Western Shan State, Inle Lake is one of the country's main tourist destinations. The large and quite shallow lake's most well-known attraction is its leg-rowing fishermen, who stand balanced on one foot at the forward tip of their slender boats while they paddle with the other leg and search the surface of the lake for signs fish, which they then capture with nets suspended from conical bamboo traps that are thrust into the shallow water. The lake is also known for its Inthu people, who live in stilted houses over the water and farm the lake by planting crops on floating islands of vegetation and composted soil which are staked to the lake bottom and can be transported as required. Touring of the lake is done by motored longboats, with the itinerary comprised of visits to the lake's various industries (hand-woven silk, Shan hand bags, hand-made cheroot cigars, blacksmithing, and silversmithing). Another draw to the lake is the floating vendors that sell a variety of handicrafts in addition to foodstuffs.

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Faces of Burma
Start slide show: Faces of Burma One of the true pleasures of traveling in Burma is the interaction with the Burmese themselves. The Burmese are a very warm and engaging people who will often go out of their way to make a foreign tourist feel like a welcomed and honored guest. I was amazed at the number of times that I was invited into private homes, which at times were nothing more than simple thatched huts, and offered tea and traditional snacks. Sometimes, a chance encounter on a city street or a village path would turn into an insightful cultural exchange that became the highlight of the day.

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The Shwedagon Pagoda   Winner of the photo album contest of the month Apr 2003
Start slide show: The Shwedagon Pagoda album of the month contest Rangoon's Shwedagon Pagoda is a 'must see' for travelers to Burma. The golden pagoda, which is encrusted with a wealth of precious gems at the top of its spire (which is referred to as the "hti" or umbrella), contains 7 hairs of the Buddha, and is surrounded by 64 smaller pagodas and a variety of temples, shrines and several huge bronze bells weighing several tons housed in ornate pavilions. The pagoda is best visited at sunset, when the locals come to pray, make offerings, and enjoy a relaxing stroll on a balmy evening amid the glow of flickering candles, the shimmering chimes of countless small brass bells that adorn the pagodas and temples mixed with the melodic chants of monks and nuns, and the sweet perfume of incense and flowers placed at the base of the numerous shrines.

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