29 June 2017

Memorial


In the middle of the courtyard at Tuol Sleng there is a memorial to those who died here.


The marble slabs surrounding the main stupa are inscribed with the names of the victims. A simple, yet fitting way for these people to be remembered. Photos taken in December 2016.

28 June 2017

Into the darkness


The entrance into one of the torture rooms at Tuol Sleng. I opted to take a private tour of the site with a guide from the museum. These are people who lived through the Khmer Rouge regime and although they were not imprisoned here at S-21, they give personal insight into life under Pol Pot. It was very interesting and I would definitely recommend visitors to take advantage of this option.


Here's the sign I mentioned yesterday, reminding people not to smile or laugh while visiting this somber place. The sign also reminds people not to graffiti the walls, it seems strange that such a sign would be necessary (who would think to desecrate such a site?), but I guess it is. More signs can be found here. Photos taken in December 2016.

27 June 2017

S-21


Here's a look at what is now known as the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. During the rule of the Khmer Rouge, it was known as Security Prison 21 or S-21 for short. The building and grounds were originally a high school, but it was turned into one of the most infamous torture and detainment centers in 1975 when Pol Pot and his "Orgnazation" came to rule.

It is estimated around 20,000 people lost their lives here. When the prison was liberated by the Vietnamese in 1979, only three living souls were found on the grounds. Luckily, we have their personal testimonies to bear witness to the atrocities committed here.


When prisoners arrived at S-21, they were interviewed and photographed. Interrogations would continue with varied means of torture until the person confessed to whatever crime they were accused of. The accused's family would also be detained and often tortured as well. In the end, despite having confessed, these detainees and their families were murdered.  Detailed records were kept on each inmate, most of which were still intact at the time of liberation - the photos and some of the written statements are on view at the museum. Photos taken in December 2016.

26 June 2017

Down the path


Welcome to Cambodia! It's a land of beauty and wonderfully friendly and open people. However, the country does have a dark past with both French colonial rule and the Khmer Rouge regime. This beautiful path is found in the memorial gardens of Choeung Ek, the largest of the many Killing Fields found around Cambodia. We will look back at Cambodia's dark past more this week. Photo taken in December 2016.

23 June 2017

The blue hour


More beauty from the beaches of Gili Air. I hope you've enjoyed this time in Indonesia - both Bali and Gili. Next week we'll move on Cambodia.

More skies can be found at Skywatch. Photo taken in December 2016.

22 June 2017

Island living


Breakfasting right on the beach is not such a bad way to start the day! You an follow it up with a sunbath or a snorkel. Photo taken in December 2016.

21 June 2017

Respekt


Indonesia is a Muslim majority country (except Bali), so on Gili Air there were signs everywhere warning not to walk through the village in your swimsuit. I understand the message, but the wording in German is pretty funny. It's Wednesday again, you'll find more signs here. Photo taken in December 2916.

20 June 2017

Pastel hues


The sunsets were a modest, pastel affair in Gili Air. The island in the distance is Lombok. Photo taken in December 2016.

19 June 2017

Getting around in Gili


After seeing all the sights Bali had to offer, it was time for some sun and sand. We took the fast boat over to Gili Air. It's a tiny island paradise, just 1.73 square kilometers! These mule-drawn carts were a popular way to get from the boat landing to your hotel as cars and motorized vehicles are not allowed on the island.


Here's a look at one in the flesh! Most hotels also offered bicycles to their guests. In about 10 - 20 minutes, you can cover the whole island. It's Monday again and more murals can be found here. Photos taken in December 2016.

16 June 2017

Sunrise


Another highlight of my time in Bali was the pre-dawn trek up Mount Batur to see the sunrise. You climb the 1,717 meters in almost darkness, with only a flashlight to guide you. However, the beautiful scenery bathed in dawn light is certainly worth it. It's Friday and you'll find more skies at Skywatch. Photo taken in December 2016.

15 June 2017

More Balinese dance


 Balinese dance is not limited to women. The men also have an important role to play, such as this silly dragon. He was being goaded on by a naughty monkey.


These men were courtiers to the king. By royal decree - you've got to keep your smile up.


And you can't forget the musicians. The music is very special, an integral part of the spectacle. Photos taken in December 2016.

14 June 2017

Girls and Boys


I love seeing different toilet signs around the world. This pair in traditional Balinese costume were especially pleasing to my eye. More signs can be found here. Photo taken in December 2016.

13 June 2017

Traditional Balinese dance


One of the highlights to my visit in Bali was the traditional dance show. It is so fantastically expressive! 


Intricate finger movements and eye expressions are used to convey the stories behind the dances. Women train from a young age to become Legong dancers, it takes years to master the minute and precise movements. Photos taken in December 2016.

12 June 2017

Friendly faces, part four


Another of the many friendly faces to be found in Bali. This one was in Ubud. Photo taken in December 2016.

09 June 2017

Ready for harvest


A look at ripe rice. We saw people harvesting in the adjacent field - it's hard, manual labor. More reflections can be found here. Photo taken in December 2016.

08 June 2017

Temple


The temples in Bali are always so beautifully decorated. 

 
Women come in the mornings to add fresh flowers and offerings to the statues. It's a very interesting practice, apparently it helps to appease the spirits. Photos taken in December 2016.

07 June 2017

Culinary delights


Good food was not in short supply in Bali, from local specialties like vegetarian lawar to sweet dumplings to traditional mi goreng, everything was delicious! 


And of course no afternoon is complete without a little coffee boost. The Balinese have taken some tips from the Viennese by serving it on a little tray with embellishments. Photos taken in December 2016.

06 June 2017

Piece of paradise


The view from our hotel room in Ubud, Bali. The city was made famous by Elizabeth Gilbert's book, Eat, Pray, Love. It was one of my favorite stops on our tour of Southeast Asia. I'd love to go back someday. Photo taken in December 2016.

05 June 2017

Friendly faces, part three


Coffee growing is one of Bali's main industries. So naturally there are plenty of cafes all around the island serving up the delicious drink.


On this particular day, I decided to try my brew on ice. It was served with a beautiful Balinese smile, just the way I like it! Photos taken in December 2016.

02 June 2017

Rice fields


There is an abundance of beautiful rice fields in Bali.


Naturally, I took an abundance of photos of them during my recent trip there! More skies can be found at Skywatch. Photos taken in November 2016.

01 June 2017

Holy pair


As most of the population of Bali are practicing Hindus, this bovine mother and child are considered holy. Photo taken in December 2016.
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