South East Asia: Water, Transportation and Ancient Ruins

Hoi An was a trading center in the 16th and 17th centuries and the influence of the French occupation (1858-1954) is seen in the architecture of this Hotel/Restaurant. Viet Nam has survived occupations of the Chinese and the French as well as the American war. I wonder where the human thirst to expand boundaries to the point of occupation originates, is it a learned or part of our survival mechanism? The human thirst for power and possessions is very strong as illustrated by countries in Africa that were occupied by europeans and in America which is a country taken from the indians by europeans.
This 88 year old women is smiling with her mouth closed because her teeth are black... they are black from eating ten betel nuts each day for the past 68 years. They are addictive and are reported to have an influence similar to marijuana. Our guide reports upon taking the first one a person spends two days in bed. it is also said a man wants three things in a women, long hair, round face and black teeth.
A visit to Cambodia would not be complete without roaming the ruins of Angkor Wat (City Temple) and Angkor Thom (Great City). Though damaged by wars and ravaged by nature, both these ruins have been somewhat restored and are the number one tourist attraction.
Angkor Wat was built as the capital city of the Khmer Kingdom in the early 12th century and included a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu. The importance of this “City Temple” is illustrated by the image of Angkor Wat depicted on the flag of Cambodia
When the Chams invaded the Khmer empire in the late 12th century a new capital and state temple was established. In addition to the relocation of the capital, the official religion was affected. In the late 13th century Srindravarman, an ordained Buddhist monk from Sri Lanka, deposed his father-in-law as king and changed the official religion from Hindu to Buddhist.

Transportation of goods on land occurs primarily in three forms:  on a head, a pole over the shoulder or a bike/motorbike laden with almost anything. Other times a family of four squeezes on their one motorbike for transportation.  Thousands of these are in each area with constant movement.  Road side accidents are one of the major causes of death in Thailand, Viet Nam, and Cambodia.  Lack of compliance to helmet laws, poor law enforcement and badly maintained roads all contribute to this problem.

My bucket list trip to South East Asia remains deeply embedded in my memory as extraordinary.  Other images and reflections about South East Asia: Children, Buddhism and a Floating Market are available in South East Asia part two.