Beijing, China

I went to Beijing for 3 days with my friend Tafie as I felt I had to see the city before I left China. Flights were quite expensive so we took a train from Shanghai. It was an overnight train and took over 10 hours to get to Beijing, but it was a comfortable journey because we booked a sleeper train and it was leaving at night so it didn’t mess with our sleeping pattern. Even though we booked tickets together the seats were issued in different compartments which was rather strange as many had an issue with the way their families and friends were divided up. Fortunately, we managed to arrange it so we got in a room in the end. It was comfortable even though it was strange sleeping in such a tight spot with others and many people brought lots of bags so exiting for the bathroom was a night mare. it was also very warm.

Then we went over to our hostel Leo Courtyard Hostel. The place was abit run down and shabby and abit damp but considering how wet it was it was understandable. We had an average private two bedroom. It was a close distance to Tianmen Square and easy to walk to the Forbidden City and other destinations. It was down a street with many late night eats and shops and had a lot of character. On our first day we decided to see the Forbidden City. We were told you could spend a whole day exploring the area but in all honesty, one hour was enough.

It was so hectic with hundred of different Chinese tourists gathering around the walls. We were told that many Chinese people never get to see their capital city, and treasure the opportunity to do so. Once in a lifetime, the government offers the chinese people a chance to go to the city for free via tours to see it. Many of these groups are these types of tours.

I respected how beautiful it was and the history behind it but I think I went there to say I had been there. It was very busy and not relaxing, so we looked around before parting for some fresh pineapple from a stall outside (we became addicted to purchasing stall fresh fruit throughout our trip). It was so hot and walking tired us out quite abit.

During the evening we went to the Famous Night Food Market where we snacked on array of foods. There were an array of Chinese and korean treats as well as some creepy ones such as Dog, Insects and Starfish.

On the next morning we went on a trip to the Great Wall booked through our hostel. I admit, I have never been fascinated with the wall, preferring to invest my time food, drink and seeing local districts but my friend wanted to go and I felt I had to see it before I left China.

We drove for at least an hour to a very tranquil part of the wall. Most people visit a very hectic part that has been rebuilt for tourism so does not retain its original paving. We were able to see the Great Wall very differently. The path was not easy to walk on as much of it was broken but that added to it’s charm. Our photos were free from people, the only sound being the wasps hovering near the wall. We were supposed to do a ridiculously long trek (I think at least 6k) up the wall but I have to admit I didn’t walk it. The height tests your fears, especially with the steepness and the unsteady broken path, I found myself scared to go further as I could imagine my self rolling down. The height was overwhelming and so I was one of only 3 people who didn’t do the trek. I heard the view was amazing but I was content with the view I had from my little journey. Nonetheless, I stole photos from my friend who did do the trek:) If there’s one thing I learnt it was how unfit I was, I do not know how she managed the whole walk as I was suffering 5 minutes into it. I perched myself at the beginning, tanning upon the wall, watching the clouds…

Yup.. this is photo of how much I walked. My excuse was I was pretty hungover.

Photos courtesy of my friend who managed to do the trek

We also tried to see the Beijing Urban Neighbourhoods Called Hutong’s. These are narrow streets where the locals live, known for their very distinct living cultures. Many can be found near and behind the Forbidden City but unfortunately we didn’t get photos. Many of the locals were unfriendly when we attempted to look around, as these areas are very private. Many neighbourhoods are hid behind doors, and what looks like one house is actually a variety of different households with a shared garden and courtyard. When walking in the alleys, locals were very hostile disapproving and even forbidding photography. Nonetheless, we looked around and got the general feel of the culture there. It was very communal with the community gathering in places, older women seated outside their doors, play cards…

My favourite district in Beijing was the Art District 798 Art Zone was a flourishing modern art neighbourhood with an array of galleries, eclectic boutique stores and cafes. It was beautiful day and I could have spent alot more time sitting outside with my coffee enjoying the environment. It was quirky, which a very young and trendy generation. It was hard to find, and the journey by taxi from Tianmen Square seemed to take forever. The sheer size of the city was not comprehended until we went to the art district which was as far as 45 minutes drive.

When walking around the Art district we found that artwork was placed in the most random of places. At first you do not even notice it, and then you see things on top of buildings. It was great fun to walk around and I recommend it on any trip to Beijing, especially if the weather is nice.

Taste of London Food Festival: A Foodie Heaven

Location: Regent’s Park, London 12-4pm 23.06.2012

When I think of Taste of London I think Benares Food, Caramel Rum Cocktails, White Marquee’s, Shaking hands with the celebrities of food and the cleanest portaloo’ in history.

Me and my boyfriend have always been foodies, investing free time in testing new recipes, trying new restaurants, and walking through specialised food stores in search of something new. As soon as I saw the Taste of London Festival advertised I knew it was meant to be. To think that we had the opportunity to watch live demonstrations of Britain’s best chef’s and get an opportunity to meet the men that we watch everyday? When we aren’t eating we are watching cookery shows, so this was the perfect event.
CIMG2778
CIMG2786

The Diversity of Cuisine in England

For people who do not live in England there is a very judgemental view of British Cuisine. When travelling I found many were very ignorant of the food culture in our country thinking that we were linked to the junk food, fast food tradition of always eating out, cooking greasy foods and living on chips. Now I like chips like the next person and I am not going to deny that it has a place in my diet but the eating habits are far more complex that people may think. Food cultures also tend different according to class and geography. Much like the French with their fresh meats and cheeses, many of the country and coastal regions of England host an array of fresh produce. People who live in rural areas of British countryside rarely dine on just fish and chips in fact game like pheasant and quail is popular and fresh vegetables are used substantially. We do tend to have classical, earthy dishes using natural flavourings within meat like the good old roast and hearty pies.

Of course, this is just the traditional British Food. People in England have taken alot of dishes from other cultures and I would say I personally eat very little of these dishes. I eat chinese, indian, italian and thai food and not the takeaway kind. I enjoy cooking these from fresh and when eating out I go to authentic restaurants. Even if we indulge in ‘eating out’ it can hardly be connected with mere fast food culture. British are becoming more health conscious and there are alot of people who eat out in establishments that serve good quality food. The misunderstood eating habits are namely due to foreign peoples connection with UK and USA. The idea that we speak the same language and therefore have the same diets is ludicrous. Unlike USA, our position in Europe and closeness to many European countries, and our ease of being able to travel to these places has given us the opportunity to learn and experience different cooking techniques. Places like London are such a melting pot that it is a food heaven and as of late many people are starting to recognise the culinary beauties of the city. = Anyway this may have ran on a tangent, how patriotic am I on British food. Lets move on..

Back to the Festival…

Taste of London is the perfect place to enjoy the fine food London has to offer, letting you taste different dishes in London’s finest restaurants. There are many stalls for both michelin starred chef’s and more reasonable priced dining (Like Busaba Eatthai). This was event was held in Regent’s Park and it was lovely sunny day for most of it.

Is it worth the Price?

You can go to this event for as little as £20, but we paid £60 for the VIP + £20 Worth of Dining currency. Unfortunately you do have to pay for everything whilst in there but our £20 each sufficed for what we needed. I do not know that the VIP was worth while considering the fact that there wasn’t much of a queue for entry, and the priority seating for demonstrations seemed to not be present even though it was mentioned at purchase. Many just sat where they pleased on first come first served so the VIP wasn’t worth much. We did get a glass of Champagne and the VIP lounge but the lounge was just as nice as the bar marquee’s and the VIP ticket paid for the champagne and the Taste of London Recipe book. It was an okay price but next time I would probably buy a basic ticket.
CIMG2780
CIMG2779
CIMG2782
The VIP lounge

My Favourite Taste of London Moments

Food Stalls TOP 5

I wasn’t there to see the restaurant’s I would usually indulge in, for me it was all about michellin and 5 star dining experiences.

1. BENARES

Atul Kochhar’s Mayfair based restaurant was the highlight of my day, and also my partners. The Saturday 12pm entrance ticket was chosen because we wanted to watch his demonstration and hopefully taste his food. It did not disappoint. The dishes varied from creative to classical Indian dishes with fullsome flavour. My boyfriend was immediately over the moon in seeing the Lamb Chops because Lamb is his favourite meat. We have always been fans of full flavoured, strongly spiced dishes over the classical as we find them exciting and different. We adopt these in our kitchen. Benares food stall had us eating seconds and thirds of the Lamb chops, as well as trying the Chicken Tikka Pie. The woman at the stall was nice enough to give us a dish for free and by the end we decided upon buying Atul Kocchars book and were happy to get it signed by the man himself. http://www.benaresrestaurant.com/
CIMG2817
                                                                                Chicken Tikka Pie and Wild Berry Compote 
                                                           An inventive mix of flavours and interesting take on a Shepherd’s Pie
CIMG2775
                                                                                          Grilled Lamb Chops with Mint Chutney
                                                                                        Tender meat in a lovely Tandoori Spiced Sauce

2.CODITIE

This was a new opening restaurant in London and we had not heard of it or it’s chef. This meant that we went in on it with no expectations but were delighted by the display of dishes and the menu was to our liking so we tasted a couple of their dishes. The tomato soup was delicious, with very robust flavours and very nice texture with the bread within the soup and the buffalo Mozarella on top. The food was Italian at it’s best and we will be visiting it soon! The man also gave us a taste of the Beef Tartare. This is usually a dish not to our liking and we were dubious of trying it but we tried it and it was heaven! On later reading it turns out to have the head chef 7 michelin starred Italian chef Bruno Barbieri. Renowned for being the best chef in Italy it is not wonder the food was so good! http://www.cotidierestaurant.com/
CIMG2787


CIMG2789

                                        Pappa al pomodoro Tuscan Style bread and tomato soup with buffalo stracciatella
                                                                   Traditional Italian Tomato Soup with a simplicity of flavour
CIMG2790
                          Tartare of beef cured in spices with taleggio cheese fondue, Star Anise and orange pannacotta with    balsamic and red berry coulis.
                                                                                        A Modern take on Italian Cuisine.

3. LE GAVROCHE

This was a must try at the festival as usually I couldn’t afford such fine dining and having watched the Roux Brothers at work on TV on various occasions, being invited into their beautiful homes, their family business and watching them create food that can only be described as works of art. A surprise was that we didn’t expect to meet the man himself, we got yet another signed book and tried the Beef cheeks and Polenta. When served on a plate it did not look amazing, but much of it was in the taste. The beef crumbled in our mouth and the polenta served as an interesting take on the traditional mash potato.

CIMG2807

CIMG2805
                                                                                                    Daube de boeuf a la nicoise
Braised beef cheeks, olives and creamy polenta
CIMG2803 CIMG2802
With Michel Roux, The most influential man in food

4. YAUATCHA

I was not sure which restaurant this was at first, but then remembered passing it many of times when going through Soho. The restaurant stood quite intimidating with its dark tinted windows, but you found yourself wanting to enter when seeing its array of deserts and cakes displayed in a massive room on the other side. I remembered looking at the Menu and wanted to try it, especially as we usually eat at our regular dim sum joint Ping Pong and the prices at this place seemed similar. We are always in search of good Dim sum as we love the way the little parcels of goodness can be enjoyed with a variety of flavours leaving you excited by your food from beginning to end. We tried the Venison Puff and it was delicious with it accompanied chilli sauce. Admittedly similar in flavour to puff’s in Ping Pong it was still lovely and we will definitely be giving this place a try next time we are in the centre.

CIMG2800

CIMG2801

                                                                                                                         Venison Puff

5. CINNAMON SOHO

This establishment is far more down to earth but we were tempted by the All Balls! platter with it’s mixture of indian treats. It was delicious though I wasn’t a fan of the name of the dish. I would recommend it for the more hungry participant of this festival as it had 6 different balls rather than merely 2 or 3 that other stalls displayed. Quantity and Quality though flavours were usual of Indian food.
CIMG2816
                                                                                                                              All Balls!
Bengali vegetable cake, crab cake, and Lamb Shammi Kebab

Cocktail Stalls TOP 3

1. RON AGUERE CARAMELO

This Tenerife made Caramel flavoured rum was to die for and so were the cocktails! We had a cranberry juice and pineapple juice mixed concoction and it was like being on a beach. Tasted on its own it was still beautiful. We were gifted a bottle of this from our friends but hadn’t yet tried it, unsure that we may not like it and then be stuck with a huge opened bottle its been in our cupboard for a while. Now we have tried it I am eager to open it up. The cocktails we tasty, cheap and the rum the best I have ever tasted- of your a sweet tooth you will love it:)
CIMG2783

2. PLANTATION RUM

There were many Rum bars but this was hugely popular because of the massive punch that was filled with 3 types of rum into a Pineapple! for those who miss the sun this was a great way to feel the summer. They had a bit of an issue with pineapple carving in that they kept getting holes and leaking, but they were well worth the wait and because of the pineapple issues, they poured a nice sum of plantation rum down our throat to apologise for the wait- well worth it!
CIMG2812

3. MAKER’S MARK

I have always hated the taste of whiskey, both in a mixed drink and straight but this stall had me reconsidering my belief’s. I had a delicious Maker’s Mark cocktail that consisted of sparkling wine, appetiser and Maker’s Mark. It was yummy- and free!

The two events that were fun to watch were the Weber BBQ Bake off and Atul Kocchar Food demonstration. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to sit in on more of the demonstrations.

 CIMG2793
CIMG2791
CIMG2808

CIMG2815

Meeting the chef’s, watching demonstrations and eating good food and wine made this an amazing day. Please share your photos and Taste of London experiences with me!

Sichuan Cookery: The Story behind this relatively unknown Chinese Cuisine.

Text attracts and information on Sichuan cooking taken from my favourite cooking book so far:

Sichuan Cookery by Fuchsia Dunlop

became fascinated by Chinese food when I lived there last year, especially with the array of flavours that were on offer. Much unlike the oily food seen in Western Europe that is all wok fried with soya sauce as a base, the food of China is far more diverse, tasteful and fresh that what we commonly associate with it. I wanted to develop my cookery skills in Chinese cuisine so went in search of a good Chinese  cookery book. Knowing my love of spice, I decided upon Sichuanese recipes. This part of China is known for rich flavours and spicy food with many of its dishes in arrays of red and yellow.

Now, It doesn’t make it easy searching for Chinese cookbook when I have already made the Western rooky error from the beginning, going in search of a cookbook for ‘Chinese’ Cookery is very vague considering the proportion of the country, it is more like a continent, with different areas displaying very different cooking techniques and flavours. Having past understanding of China, it was easy for me to decide upon Sichuan, but for people who are unfamiliar with the differences, I would recommend choosing one of the regions from the map and exploring the taste attributes to these places.

Chinese cuisine is almost always treated as one great tradition, with few regional variations… However, it is the differences which seem to matter, the differences among the fresh natural flavours of the south, the sweeter, oiler cooking of the eastern cooking areas and spicy western diet; between the wheaten staples of the north and southern use of rice.

Sichuan cookery is a spicy cuisine and for some it can be too hot, but I find that the artful way Sichuanese use spice makes it enjoyable and doesn’t make your tongue so numb that you cannot enjoy the other flavours. I was intrigued to learn how they achieve such a balance in flavour and spice. Dunlop explains:

Dried chillies, sizzled in oil, give the ‘scorched chilli flavour’, combined with Sichuan pepper this transforms in to a ‘Hot-and-Numbing’ dish. Milder chillies pickles in brine and spices yield and more subtle heat and sensational ‘fish fragrant flavour’ with it’s mix of salty, sweet, sour and spicy tastes. Chilli and broad bean paste are used for ‘homestyle’ cooking, ground chillies and chilli oil used for cold appetizers and ‘strange flavour’ recipes have a salty, sweet, hot, sour and nutty flavour. The chillies is never meant to overwhelm the flavours of the other ingredients, however, but to heighten sensation and to open up the palate to a rich variety of tastes.

The History of Sichuan Pepper: A symbol of everything good

Fact 1: Local people say the fragrance is so strong that you can rub the raw spice of to your palm and still smell it on the back of your hand, through skin and bone.

Fact 2: Hanyuan Sichuan pepper was used as a scent before it was used as a cooking spice, and it was highly prized and offered in tribute to the emperors of China.

Fact 3: In the Han period, spice was mixed into the mud walls of the residences of imperial concubines, which became known as ‘pepper houses’. Because the pepper bears many seeds it because a traditional symbol of fertility.

Fact 4: Sichuan pepper is thrown over bride and grooms at weddings in rural areas.

Fact 5: In Chinese Medicine, dampness is seen as dangerously unhealthy, for it impairs the yang energy of the body and causes sluggishness. The best way to restore a healthy equilibrium is to eat foods that drive out moisture and dispel cold, which makes chillies, ginger and pepper part of the perfect local diet.

Sichuan’s culture and cookery is distinctly different to other parts of China, and is seen to have the tastiest food in the land. This is why you will find an array of Sichuan restaurants in other regions of China which are very popular. It is normal to attend these restaurants when doing banquets, something very popular in Chinese culture. Sichuan is known for it’s good banqueting and why not go to them for the riches of food?

Some ascribe the distinctiveness of Sichuan cooking to geographical isolation. The Sichuan basin is ringed by mountains, and a Tibetan plateau in the west with the only way out being the Yangtze river in olden times. Before transport reaching this area was difficult, and giving the area a distinct culture and culinary technique.

There is Far far more information in Fuschia Dunlop’s book, but you will just have to read it yourself. Due to her ability to learn chinese, she managed to take part in private classes at the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine giving her the ability to learn the craft in detail and it is fascinating to read about the history behind the cooking. Not only that, but she has chapters dedicated to explaining ingredients, and culinary techniques in cookery that can be found no where else. Sichuan cookery is said to have 33 cookery terms, with different terms to different ways of cutting meat, and particular vegetables to achieve visual and taste perfectly. She also displays the important cookery techniques (no it’s not just wok fried!). Your outlook on cooking will never be the same, and skills she teaches can be implemented into all forms of cookery. This book shows how food can be art. I cannot wait to try the recipes!

Events run by Fuchsia Dunlop in London THIS WEEK!:
19/06/12: Cooking Demonstration at Divertimenti £36
20/06/12: Talk about cooking at Asia House £10
Bookings at: http://www.fuchsiadunlop.com/
Restaurants (London): Bar Shu (Soho) http://www.bar-shu.co.uk/
Ba Shan (Chinatown) http://www.timeout.com/london/restaurants/venue/2:21319/ba-shan

			

To Have The Outside Inside

Brunch in Winter Garden Restaurant at Landmark Hotel, London

 

CIMG2768

The Landmark, one of the best hotels in London displays glamour and charm. The Winter Garden is an escape from the rainy english weather. Pure genius as us English crave a day outdoors where we aren’t rained on, this space feels as if you are in a summer courtyard for brunch and if your lucky enough to be there in a sunny day (like we were) the sun shines down through the high glass ceiling. The environment is comfortable, relaxing and glamorous without being dauntingly pretentious. Staff are professional but down to earth, and the Menu is surprisingly commonplace with dishes like Sunday Roast, Fish and Chips and Burgers. For the more adventurous there are still very good seafood dishes such as lobster and other specialities. Even the basic foods come out with their presentation far more 5 star than pub grub, and portions exceedingly generous given the establishment without being too heavy or sloppy. The desserts are to die for, presentation choice and colour even had the non-sweet tooth types like me having our mouths watering.

For those who want more choice, there is a buffet on the upper balcony where there is an array of foods, unfortunately we could not have this as there is a 3 month advance booking! Buffet is £80 and our lunch 3 course was £30 which is a fine price to pay for what was served. I will DEFINITELY be going again.

 
 CIMG2754
Starter: Citrus Cured Salmon with Beetroot and Avocado Puree
CIMG2762Desert: Sticky Toffee Pudding

CIMG2761

CIMG2765

Desserts: (Top) Chocolate Delice , (Bottom) Celebration of Strawberry's

More info: http://www.landmarklondon.co.uk/en/marylebone-bar-restaurant/winter-garden/marylebone-restaurant

The Landmark Hotel
222 Marylebone Road
London NW1 6JQ

The Cambodian Genocide ~ A country rebuilt

Cambodia, so poverty stricken, such a devastating past, and yet stands so strong…

Before arriving in Cambodia I made sure I read up on the war that took place. It was such a significant and sad part of their history and going to see what the war left behind without understanding the full extent of the event seemed ignorant and wasteful of  the trip.

I made sure I understood it fully by buying two books, First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung Ung and Children of Cambodia’s Killing Fields: Memoirs by Survivors. I bought them from the fake book vendors who sell photocopied books in Vietnam, for £2.50 each. They both gave me a deep insight into what took place.

The biography by Loung Ung helped me to understand the destruction that took place particularly in Phnom Penh capital and how the educated were effected by the war. Loung’s father was a political figure and educated man, and therefore was one of many to be taken from his home. When the Khmer Rouge came to power, they wanted to make sure Cambodia turned into their political regime, and every educated person (teacher, doctor, political member..) was a threat to their plans. In an attempt to erase anyone who could come up against their plans they killed them. Loung’s father was one of these people. Her and her siblings had no choice but to leave home, and dress like the poor, changing their identities in an attempt to save their lives. Phnom Penh was also their home, and like all other Cambodians, they were removed from their homes in the city and sent to the country, where they would work as slaves in camps, working in the fields of the country, farming crops that would later be sold for weaponry to kill their own people. The only positive point of the book was knowing that she managed to live through all of this and escape in one piece because she found a route to be smuggled of the country. It is a shame that many did not have the same opportunity to escape their death.

Stories were told in both books, of killings, rape, and hunger as Cambodians were farming food but unable to eat it in the fear of loosing their lives. The stories were so distressing and unsettling that one wonders how a country recovered from such a mess.

How could such a group take power and destroy their country? The Khmer Rouge were a extremist Communist group who sought to destroy everything impure to their regime. Pol Pot, the main leader of this party was the reason for the genocide of half of the country. The scariest part of the event is that their reign only ended in 1979, only 32 years ago. It may still be taking place if it weren’t for the Vietnamese fighting against Khmer and saving the country.

When you think about it occurring not so long ago, one cannot help but see the country in a different light. The capital is now so well built, so modern. You can see that its all quite knew, probably due to most of it being destroyed in their reign, but you still cannot help but be fascinated by how quickly they managed to put it all back together. You walk down the streets and see the older ladies dinning together. Knowing that these elderly women and men lived through this period, may have been sent away from their homes, or even working in these camps, makes you have a new found respect for the people of that age living there. I don’t know their language so we won’t ever be able to talk with them and fully understand the extent of what these wise people lived through but I know that to see so many smiling people~ I felt very impressed with their strength.
667
669

Country Pride on the Streets of the Capital

The most heart-wrenching destination I visited whilst in Cambodia were The Killing Fields …

Visiting the place I read in the books really spooked me and there was a real sadness to the air. The atmosphere was so desolate and peaceful and if it wasn’t for the signs, museum, and pinpointed spaces it could have resembled a green field. It was peaceful and a smell of spring came from the grass. The stories unsettled me though so I felt like ghosts were moving and the wind may the feeling of them against our bodies. There were signs where graves were places, a building with skulls of the dead and the museum showed images and details of what took place.

The strangest fact I found in the museum was that the Leader of the disgusting killing ground was buried in Cambodia. I did not understand why he was graced with a grave whilst he threw thousands into a pit in a mass grave to rot. It said his grave did not bear flowers and seemed unloved but I still couldnt understand it. I also was angry that he lived until 1995, and managed to reside in Thailand for the remains of his life. I don’t condone the death penalty but in this case I felt he shouldn’t have led a life after what he did.

After leaving the capital and returning home, I heard the news talking of the Khmer Rouge Trial. 2012 and the culprits of this mass murder had only just been put to trial. It was interesting to be able to watch it on the news but yet again I wondered why they managed to live a relatively full some life. It is sad that such things occur in the world.

666
656
Skulls of the men who have passed.
662
661
The Mass Grave

657
658
659
663
These are cloth pieces from the clothing of the victims of the massacre. Most was collected from the grounds but still remains lie underneath the earth. It is said that when the rain falls the soil is removed and the old clothing comes up onto the surface.

What a sad tale, what a courageous community to survive and still smile..

Siem Reap, The Temples of the Angkor

I thought I would start posting about Cambodia since one blogger asked me about the area. I first want to share history of this wonder of the world.

These fabulous buildings are the reminiscent of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. At the beginning of the 9th century the two states that covered the territory of modern Cambodia were united by Jayavarman II, who laid the foundations of the Khmer Empire, the major power in south-east Asia for some five centuries. The area was further developed after the death of Jayavarman II for centuries, leaving many monuments. The true development of the area began in 1113,  Suryavarman II built the most glorious of the monuments and made many things dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu. This was the period when the site was representative of the largest Hindu temples in the world.

After the death of Suryavarman II, Jayavarman VII took over the area, building monuments dedicated to the Buddha. Following hsi reign the building continued to be transformed from a Hindu Building to a Theravada Buddhist Structure.  Many Hindu’s and Buddha’s come to this religious site to see a part of their religious histories.

480
641
637
488
495
512
528
553
583
542
532
520
504
498
604
628
634
579
572
560
521

You will notice that there are pictures where statues have been beheaded all of the Angkor Wat. This is due to the Khmer Rouge takeover during the civil war in Cambodia when all Buddhist relics and statues were destroyed and anything of value was stolen and used in purchase of weaponry for war.

There are some photo’s taken of the detailed wall images and inscriptions. I loved the details and artistry of the Hindu gods found within the buildings.

One of the best temples to visit was the Ta Prohm. You can see this in the photos with the over grown tree embedded in the building. The structure was gorgeous even with the damage and ruin, and the ancient trees that had grown into the temple made it mystical and beautiful. This temple is also a location on the film Tomb Raider. 

593
649
642
644

The Writings on The Wall

The title of this blog is not in reference to the first album of Destiny’s Child, or a biblical reference to doom and misfortune, rather than being clever wordplay it is quite literal. I was in search of a good spot to do some Graffiti Photography. I was going to do a BANKSY tour of London (For those of you who are not familiar with Banksy he is a famous British Graffiti artist), but I didn’t have enough time and Banksy’s work is scattered all over London, and is not necessarily easy to find. So I managed to find a legal Graffiti Tunnel nearby Westminster. It was difficult to find but I got there in the end. Here are some shots from the day: