February 19, 2010

How My Ikebana Goes

It's been half and a little bit more year since I started learning ikebana. I applied for 中等科中伝 in the end of last year and got the proof a few days ago. Now, it certifies that I reached to a level in 池坊(ikenobo) ikebana. The certificate I got is not a high level one, but it's a result for something that I've been doing.

Recent few weeks, the stuffs my teacher prepared were spring flowers. I liked the colour of peach flowers I used last week because the bright pink colour was pretty. I call it a vitamin colour :P I think that work is one of my most favorite ones I've ever made. I don't know till when I keep learning ikebana because it isn't on top of my list. However, I feel like learning this traditional art for a while as long as I don't feel it a tough work. I believe arts like this make my sensitivity rich and add a small enjoyment to my life.

February 16, 2010

Yes, It's a Cake :)

Recently, I got a chance to try something new. I don't write about it on this post, because I just did it and don't even know if it's gonna be a beginning phase. I have to see if it starts working and then, if it looks fine, I'll write about it...maybe near in the future :) I'm kind an incubating few ideas in my mind for the days :P I just say it's a play for me. But it doesn't mean I'm not serious about it. There are two types of play: One is for relaxing, and the other is something that you put your energy, try your best and therefore it's fun. Maybe, this time, it's gonna be closer to the latter one.

Today, I went to meet my friend to get the fruit of our work...actually, too much to say "fruit" for me because I didn't do almost anything. But I was glad that I slightly took a part of the work, and was looking forward to receiving the stuff past few days. The experience made me interested in new world. I hope that it lets me go forward to good direction.

Anyway, I got a "happy cake" I missed the other day. It was super yummy. A piece of cake can always make me happy. Yes, I'm a happy girl (*^_^*)

February 2, 2010

Last Day, And...

I don't wanna finish writing this post because this is gonna be my last post of the trip. It's funny, but finishing writing about my trip feels like I'm actually about to finish the trip in real life however it's already over. I woke up at 8:30 and went downstairs around 8:50 to eat breakfast. Neg was already there and asked me where I wanted to go. We had been already finished visiting main ruins in past days so I didn't know where to go. Of course there were some places that I hadn't been, but I knew it was impossible going everywhere during just a few days. I didn't feel like going anywhere for sightseeing but wanted to go to take a look of a supermarket and Psar Char. But I knew that I had too enough time. Then, he asked me if I wanted to go to a lake that GH doesn't charge and I said yes. I told him to wait until I finish packing my luggage and after 30 or 40 minutes, we left the GH. The lake was a normal place like local people come to spend time on weekends. Since it was on a weekday, there were no people but children were playing around in the lake. I thought it was a little bit dirty to call a resort as our sense, but maybe it is their "resort". I've just gotten used to living in a country that is so clean and rich... There were a lot of hammocks under the tent and looked comfortable to take a nap. However, I didn't lay down there. I just walked around and took some pictures. I felt like I saw a part of normal people's life at that place.

After a while, I told Neg to take me to a supermarket. I like browsing things in supermarkets whenever I go to another country because I can see some local stuffs that I can hardly see in Japan. But the supermarket in Siem Reap was different. It was obviously a place for foreign people living there. I didn't feel local people buy things at the supermarket. Goods were displayed very tidily and most of things were from other countries. There were few products from Cambodia, and however you find them, the prices were higher than general prices at street stalls (of course local people price). I got there some souvenirs for friends, and also got some ice cream that also looks expensive for local people.

After supermarket, we went to Psar Char. I wanted to buy some souvenirs there as well. When I was browsing, I saw some pretty boxes made of silver. I thought big ones were too big, but wanted to get a good small sized one. When I asked its price, the girl said 18$ for one, but told me if I buy two, she would give me a better price that was 32$. Of course I knew that it was too much. So, I started bargaining. And finally, I succeed to get those two boxes with 10$. I thought that it might not be fair still, but it already looked very reasonable price for me. But when we left the store, Neg gave me a compliment. He told me I was great because he saw most people got them with around 15$. Well done, myself ;) I felt even happier.

We dropped at a restaurant to have lunch on the way to GH. It was my last meal in Cambodia. When I sat on a seat, I asked Neg what he recommends and he asked the waiter what she recommends. After a while, we got some dishes and shared them. He told me that the soup that we got was what he wanted to eat foreigners when they visit Cambodia. When we got back to the GH, I started my final luggage packing; packing souvenirs. I didn't feel sad or lonely leaving there at that time, but also not excited about coming back to Japan. My feeling was just neutral.

When I came downstairs with my suitcase, Neg was waiting for me. I paid money to the GH staff. When he was giving me a breakdown of the price, I realized that they didn't charge me anything extra. I thought I had to pay for the ride when Neg took me to the restaurant that Yuta showed...but I didn't see it anywhere. I didn't pay him at that time when we came back to the GH, but I saw a guy paying him few dollars when they came back to the GH the other day. I thought it was Neg's pleasure. Maybe he did something extra for me because I was alone. I knew that he didn't have to take me to the lake and also didn't have to come with me when I went shopping. I also knew that he sometimes paid for leaving his motorcycle to come with me. I think his small pleasures like them made my time in Cambodia much enjoyable. I didn't have to worry about anything because I was with a "local person" anytime.

When I finished everything, Neg and me headed to the airport like when I came here for the first time; me sitting behind him holding his shoulders over my suitcase without wearing a helmet. When we got to the airport I said thank you to him, and walked toward the entrance. I waved my hand, and he did it as well. I saw him over the window from inside of the building, so I waved my hand again. It was nice coming to Cambodia. I met something I can't meet in Japan, and also met people I couldn't meet if I was not alone. I experienced great things though the trip :)

It's funny but I started missing Cambodia after a while since I came back to Japan. I miss the dusty city. I miss the weather. I miss the people smiling at me. I felt that I wanted to walk outside under the strong sunshine more than staying at the hospital when I was working. I don't know when, but want to visit the contry again someday in the future. Next time, I want to experience something that I couldn't do this time, and hope that I would meet people I met during my trip again. Now, my stories about the trip to Singapore and Cambodia is over. I thank my Singaporean friend and his family for taking good care of me, and thank people I met in Cambodia. I also thank you for reading my long long stories :) Thank you.


Web album: A Trip to Singapore And Cambodia

My Most Favorite Ruin

We had late lunch when we came back to Angkor Thom area after seeing few more ruins (of course Cambodian meal again!). After seeing Terrace of the Elephants, I finally got to see the ruin that I had been so so interested in since I took a look for the fist time. BAYON, YOU HAVE MY HEART!!! It has 54 towers that have smiling Bodhisattva faces on each side. The sight was so majestic and I felt I could spend whole a day just sitting there and seeing those faces without being bored. Actually, when I went back to the restaurant that Neg was waiting, I told him I wanted to go there again if it was ok. Of course he said ok because it was the last place we went, and I spent another hour among those faces. When I was sitting and looking around, I noticed that another girl was doing the same thing as me!! I didn't talk to her, but I felt something familiar because we were sharing the same atmosphere.

On the way to the GH, we saw wild monkeys playing around. When I told him there were monkeys, he asked me if I wanted him to stop to take pictures. He already knew I love taking pictures at that time :P He also asked me if I wanted to take pictures when we saw pretty sunset driving beside rice fields. So we left the motorcycle there and I ran through the rice field screaming like a kid, lol. I bet Neg was disgusted with my childish action, but he followed me and came into the rice field as well, lol. He is a nice driver :)

At night, I was chatting with a guy who is one of the GH drivers like Neg. He told me he wanted to go somewhere after work and maybe it would be a night club. I had wanted to take a look of a club since before, but hadn't gotten the chance yet. So I knew that I wouldn't know what is different from Japanese ones, but first clubbing experience in Cambodia didn't sound bad. On the contrary, I thought it would be an interesting topic to talk about when I come back to Japan. So, HOW COME I WOULDN'T GO WITH HIM AND TAKE A LOOK OF A CAMBODIAN NIGHT CLUB? There was no reason to refrain. So I asked him to take me with him and we drove through the night city to a club.

The night club gave me some impression, but I'm not gonna mention about it here. I just say, he and me spent few hours there, drove around the city, and came back to the GH. I don't think I will ever do such things in Japan. Like, sitting behind someone who drank alcohol and driving around without helmets, lol. But it was fun. When we came back to the GH, I was deadly tired. No wonder, I slept only for 4 hours or so and woke up early for sunrise in the morning. I took a shower somehow, but passed out. I couldn't even brush my teeth. Such a thing was for the first time in many many years. When I woke up, I looked at my watch and it was 6:30. I thought I missed saying good-bye to Yuta because he was leaving at 5:30 in the morning. Maybe he was already gone..so I fell asleep again.

Web album: A Trip to Singapore And Cambodia

A Mark Of History

I thought I would take a nap when I had breakfast at GH after seeing sunrise, but I didn't feel like it anymore when I came back. My sleepiness was gone completely, and I was excited about coming ground tour. When I finished breakfast, I ate a yogurt I bought the other day and prepared for going out. Though I brought only one long sleeve jacket, I wanted to wash it because I'd wore it almost everyday since I got to Cambodia. And that made me get sunburned so much during the day :S I knew that I should have, but I was too lazy to put sunblock on me.

When we went to East Mebon, I saw an impressive thing. There were countless small holes on the walls and I felt them creepy. Neg told me they are holes made by guns during the civil war. I tried to imagine what happened there in old days but couldn't picture it clearly. However, the bullet holes were enough to remind me of a sad history which happened there.

It was lucky having Neg beside a lot during the day. He always let me know what he knows when we were seeing ruins. It was funny when we were going to Neak Pean, I thought I had to go alone because I saw a guy checking tourist pass card beside the way to the ruin, but when I passed there, Neg spoke to him and followed me keeping distance while fumbling cellphone. He didn't talk to me till we got close to the ruin and acted like we didn't know each other, lol. It was good he came with me tho because I'm sure I didn't know what some of the sculptures were without his help :P

Web album: A Trip to Singapore And Cambodia

Business War Beside Beautiful Sunrise

Next day, I got up around 4:30 because I was going to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat. Neg had told me we were going to leave the GH around 5, so I wanted to get up a little bit earlier to prepare for going out as a girl (making up and stuff) even I'm not much of one, lol. When we left for Angkor Wat, the sky was still very dark and there were lots of stars glittering. Lights in Siem Reap city are not so bright as much as in Tokyo and when you go out of the city, there is almost no streetlights. I was so sleepy and was gazing blankly at stars behind him on the way to Angkor. It was good that I brought my maglite because the way to Angkor Wat from the parking area didn't have lights and I would hardly see anything without it.

When we got there, many people were already on standby seeing the sunrise. I was always impressed by Cambodians aggressive salesmanship because they were lending plastic chairs to tourists with one dollar. When tourists refuse, they say "If you buy a drink, you can get a seat by free". And a cup of drink is one dollar...I thought they want to get dollars somehow...lol. I didn't get any drinks nor chair because I didn't feel they were worth it. As for me, it was better standing to be flexible to move for taking pictures :)

The sunrise was beautiful. The red colour gradually spread from behind of Angkor Wat into the dark blue sky, and the sun peeped. I wondered if the Cambodians who were selling seats or drinks were also impressed with the sunrise...or, they just cared about their business. When the sun appeared fully, I left there for where Neg was waiting.

Web album: A Trip to Singapore And Cambodia

I Missed Yakiniku But Got Nabe

I wanted to come back to the GH before 7 that day, because I had a promise with Yuta going to eat yakiniku with a few Koreans he met. But when I got there, I didn't see him. His driver handed me a map drawn on a piece of paper and told me Yuta was there, so I asked Neg to take me to the place. However, I couldn't find him in the restaurant on the map. The master told me I could wait there, but I went out because I wanted to tell Neg if he was still there. It sucked not having an available cellphone in such a case. He didn't seem a person that breaks promises but I didn't have the way to get information. Luckily, Neg was still there. I told him that I couldn't find Yuta and he helped me find him driving around the city. But after a while, I gave up and told him to go somewhere else to have dinner by ourselves. And that made me get a chance to eat Cambodian NABE, lol. Damn, I didn't bring my camera at that time, but took some pictures with my mobile.

At the restaurant, dishes were on counters over there, and we had to bring anything we wanted to eat. And I was like a princess there. I mean, he did almost everything. I brought some dishes to our table, but that was it. I didn't know what to do with the unique shaped Cambodian pot on the table, so I left everything to Neg. What I had to do was just to eat what Neg made :P

When I was choosing what to eat firstly at the restaurant, I saw FRESH SPRING ROLLS...You have no idea how much I LOVE IT!!! So, I brought two of them for me and Neg, but he brought his own one by himself later, so I ate both of them. I was a little bit worried when I was about to eat them because I heard Cambodian tap water is not so good for us as long as we are not local people. So we should refrain from eating ice (it might be made from tap water) or uncooked vegetables in general. However, I already hadn't removed ice from my water at that time, and wanted to eat the fresh spring roll so badly (I wasn't sure if the spring rolls were 100% safe). So I thought, "Um, maybe my umeboshi will save me, so I'll be fine!" and ate anything I wanted to eat. While we were eating, Yuta called Neg's cellphone and apologized. He told us when they went to the restaurant, it was closed because of a temporary power cut. So they waited somewhere and went again around 8 or so. What an unlucky thing we missed each other, lol. But such a happening is commonly associated with a trip ;)

When we finished eating, it was already past 9. I was very sleepy so we went back to the GH. When we got there, Yuta was already there, and apologized to us again. No problem, it was not his fault :) Oh, by the way, do you want to know what happened on me later beside eating anything I wanted??? Nah, I didn't get loose bowels. Sorry that I couldn't fulfill your excitement :P

Web album: A Trip to Singapore And Cambodia

Eastern Monna Lisa And Beautiful Sunset

After lunch, I went to see Banteay Srei alone. This ruin has beautiful red colour and my guidebook says the best time visiting there is morning. When I visited there, the sun was already so high but I still felt it looked more red than other ruins. Since I heard that there are beautiful sculptures that are called "Eastern Monna Lisa", I tried not to miss them :P

When I was walking back to Neg, I was spoken to by a guy. We had a small chat, but actually, he wanted me to buy postcards. And once I bought something from the guy, I was surrounded by some children!! They came after me and tried so hard to sell something. But I didn't have will to buy anything at that time, so I went straightly back to the place Neg was waiting. When I got there, few children were still coming with me, but they left when Neg told something. I didn't know what he said because it was in Khmer, but maybe he told them that I wouldn't buy anything. Neg helped me like that sometimes and I thanked him for the help because such children were anywhere and some of them were so persistent that they didn't leave me easily however I told them I was not gonna buy anything again and again :S

After few more ruins (too many ruins confuse me, I can't tell which is which, lol), we went to Phnom Bakheng to see sunset. Bayon was also included in small tour, but Neg told me we would go there after going to ground tour next day. So, we just walked around the ruin and then headed to Phonm Bakehng.

When we got to the bottom of the mountain, a lot of tourists were already there. Everyone had the same purpose, lol. When I got off from the motorcycle, I asked Neg if he would come with me. He told me he would and actually he did. But later, when we were coming down from the top of the mountain, he told me that it was his first time going up to the mountain with a customer. Yay! I'm the memorial first one v(*^_^*)v

The sunset view from the mountain was so beautiful. The sun went down under the horizon over there becoming more red and red. When it disappeared completely, people clapped. It was such an impressive moment.

Web album: A Trip to Singapore And Cambodia