Young Buddhists about to endure the rites

Away from the main temples of Angkor, this temple rests about two hours from Siem Reap through thick jungles and a sketchy road. As I made my way through the stone halls and entrance ways, I emerged onto this scene of a bunch of young Buddhists preparing for the next phase of their rites.

I think I ended up talking to almost a dozen different monks in and around Angkor. It was very interesting to hear their version of what happened with the Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot, and that whole mess. They killed over 1 million Cambodians after the US pulled out of Vietnam, eliminating anyone with “involvement in free-market activities”. I was a little afraid to tell anyone there that I sometimes speak at Libertarian conferences, in case there were a few rogue Khmer Rouge agents roaming the jungles!

Some of the stories are a bit sketchy to be reprinted in this format, so if we ever meet for coffee some day, I’ll be glad to tell you… but there is some messed up stuff around there.

On a lighter note, I’m headed to Vegas next week for just a day and a half. I have a little speaking engagement, but I’ll be spending every spare waking moment living with my right brain and seeing what bits are appropriate to capture for you all! :)

Young Buddhists about to endure the rites (by Stuck in Customs)

View Comments

This is an Avout

I found her after taking a few wayward turns in some confusing corridors in the main temple of Angkor Wat. She was a Buddhist bolt, but lighting incense at the foot of a statue of Shiva, the Hindu god. It turns out that she, and others like her, are from an interesting sect that bridges two of the big religions. I always enjoy talking to people about this sort of thing. It doesn’t really bother me one way or another, but I just find all the thought processes to be interesting.

She’s one of the billions of people alive (and possibly re-alive) that draws into the splinters of the original Vedic Brahminism. She didn’t speak a lot of English, so there were a few pieces missing in our conversation, but I filled them in later after talking to many other monks and worshipers throughout the complex.

This is an Avout (by Stuck in Customs)

View Comments

The Zen Peace in Your Mind

This is the innermost temple in Angkor Wat. I was happy to be there on a brilliant morning when no one was around except for the occasional avout or two, making their rounds through the wat. The top of the temple is shaped like a Lotus flower and can be seen from everywhere around the temple complex. The robed ones tended to ignore me, as they usually do with the extramuros.

Inside, it was especially peaceful, especially while zoning out on my iPod. I was so zoned out, in fact, that I almost forgot to take a photo!

And for those of you waiting for the FIRST D3X shot… It should be in about 24 hours… posting around Midnight CST on The Night Before D3Xmas. Hey that is a clever title… get ready for it.

The Zen Peace in Your Mind

View Comments

The Guardian of Enlightenment

It was my second day in the wats of Angkor and I was back to explore the edges of the vast complex. One turn and another, a room within a room, I quickly became lost, which is altogether a great thing in these sorts of situations. Even better, as those of you that know me already understand, there was not a single tourist around to ruin the mood out deep in hidden recesses.

I came upon this meditating pilgrim, who had created her own little shrine area where the unexpected Hindu god statues had been absconded from the altar. She continued on, chanting in her particular Brahmanistic offshoot meme that seemed to bring her enough peace to allow me to pass after careful examination.

The Guardian of Enlightenment

The second shot below is after I finally made it back outside, I sat down for a rest, and then decided to set up for a timed shot. My mom and sister always like to see more shots of me on the blog… so here you go! :)

Adventuring in Cambodia (by Stuck in Customs)

View Comments

An Ancient Tapestry

We’re here for the tapestries! I’ve always wanted to do an improv like that to talk my way into a German castle, but the opportunity has yet to present itself. I’ve got it in my back pocket, just in case.

This place could not be further from Germany… this is a temple a few hours from Siem Reap in Cambodia… it is quite deep in the jungle and it was quite a thrill to explore it!

An Ancient Tapestry

View Comments

The Reaping of the Siam

I heard the Amazing Race was just in Cambodia in Siem Reap, where Angkor Wat is. I haven’t seen it yet, although that is one of the reality shows I kinda like. I’d love to go on it someday… if you want to go one with me and have an inking for adventure, let me know!

The Reaping of the Siam

View Comments

Weathered in the Cambodian Jungle

It had been a good several hours of trekking through a muggy jungle before getting to this place. I’ve been to a lot of muggy places (even Houston), but nothing compared to this place. When explorers "re-discovered" this temple just a few centuries ago, it was completely covered in jungle. I can’t imagine how hard the work was to clear the jungle back from the temple….

After emerging from the trees, I sat here for about 30 mins to regain my wits, and of course took a few shots to help pass the time while my ipod streamed some Baraka soundtrack action.

This one also uses my textures from the newer tutorial in this section

Weathered in the Cambodian Jungle

View Comments

An out-of-control Sunset

This is a temple near the main wat of Angkor in Siem Reap. The sunset was going crazy and then some Cambodian security came to clear people out of the temple. I stayed on the run (sorta), ducking in and out of these little tombs when they came around in their cute little uniforms. I would have been more intimidated if they looked like Cambodian military (I don’t want to mess with those guys), but they looked like hired help… Eventually everyone was gone but me and a few security guards, making the rounds… eventually the rouse was up and my Metal Geal Solid routine had run its course.

An out-of-control Sunset

View Comments

The Towers of Angkor Thom

This is a temple not too far from the main one at Angkor Wat. I noticed it was about 95 degrees while at the first temple, and a very cool 94 degrees while here. Also, there was a wonderful 1 MPH breeze that I detected for a few seconds.

As I changed lenses, I think I lost about a liter of sweat down into the inner chamber… that couldn’t have been good for the old Nikon.

The Towers of Angkor Thom

View Comments

A Blindingly Beautful Sunrise

I could hardly figure out where to look first! I was happy to have a second pair of eyes there with my camera, so I could look at one thing while the lens and attached remote looked at something else! Every 10 minutes the clouds moved and the light changed, creating a different scene as I snapped away in bliss.

You can feel the morning humidity hanging on the air over the lagoon. It was a little after 5 in the morning at Angkor Wat, and a small Cambodian girl had brought me a little chair to sit down in by the water. She also brought coffee and condensed milk, refilling me every 20 minutes or so. I think the chair and the coffee was the the best $2 I ever spent!

A Blindingly Beautful Sunrise

View Comments
Welcome to STUCK IN CUSTOMS Welcome to my travel photography blog!
Enjoy the daily photos, tips, tutorials & more!
Newsletter Sign Up
The Most Beautiful Newsletter Ever!


x