Friday, May 30, 2008

I Will Always Love Youuuuuuuuuuu

My second Lip Sync Video. Finally~

Borrowing voice from this little angel Connie Talbot.





And of course... What is the song without a little Whitney Houston. ;)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Nicolekiss becomes Tomb Raider at Ta Prohm

Lara Croft steps aside, I am the new mean tomb raiding machine!

go into hiding
Raiding the Tomb (or pretend to)


First a litttle introduction. This is Ta Prohm.

ta prohm


One of the most beautiful temple-monastery in Angkor, simply because when it was uncovered, it was almost completely swallowed by the jungle. Its layout's splendor and complexity increased ten folds by its partly collapsed state.

ta prohm rocks


"The plant takes hold of in a crevice somewhere in the superstructure of a building, usually where the bird had deposited the seed, and extends roots downwards to the soil." Quoted from Ancient Angkor.

As centuries passed, the roots gradually become so thick they wedge open the blocks. Eventually, these trees becomes part of the ruin, they support at the same time hold the power to destroy this magnificence infrastructure.

tree root cracks


And this is where Angelina Jolie (aka Lara Croft) picked a Jasmine flower before falling through the soil into Pinewood Studio.

Tomb Raider Tree
Tomb Raider Tree


I decided instead destroying the nature by killing a Jasmine flower, I'll blend in with nature; be ONE with Ta Prohm.

tree hugger
Tree Hugger. We are ONE.


The monastery ruin is fulled of trees grown so magnificently throughout the centuries, you'd be awed by their sheer sizes.

nicole pose at ta prohm


Or even by the size of ONE of their roots,

tree trunk pose


Or the body of the tree,

huge tree trunk at ta prohm


Raiding a tomb ruin is not easy, it takes more than one person's effort. Unlike Lara Croft, we are just mere mortals you see.

OK fine! You caught me red handed, guilty as charged! I wasn't ALONE! I was with someone at the ruin!

Guys, meet my partner in crime.

nicole hide and seek_small_crop


Nicole.

Miraculously an awesome blogger and a wonderful travel partner, Nicole and I clicked easily like bread and butter; chocolate to ice creams.

I also have to declare, Ta Prohm is a GREAT place to play hide and seek at, I kid you not.

It took forever for Nicole to find me.


What?! You don't believe me?!

You said there's one more person?!!

No really?! There was only us!!!! Just the two of us!!!

.....


Oh shut it!!

Fine, I admit defeat, there was ONE MORE person.


Meet our friend, a low profile traveller whose name does not wished to be mentioned in this blog.



threesome_small
Seriously, you have to be shameless enough to take this picture. Avoiding stares from tourists around the place queuing to take photo with the tree.


Our acquaintance went something like this.

"Hi, Nicole, meet Nicole. You can also call me Nicole"

"Oh hi Nicole, it's nice to meet you. Ta Prohm is absolutely gorgeous isn't it?!"

"OMGOMGOMG, I'm totally like... agree with you! We so like... HAVE~~~ to take photos together yea"

"Oh yes, what a splendid idea. *clap hands tipping with joy* It must be fate that brought us together in such a magical mysterious place. It's destined that we declare each other as sisters."

"Yo sis!! Sisterhood forever gurl!"

"Yes, indeed, we shall lend a hand whenever one of us is in need."

"......"


There you go. My two lovely friends from Cambodia.


And we continue to run around Ta Prohm, playing spy and and detective on rocks and crevices.

two nicole in ta prohm
Hidden tigress


Around the temple, you find lots of code marked stones lying in sequence on the ground.

indentified stones


These are stones that belonged to the ruin, but collapsed replaced by the trees.

unidentified stone at ta prohm


I call them, homeless stones.


Okay FINALLY, there IS ONE MORE scene from the Tomb Raider movie that I bet most (like 99%) of the tourists to Angkor have not been able to locate.

How do I know? Because I tracked the place down and NOT a SINGLE SOUL was there!

Remember the scene where the bad guys broke into the "Tomb" by puling down a polystyrene gate?

Iain Glen
Iain Glen acting as the evil Manfred Powell


Is it NOT at Bayon, despite popular belief.

bayon  statues
Bayon


It IS at Angkor Thom where Bayon is in.

Though it is NOT the south gate of Angkor Thom.

bayon south gate


Where? Not the east entrance of Angkor Thom, but the exact East Gate of Angkor Thom.

tomb raider gate direction


It was when I finished Ta Prohm that I realised I have not spotted this particular gate, because it was not exposed to the public.

Hence I cycled 3km back to Angkor Thom to find the infamous mysterious East Gate.

Tracing through the map, I landed myself in some dirt track road that took me into the depths of the jungle. God knows where I was heading to.

road to east gate at angkor thom


And the creepy part? There wasn't anyone in sight.

The unbearable part? Cycling on dirt track road with a town bike is a PAIN in the ASS!!!!!!!!

Ouch ouch ouch.

15 mins later. I finally found him!!!!

face tower of east gate
The Face


Woohoo!!! I just cam-whored single handedly with the East Gate. OMGOMGOMG I stood on the exact ground where Iain Glen once laid. o.O *faint*

angkor thom east gate color


A long way in, but it was all worth it!!

bicycle at east gate
Lonesome town bike.


I know the photo is slanted, I couldn't find a flat 0-gradient rock to fix it on. But don't you think it's more artistic this way? :D

east gate grey pose


Mission accomplished.


As the evening drew closer, I cycled out of the Northern Gate and 18KM straight towards the east end of Angkor big circuit to catch sunset at Pre Rup temple, said to offer one of the best sunset sight.

18KM on a cycle!!!! This was like chasing the sun before it falls down!! Seriously, I was cursing most of the way!!!

When I reached Pre Rup, there was already a crowd.

sunset watchers at pre rup
Sunset watchers


As we waited from 5:30pm, the sun began to descend.

pre sunset at Pre Rup
Pre-pre-sunset


And descend.

pre sunset at pre rup_horizontal
Pre-sunset


Here's a wallpaper.

And finally,

sunset at  Pre Rup
Sunset


As for me, after what was at least 50KM of cycling since 6am in the morning, I didn't give a damn about the bloody sunset.

exhausted nicole
zzz...


"F*ck off, let me sleep"

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Angkors and Self Timer

Short note: I'm organising Malaysia's first Bloggers Media Trip to Southern Thailand this July. Good news is, I have two one allocation left on this trip. Bloggers with 1000 uniques per day and interested to come on board are free to email me at nicootan@gmail.com.


Once, there were the gods,

the gods


And the asuras (demons), and they cooperated with each other to churn the Sea of Milk to create the elixir of immortality – amrita.

demon imprints
Asuras


But the teamwork ended when Amrita was formed and the gods went back on their words to give half a bottle to the Asuras, and hence the Asuras tried to steal it.

statues of the gods


So is the great Hinduism myth, so you find at every gate of Angkor Thom (this is the Wat where Tomb Raider filmed one of their scenes), the cravings of the gods and the Asuras demons.

demon statue
Why does the demon always look scarier?


These were the imprints and cravings at Angkor Wat, as I raised early the next morning and cycled all the way back to the Angkors (I missed the 5:30am sunrise shut up), there was barely anyone.


Angkor Wat

front yard of angkor wat
The front yard of Angkor Wat


Except for the few monks

monks at angkor


It was the best time to tour the Wat.

garden in angkor wat
Inner back garden


It was so empty, you could even sleep there.

sleeping in angkor wat


angkor wat window scene
Looking at the sleeping travellers.


What better time to test your self timing skill than now eh? :D :D :D

sitting at angkor wat
Chilling out in the temple


red hair pose 1
Resting and looking around


Omg I love my hair color in this picture, several wash later it actually became blondish brown T_T

red hair pose 2
Red Head


nicolekiss shadow on stone
Shadow on Angkor - peter pan??


medium stone steps


How big do you think this stone stair is?

me posing on mediun stone steps
Pretty big~


sneak a peak
Peek-A-Boo


spider crawl 1
Spider man on rocks!


Second take,

spider crawl pose 2
Spider woman on rocks closer view!


Phew, have to jump through gaps back and forth.

Okay next, how big do you think this stone stair is? Looking up!

big stone steps


Can’t imagine right?

Put a Nicole there.

big angkor wat and small nicole


I’d say pretty bloody BIG!
(This shot I have to run so very far away~ )


Walking on the stone street leading up to Angkor Wat, you’ll find many holes on the stones that were made to carry these heavy weights around.

stones road


Going through the temple, you’ll find yourself on the other side of AW which was meant to be the East entrance to the Wat. Here you can almost visualized how it used to be back in the days when Angkor was built.

the original road in angkor wat
The original road to Angkor


And how it was like few hundreds years later the whole Angkors were engulfed by the jungle.

temple in the jungle


Bayon

Further up north you will reach Angkor Thom – one of the largest of all Khmer cities (appropriately means “Great City”), or the four main gates surrounding it. This is the south gate, where most people enter and exit through.

bayon south gate
No this is not the gate where the Tomb Raider evil guy pulled down.


One of the most prominent temples inside Angkor Thom is Bayon,

bayon


pretty much “the most enigmatic and powerful religious constructions in the world” according to this book,

ancient angkor book
This is a good book, not only it describe the details of each temple, it tells what is the best time to visit each temple (best lighting)


Which I bought from this girl who approached me during my lunch break.

kid selling books
I tell you, she was damn persuasive ok?!


More camwhore sessions,

bayong window pose 2
First take, too close


Have to place on the top of the stairs and then run down in big steps and pose,

bayon window pose
Second take, ah.. better!


Around the temple you will find a lot of face towers constructed to form an ascending peak.

bayon  statues


sitting at bayon
More self timing


pose at bayon 2


pose at bayon
This is a difficult angel, an uncle from china helped me take this :D


They say there used to be 49 towers around the temple, but now there’re only 37 left.

bayon face


Bayon, in my opinion, is one of the most visited temple among the tourists, why? Because when you see a bunch of locals in fancy themed costume are out to hunt for gullible tourists for over expensive Polaroid photographs, you know the place it’s over commercialised.

bend like rubber cambodian


Seriously, the way she bent reminded me of these figurine carvings on every possible structure in Angkor.

dancing girls
yea bent it baby~


Even the monks love to take photograhs :D

nicolekiss with bayon monks


cambodian monk and kid
Very cute Cambodian kid



Victory gate, Angkor Thom

On the way to the east entrance of Angkor Thom, I dumped my bicycle in the bush and decided to venture into the field.

victory gate pose 2
Self timer on a rock


When it took you at least 10 mins to set up your camera, you take more than one photo.

victory gate pose 1


I need to run pretty far for this shot,

victory gate far pose 1


first take, ran out of time, so turned around and pose first.


Second take, ran faster, leaped down the giant stone steps, across the field and up the stone steps again and POSE!

victory gate far pose 2
Haha, perfect!


I already cropped this photo, I appeared too small in actual one, you can view it here.


Thommanon

Exiting the East entrance (notice I didn’t say East gate, cause the east gate is hidden from tourists), on the way to Ta Keo and Ta Phrom temples, you will come by this little sweet elegant temple called Thommanon.

Thommanon
Post card worthy~


nicolekiss at thommanon
Obviously taken by another random tourist


This toothless grandma can climb better steps than me!

toothless grandma at Thommanon
Don’t pray pray


Self timer pose at Thommanon!

self timer pose at Thommanon


How to take self timer pose at Thommanon!

how to take self timer
Oh no, now my secrets are out!


Ta Keo

Now the Ta Keo is impossible to be missed. A giant temple-mountain made entirely, get this, sandstone.

sandstone steps of Ta Keo


It’s massive, tall and extremely towering, and it’s incomplete.

top of ta keo


Also a playground for local kids

kid at Tao Keo wat


Shot of my feet

standing on top of ta keo wat
I'm getting used to standing at the edge


Resting after an intense climb.

ipod and hat


resting at ta keo temple


The wind up here was magnificient!

Poser in Ta Keo temple


Pose of myself chilling out at Ta Keo

posing at Ta keo
Love the view~!


Phew, what a long post, total of 59 photos! I think. Didn’t really count. Lol
(I bet there are lame people who will count the photos after I mention it)


After so much climbings, so many running back and forth taking many shots of difficult self timing photos, I can feel water evaporating out of my skin.

sweaty face


I swear!! Those water drops were constantly there on my nose!!!

(more photos on the way~)