Silent Dance

Khmer classical dance – an ancient art form, now performed mainly for tourists in Cambodia.

Thunder and Lightning Apsara

This classical Cambodian dance (Robam moni mekhala-ream eyso) retells the story of Moni Mekhala and Ream Eyso. “The legend of Moni Mekhala and Ream Eyso is an origin myth explaining the cause of thunder and lightning which Khmer people believed comes from Ream Eyso’s axe flying toward the goddess, thundering and shaking the sky as it lands while Moni Mekhala’s crystal ball lights up the heavens as she tosses it in the air to blind the ogre. Together they bring rain, the symbol of renewed life as it imparts fertility to Cambodias farmlands.” -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zfz8Kgay98Q

Smile

As I was walking around taking pictures of Bayon temple, this little girl was wondering around with her mom and she smiled for a shot.

Apsara Flower Dancing

Apsara (អប្សរា) dancing is an ancient form of Cambodian dance, though today, it mainly exists in tourist venues.

Escher Crocs

We visited a crocodile farm in Siem Reap recently and so I took a few shots.  While seemingly slow and lazy, these creatures can move in for the kill at any moment.  As I looked at these particular crocodiles I was reminded a bit of some of Escher’s art.

Shop Girl

A little girl playing outside her mother’s shop at the Old Market in Siem Reap.

River Children

Children playing and working during their daily routine on the Tonle Sap River.  Some of the poorest of the poor in Cambodia.

Lone Boat

A man rows an ice-cream boat on the Tonle Sap.

Floating Home

Along the Tonle Sap River there are many who make their homes.  Their floating homes can move with the river during rainy and dry season so that they have continual access.  Most are fishermen, and many have lost their lives in the storms that quickly brew on its surface.

Jayavarman VII

A statue of Jayavarman VII taken at the Siem Reap night market.  Jayavarman VII reigned over the Khmer Empire from 1181-1215 AD. He is most known for building Ta Prohm, Angkor Thom, and Bayon.  This is also the 100th photo to be posted on this blog.

Bracelet Visionary

Yut is a very hard worker.  He learned how to make bracelets in Thailand and has returned to Cambodia to practice his craft.  He wants to form a group and train them how to make the bracelets but so far has not found anyone who is interested.  You can find Yut at the night market in Siem Reap and buy one of his bracelets.

Night Market

Siem Reap had the first “Night Market” in Cambodia, aimed specifically at tourists.  At about 8:00PM this place fills up quick.  Here a young man is putting out his goods to sell.

Boys in Boat

These two little boys were floating in half of a water barrel in the Tonle Sap (river/lake).  It looked like they were having quite a nice time.

Tonle Sap Walk

Along the Tonle Sap (a large river/lake in Cambodia) there are thousands of fishing families that live in house boats on the river.  The work is very dangerous because of the fast moving storms that hit the lake, and the people are very poor.  These two were walking along the river near the docks during my last visit to Siem Reap.  You can see the equipment and the beginnings of a new boat being constructed in the background.

Tonle Sap Houseboat

Those that live on the river Sap (often called the Tonle Sap river, but that is actually redundant, because tonle means “river” in Khmer), are some of the poorest in the nation.  Many are Cham or Vietnamese, and they scrape by living off the river.  Many orphans exist in this community because of the dangers of fishing on the lake – storms often claim lives.  Most are unreached.

Apsara Dancer Kneel

Part of an ancient form of dance, Cambodian Apsara dancing was almost lost during the time of the Khmer Rouge, but because of the efforts of those who escaped the country it has now come back as a major art form.  Most apsara dancing is done for tourists nowadays as that is where the most money can be earned.

Apsara Blessing

Apsara dancing has been a part of Cambodian culture for thousands of years.  In this specific dance, the apsara comes to bestow blessing and peace symbolized by the throwing of lotus flower petals.

Apsara Troupe

An apsara troupe performing at a tourist venue in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Double Apsara

Apsara dancing is a very ancient form of dance – most of the time now days it is only performed for tourists as that is where most of the money is to be had.  This was taken at one such tourist venue in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Wood Cutting

Took this shot during a drive back from the province to visit some friends.  This man was chopping wood outside his house, possibly to use as fuel to cook the family meal.

Apsara Dancer

Apsara dancing is a major part of Cambodian culture.  I took this in Siem Reap in the summer of 2008 while taking a short-term team to see Angkor Wat.  In Hindu and Buddhist mythology, apsaras are a female spirit of the clouds and water.  There are more than 1,860 unique apsaras carved into the stone of Angkor Wat.  When Angkor Wat was the capital of the Khmer empire, it is said that thousands of these apsara dancers entertained the king, taking their inspiration from the mythological court of the gods where celestial apsaras were said to dance.