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Murray and Rebecca - South America Travel Feed

Visit our crappy Joomla site..

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Thinking we'll use this for our travel writing.. but I need some ideas from my web friends..

1. Nice Joomla image gallery/slider that can use Google Plus or Flickr folders

2. Any decent travel blogging sites.. not Facebook but can talk to Facebook

.. ?


South America

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Okay the big news is that come May 13th, Rebecca and I will be heading to South and Central America with a stop in the Middle East. We're gonna be away for 12 months! So the past few weeks have been awash with getting the house leased, the car fixed, our travel gear sorted.. chucking stuff out.. cleaning, more cleaning.. resigning.. and cleaning.

Our plans will be to fly to Dubai, where we'll spend a few nights looking around, then board the plane again to Rio. Then roughly we'll head south along coast, cross into Argentina.. go to Bariloche, up to Mendoza, Santiago.. then start heading north to Bolivia, Colombia and Central America.. with lots of diving planned along the way!

We'll be taking a MacBook Air to stay in touch with everyone along the road via and Facebook. Stay tuned!

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 April 2012 11:01

09-05-06 – Bangkok, Thailand

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Our departure from the delapidated Yangon International Airport is bitter sweet.

Anticipation at the prospect of Europe on the Horizon, relief at coming back to a country with decent healthcare, regret at having to leave a country thats left such a profound cultural impression.

The opulance of Thailand is apparent in Bangkok Air’s departure lounge, free drinks and cake and copies of The Bangkok Post, our first international press in some 3 weeks. Soon we’re in the air onboard the brand new Airbus fleet of Bangkok Air with drop-down LCD’s and even remotely decent food. An automatic travellers snobbery descends over all positive personality traits you thought you had and you find yourself smirking at the 10 day backpackers spending fortunes in tourist restaurants, rolling your eyes at the wonderment they express at seeing banana pancake vendors.

Regardless of the experience it’s soon apparent that they’re important to different people in different ways. A simple judgement based on your own experiences is not only pseudo-elitest, but it defeats the purpose of sharing your experiences with the rest of the travel community.  So we settle into accommodation and automatically notice the ambivalence to travellers that many of the operators in the Khao Sarn road district emit. After the hospitality of Burma it’s a little disarming yet in a way it clearly defines the tourism divide between the countries. Operators in Thailand have done so for decades of tourism so naturally their hospitality attitudes have changed over time. Being a new frontier on the Burma side, it’s the radiance of their personalities that they hope will bring people back to their country, despite its overbearing reputation. We settle into some accomodation and spend a few days in the first class shopping district, and take in a movie or two.

SBTRKT - "Wildfire" Video

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Great video from SBTRKT, an artist I discovered from . Not really into much of the album but I love this track at the moment. Here's the vid..

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 July 2011 12:57

20-02-06 – Temples of Angkor, Cambodia

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Legacies of the Angkorian civilisation have been left in the various ruins, starting some 7 kilometers from Siem Reap.

We purchased a three day pass for $40US and spent our first day around the temples of Angkor Thom, defined as the temples of the ‘Classical Age’. Angkor Thom was built by Jayavarman VII in the period 1181 – 1219 after the old city of Angkor was destroyed by the Champs.

Bayons purpose is still shrouded in mystery but it is a temple consisting of seemingly endless gothic tower depicting the eerily know   -all face of Avalokiteshvara, though some say the resemblance is more of Jayavarman VII himself. The lower two levels are bas-relief carvings depicting stories of everyday Cambodian life in that era, of battles with the Thais and Vietnamese, and of Hindu legend. The third level is   circular where the towers and their gothic faces surround you. It’s impossible to stand anywhere on this level, let alone the entire complex without having one of these faces staring through your soul.  

All the temples we visited displayed common points of stacked arch   systems where rocks are piled until they meet in the middle to form an   arch. Irrigation systems are evident in most temples and many have   columns reminiscent of Grecco-Roman architecture. Bayon has reminants of elegant pond systems and sophisticated stonework. In the immediate surrounding area are relics of public address podiums, prefaced by elaborate temple archways and podiums wide enough for a royal assembly.   The grounds lined with temple structures used for tightrope   performances and public trials. It’s not difficult to imagine and   assembly of the Angkor empire.

Ta Phrom is a temple made famous by the Tomb Raider movie, but in it’s time served as a Buddhist monument to the mother of Jayavarman VII. It is a square complex with a central sanctuary, several collapses   corridors and dense jungle overgrowth. It’s intricately carved awning   have gathered a green aged tinge and now shows it’s age under thick   jungle overgrowth. Much of the smalled vegetation was cleared in the restoration process yet the larger trees have now become rooted in the foundations of Ta Phrom, their removal would cause more damage than if they were simply left. The temple is dabbled in awesome shadows and the roots of the trees entwining themselves over the stone, through archways, over doors and windows, their hundred of years of growth leaving a permanent legacy on the ancient temple.

We visited Baphuon, now in a hopeless state of restoration. The Khmer Rouge destroying all restoration blueprints leaving workers with the worlds largest jigsaw puzzle. Phimeanakas, a celestial palace. Steep steps to the three levels and   topped with a spire, a representation of Mt Meru, home of Shiva, Hindu   God of destruction.   Our second day included many temples and sites in the surrounding   areas, one of which was Preah Khan, build by Jayavarman VII, serving as his residence during the construction of Angkor Thom. The complex   itself is surrounded by a 700m x 800m wall. The complex composed of   shoulder hugging corridors, blocked arches and like most temples in the region, step-through doorways. Overgrowth has again engulfed some of this temple and many of the corridors are collapses or entwined with tree roots. Preah Khan has a fantastic two-storey columned structure who’s purpose is unknown.

The approach to Angkor Wat is unmistakable. An outer moat surrounds the complex, measuring 1.5 kilometers by 1.3 kilometers, being 190 meters wide. It is crossed on approach to Angkor Wat by a sandstone causeway, insects leaving radiating impressions on the water as we cross. The outer causeway is a tunnel section with a guards promenade across the face of the grounds. Emerging from the outer causeway, the three towers of Angkor Wat become visible, complete with palm trees. The first, most notable feature of the temple is its’ symmetry. What you find on one side of the picture you will find on the other.  

We spent that afternoon on the first day just gazing at the temple from the outside, admiring the creative and technical genius of a former empire. The center tower is again Mt Meru with it’s surrounding two smaller peaks. The overall state of preservation of the monument is fantastic, despite the numbers of tourists, it’s not difficult to succumb to the atmosphere of being there at sunrise. Vast courtyards amid towering monuments, pools surrounded by column-windowed esplanades. The rising steps to Mt Meru too steep for some. The aged stone is complimented by morning shadows   and finding a solemn, quiet place to simply sit and absorb the   architecture of former empires is the only way to enjoy the legacy.


Last Updated on Monday, 11 July 2011 06:35

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