Sunday, January 20, 2013

Traveling Cambodia

Landing in Phnom Phen put me into a world of which I had never been.  The language was foreign, with a little English spoken, streets are dirty and filled with tuk tuks, motos, cars and even buses. There is very little color except for the temples or wats, which are abundant. Hot and sweaty I learned to motivate from a quite very rural landscape to the troubled city in Cambodia. The first morning and breakfast I met two lovely women.  Jill must have seen my dilemma and took me under her wing for the morning. I'd never traveled a lone, let a lone in this sort of huge city.  We walked to the National History Museum, but first learning to cross the street, read a map and find my way back!

Khmer words:
Hello - sasa det
thank you - Ah-kun
yes - cha or ja
no - akte or te
stop - chop
here- nee

A relatively quite morning street!

My little oasis against the harsh noisy world was this guesthouse with courtyard greenery, shared bathroom and modest bedroom.  No AC but a was hot.  This hotel is across from Tousleng, the Genocide Museum.  It has become quite the tourist attraction.  I noticed don't have one picture of it and couldn't go inside.  Several people asked if I was going to the killing too sad I said as I touched my heart. They knew. Except they've been told it was not the Khmer Rouge who did this but the Americans. You can almost see the strands of barbed wire across the fence top behind the tuk tuk.  This had been a school turned into an interrogation center.  As with all communist countries they kill those who can think for themselves and leave the people who will follow.  They are trying to overcome this and making very slow progress.  If the current Cambodian Peoples Party would only take care of it's people.... This is a land of opportunities for growth and entrepreneurial ventures and such great poverty and it will take much time for it to mend.  With more tourists, it has become popular to beg, sending children out for money.  I don't give money to children as they never benefit.  I will give them food.  I will give the older grandmas money as they have suffered through so much and still have to wonder if they will have a home to live. It also got very tiring bartering for a tuk tuk.  What a lovely system of transportation.  The locals can ride for maybe 75 cents, toursts they start at $3 or $5 at night.  It became so common. " I'm going to the Russian Market. yes. how much? 3 dollar. no too much. how much you pay? 1 dollar. but it is 3 kilometers! no it's 1 kilometer, I can walk it in 15 minutes but you can get there in 5 to 10 minutes. oh, how much you pay? 1 dollar. 2 dollar. no 1 dollar. 1 1/2 dollar.  I begin to walk away.  OK 1 dollar."  This is still a good deal for them....1 dollar in gas lasts all day and lots of trips.

Wats/Temples and Buddhist schools are prevalent with sepulcures. Food vendors set up outside the wall.

The Kings Palace
The king is their god and has been a part of their tortured past.  They view him as a benevolent leader and mourn his death.

Kings burial monument


Independence Monument signifying the first time Cambodia was not under foreign rule  It's really gorgeous all lit up at night

Though this doesn't really seem to be a religious society the young boys become monks and are fed and given an education. Many leave the monk-hood later, but it is felt they add to the society a spirit and gentleness that is lacking  

Vietnam helped Cambodia overturn French rule.  This is about the only time they ever cooperated and are arch enemies usually.  But this monument commemorates a time the actually strove together...and has become to mean other things as well.

Temple/Wats are everywhere.  I've decided they are to protect the people as the monks pray, who  knows?  The people of Cambodia generally live at a survival subsistence level and it's hard to see anything else when one is hungry.  The government really does not help the masses, but have the big vehicles and nice houses.  The disparity between rich and poor is so obvious.
Just couldn't believe this dress in the middle of it all...
This was my favorite shop near Jars of Clay Cafe and the Russian Market

 The street infront of the Russian Market

 Cambodian Silk on the Artist Street 178
 Silver work - Artist Street 178
 Carving Artist Street 178

This little guy wanted his picture taken.  He was so cute.  It blew his mind when I showed him his picture in my camera

These are all pictures from the Russian Market.  You can tell there is a little bit of everything here from veggies to silk to used motorcycle parts and jewelry, small dark hallways and some opening on to the street.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Snowflake Shawl

 As my first posting for the new year I thought the snowflake organic cotton shawl would be nice.  This shawl measures 70 x18 inches with 5 inch fringe.  There was an 8.5 inches difference in length and 2 1/4 inch shrinkage in width, and 1 inch shrinkage in the fringe.  These are off the loom measurements.  On the loom it was 22 inches wide in the reed, woven to 80 inches plus 10 inches each for fringe.  So you can see there is quite a bit of take up and shrinkage with the 10/2 unmercerized cotton and the advancing twill pattern. Length 12.5%. Width 18% and the fringe was about 15% with twisting and wet finishing.


This is a detail of the edge and twisted fringe

detail of snowflake pattern white on white

The next project finished is the towel using a snowflake advancing twill pattern using natural organic cotton warp and olive organic colorgrown cotton weft.  These are taken from the front and back to show the difference in shading. They started out 22" in the reed and woven to 30" for and 18x24 inch towel..  The hems will be rather small on these towels.