Sharing's Caring

I'm sure I'm not the only person who does this but next time you're in a decent hotel collect the toiletries, tea, coffee, biscuits, fruit and pens up and put it in your suitcase so they replace it the next day. Then at the end of your stay put it all in a bag with your small change and give it to someone living on the street or just leave it outside the hotel.

   Just one days collection of goodies from the wonderful Hotel Leela in Bombay.

 

Just one days collection of goodies from the wonderful Hotel Leela in Bombay.

Cambodia: Street Markets

Two places will always draw me as a photographer. Railway stations and markets. It's there that you will find all humanity and a photo opportunity at every step. 

Every Cambodian village and town has a produce market ranging from five or six stalls in the villages like Bantay Chamar to the vast Russian Market in Phnom Penh and Cambodia Market in Siem Reap.

Vegetarians won't fair well in Cambodia, the diet is mostly meat or fish based and large areas of the market are set aside for the butchers and fishmongers.

One noticeable thing about markets in Cambodia is the (relative) lack of smell. The animals are butchered and sold the same morning and there is no need for preservingspices. The meat is as fresh as you can get and much of the produce is still alive. I saw countless bowls of live turtles and catfish, even cages of dogs.

The market stalls are operated by the wives. There are no prices on show and everything is bargained for.

 

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Cambodia: Paddy Field Workers

I was in Cambodia during the first cut of the rice harvest when the farmers thin out the crop before the rains come. We hired a motorbike and rode lost through the countryside around Kampot visiting monasteries and hot, humid caves of sleeping bats and stopped to watch families working in the fields to beat the monsoon.

I took a lot of portraits of this guy as he took a break from work. He reminded me of a fifties cowboy matinee idol. These shots were taken in an open field as the first monsoon clouds swept by, hence the very different lighting.

Cambodia: The Healing Rain

The monsoon was late coming to Cambodia this year. In the south the monks chanted rain prayers while torpid bullocks lazed in browning paddy fields. And then of course it rained and rained...

A little girl uses the downpour to wash herself and then her puppy.

Cambodia: Sak Yant Tattoos

Yantra or Sak Yant tattooing has its origins in South East Asian animist religions and pre dates Buddhism.

Commonly seen in Thailand and Burma but less so in Cambodia the stylised calligraphy offers protection, power and other benefits to the bearer. In return they must obey specific rules relating to their chosen design. These can include never eating left over food, not walking under washing lines or slandering someones mother. A fairly mixed bag.

It is becoming increasingly popular among young monks in Cambodia, although one novice admitted to me that his somewhat western looking winged design was actually a transfer!

Whilst not essentially part of buddhism the tattooing is often carried out by a buddhist monk who uses a long needle and a personalised ink recipe of anything from palm oil to charcoal, snake venom and even (allegedly) human remains.

Here are just a couple I saw. The gentleman on the left is the charming 'Mister Nan' a senior monk at Banteay Chmar Wat. The young monk on the right has a series of spirals which represent the path to enlightenment.