Thursday, April 2, 2015

Lotuses With Breakfast

2 April 2015

 My apologies, we had a few more doctor visits, I seem to have gotten more than just dengue, and it took a while to figure out there were two different things going on.

So with the help of a nice Ecuadorian doctor, and some heavy duty antibiotics, I'm on the road back to health.  And normality.

Unfortunately, this definitely slowed us down for our last week in Cambodia.  And the country only issues 30 day visas (with one possible renewal).  So we had a whirlwind visit to this interesting country, and tomorrow we head out.  

Our hotel, the Kolab Sor (website ) has had fresh lotus blossoms every day, both a group of lotus blossoms on the reception desk as well as small individual blossoms on tables around the lobby.  And single flowers in small vases on each table in the breakfast room.  Just lovely.

The lotus flower is the symbol of Buddhism, one of the "eight auspicious symbols."  The lotus is similar to a water lily, with roots deep in the mud, then growing through water to bloom above the surface.  So symbolically, the flower is growing through the mud of materialism to the waters of experience and then on to the bright light of enlightenment.

The root is also eaten, as well as the seed pod which holds the petals.  According to the billabong guide I met in Australia, lotus seeds are very nutritious, and have saved many lives of people lost in billabongs.

In Cambodia, or at least in our hotel, the lower layer or two of petals are folded up.  I asked about this, and the reception ladies said it's just that the petals extend outward too far, that it looks better folded up.

But I like the austere aesthetic here - just a few simple white flowers in a clear vase.  Nothing wild and exotic and showy.  Simplicity and elegance.  A single flower on a table.

This is definitely a modern aesthetic - the traditional Cambodian art is complex and busy and a completely filled composition, very little negative space.  Maybe the simple and clean aesthetic, which is very serene and soothing, is a reaction to the busyness of the traditional art and architecture, even some of the furniture.  

Or maybe it's just part of the current trend for clean lines, empty spaces, just a single focal point, and voluntary simplicity.

So, tomorrow we fly to Bangkok, just for a few days.  Then we're off to Myanmar, or Burma.  It was easier to fly through Bangkok, which is something of a hub in this part of the world.  We're starting in Mandalay, then most likely taking ferries and trains and ending up in Rangoon (now called Yangon).  No idea what we'll find, and we only have a 28-day visa.  But we're both excited about exploring this country that has been hidden from world view for so many years.

Should be exciting!!!



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