This blog is the continuing dialog between two faces of rilla (most of the time!) Rant and rave with us. Leave a comment. Click on the 'nickname' button if you don't have a Google ID already.
NOTE: All my photos and posts are copyrighted and may not be used by anyone, elsewhere without my permission.

My Pic Of The Day

My Pic Of The Day
San Francisco Cable Car

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

To All a Dry Christmas!

'Twas the night before...Click here to read more.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

56 - Ole!

If only I could dance like...that!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

55 — Through a Spanish Window or Door

Ah! Spain! The sights, the sounds, the food, the wine.

In June, we spent three glorious weeks traveling through the country, starting out in Madrid, driving through Andalucia...(Read more, click here.)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

54 -- Here There Be Heroes and Giants and Men Made of Stinky Cheese


…would you find children’s writers who loom larger than life...Click here to read more

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

53 -- Weaving Wormholes, Making Magic

I spent the last week in Boyds Mills, Pennsylvania.
Where? No, the map doesn't know where it is...but the magic does.
The Highlights Whole Novel Workshop for Fantasy, in Boyds Mills, Pennsylvania.
(Read the rest of this post here)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010

51 -- Writer's Day Block

Yesterday was the SCBWI-LA's Writer's Day and the combined creative talent seated in that one room was enough to give little me writer's block...(Read more here.)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

50 -- Scene in Cambodia (6) Tomb Raiders

Served up by Netflix — Tomb Raider!

Yes, I did actually put this movie into my queue…for a reason.(Click here to read the rest of this post.)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

49 -- Scene in Cambodia (5) Mystical Mountains

Well, February has snuck up on me. It’s that sort of month. (Click here to read more.)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

48 -- Scene in Cambodia (4) Dietary Restrictions

So. I’m on a diet. Invariably, the holiday season has its tradeoffs. A time of reckoning (Click here to read more...)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

47 -- Scene in Cambodia (3) Water World

It has rained here in southern California for five days in a row.
The lawn is a pond creeping across the patio and lapping at our back door.(Click here to read the rest of this post)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

46 -- Wonderland in my Backyard

Sunny and seventy-four, Sunday in early January. The desert calls. (Read more...)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

rillas rants have become rillas rambles

Our blog has a NEW HOME!

Click Here to visit where rilla and Rilla will hang out from now on. Welcome to the houswarming party!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

45 -- Scene in Cambodia (2) -- Roaming the Ruins

Note: this is an ongoing series about our trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia in December, 2009. Part I of this account can be found here.

Big plans for our first full day in Siem Reap. My trusty guidebook* offered the following advice - Angkor temples generally have four entrances, one facing each cardinal point. The eastern entrance is the main one most of the time as it faces the rising sun, symbolizing birth and beginnings.

Not so Angkor Vat. Its main entrance faces West, the end of the path, death.

What does this mean to archeologists and historians? Controversy! What did it mean for us? It's better to visit Angkor Vat in the afternoon when the light is best for photography.

So, first thing in the morning, we engaged a Tuk Tuk driver to take us to Angkor Thom, instead.

First stop, the government ticket counter to acquire the necessary temple pass.

"Angkor" means "city" and "Thom" means "great" or "large." This was indeed the largest city of the Angkor period holding possibly up to a million inhabitants at its height.

As with most of the Angkor structures, it is surrounded by a vast moat. Crossing over the moat on elaborate causeways symbolizes the departure from the earthly and entrance into the heavenly. And these causeways sure make you believe it--they are that impressive.

At Ankgor Thom, the bridge is edged on one side by a line of devas (gods)

holding the body of a massive many-headed snake or naga.

The right is adorned with a similar row of asuras or demons.

The significance of these carvings is to be found in the tale of the Churning of the Ocean of Milk, a popular one around Angkor, and taken from Indian Hindu mythology.

The story goes that after fighting for a thousand years with the demons,

the gods

turned to Vishnu, the Preserver, for advice. He suggested that they cooperate with the demons instead of fighting them and work together to churn the ocean of milk for the pot of amrit or the nectar of immortality that lay within its depths.

This the gods did, using the enormous serpent, Vasuki, as the rope and Mount Mandara as the churning pole. However, when the mountain began to sink into the ocean, Vishnu, reincarnated as a tortoise, supported it on his back. Many treasures came out of the churning other than the nectar of immortality. Among the most popular in the Khmer culture are the Apsaras or celestial dancing nymphs.

You see these beautiful prancing women carved into stone everywhere,

and they are the inspiration for the current day "Apsara dancers."

At the Bayon, the temple smack dab at the center of Angkor Thom, we were introduced to the Khmer art of bas-relief which found its epitome at Angkor Vat. But that will remain a tale for another day.

Although scenes of war are the predominant theme for the most impressive carving at the Bayon,

I most enjoyed the depictions of city life.
Here, spectators gamble on the outcome of a cockfight.

And, here, they gamble on the outcome of a wild boar fight.

OK, enough gambling, this is my favorite carving of all --
a sanyasi (holy man) runs for his life from a tiger...up a tree!

The Bayon temple at Angkor Thom, built something like a hundred years after Angkor Vat, is one of the few Buddhist rather than Hindu Angkor temples. And, one of the most alluring aspects of the temple, is the depiction of smiling faces in the massive towers or "gopuras."

Angkor Thom encompasses an area of about three hundred and sixty acres. Walking and tuk tuks aren't the only way to get around.

And while some enjoy a leisurely stroll around the massive complex, others recline in style.

The sheer size of the place is emphasized by what remains of the royal palace--its entrance and base. These take the form of two terraces, with steps leading to the long gone wooden palace that was once adorned with masses of gold. These are The Terrace of the Elephants,

and the The Terrace of the Leper King.

Who was the leper king?

Again controversy abounds. Some think that King Jayavarman VII, builder of Angkor Thom, himself was a leper, one reason given for his interest in building hospitals. He built over a hundred hospitals around the country! Unfortunately, this theory is not historically supported.

At the base of this terrace, an older carved wall was unearthed. When the builders created the new grander terrace, they left the original in place behind it. Thank goodness they did! Now, a winding corridor between the two walls reveals its former glory.

Well, even though this was winter in Cambodia and the locals insisted it was the "cold" season, the sun was hot. These residents of Angkor Thom seemed to have boundless energy,

but we did not. It was time to call it a morning, return to the hotel for lunch and an early afternoon siesta before embarking on the journey to see what it was we had traveled all this way for -- Angkor Vat.

* Angkor Cambodia's Wondrous Khmer Temples by Dawn Rooney