Monday, April 30, 2007

More from Angkor Wat

As promised, here's a pair of pictures from the Temples at Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia. For those who have never been, the temples mark the heart of one of the largest empires the world has ever known. The most famous temple, Angkor Wat, is just outside the city walls of Angkor Thom, which houses dozens of ruined temples and the royal palace, among other things. There are a few super famous places there, including Angkor Wat which has thousands of people crawling around it all day long and the temple which was used in the movie Tomb Raider, known to English-speakers at the "Tree Temple". Fact is, there are loads of temples and loads of trees growing in and around many of the temples in Siem Reap. So I present to you two pics that showcase just how intimate and remote some of the temples can be... even though Angkor Wat and the Lara Croft temple are crammed with people, most of the ruins lie far off the tour-bus circuit, yet remain very accessible.


PS - the biggest gathering of Bedard-type siblings in history took place on Saturday, which was amazing! My brothers and sister and I hadn't been together in 364 days (since my older brother got married), and we were there with Justine, her sister, my brothers' wives and their sisters! The nine of us were so loud and stayed up so late... this is what we missed while we were travelling and is why we're glad to be back. HOO RAY!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Elephant Plays Harmonica and Dances

Two videos for all you loyal readers out there. Scroll down and hit play to see a video of Justine freaking out about a King Cobra, and then click here to see an elephant playing the harmonica and dancing in Thailand.

King Cobra goes up a waterfall...

This is the video I alluded to in a previous post.

I was sitting on these rocks at Khao Sok National Park in southern Thailand, when Justine yells out to me. But I'm near a small cascade, so I can't hear what she's hysteric about. Moments later, I notice a HUGE king cobra, swimming down the river, just a few feet away from me. While Justine shot this video, I took a picture that confirms that indeed, this is a king cobra (see the post linked to above).

Here it is, in all its 2-m long glory!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Angkor Wat Photo

Many more of these to come as we continue to settle in back in the States. We'll also do more formal blogging again soon, but in the mean time, we hope you're enjoying the pictures from the last three days. Today's photo is of the famous Angkor Wat, an ancient temple in the middle of Cambodia. Nobody knows what really went on there, but there's all kinds of Buddhist and Hindu symbols and figures everywhere (including weird hybrids, like a Shiva with Buddha's head and an 8-armed Buddha!). The temples were the center of a vast empire that suddenly stopped flourishing and was rediscovered (by the west, anyway) in the mid 1800's by French explorer, Henry Mouhut. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Same sea lion pup as yesterday, but while she was playing fetch with a stick (by herself!). Did you know sea lions nest in the bushes of sand dunes? Me neither.

Rare yellow-eyed penguins on the S. Island of NZ.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Kiwi Crossing, next 1250 km

The obligatory photo from NZ.

Justine is somewhere in this picture. Can you find her?

On the way to Franz Josef Glacier on the S. Island of NZ. That's it coming down the mountain in the back. The water behind me is a glacial river. Very cool ('scuse the pun).

The face of Franz Josef. See the cave at the bottom middle? That's where the river comes out of. Stunning, but the glacier has receded tons in the last few years. Less than 50 years ago (maybe less... I forget the date) the place I took this picture from would have been covered by the glacier.

Sea lion pup from the Catlin's coast (the south-east coast of the S. Island).

Low-res. image of a sea lion pup with his pop.

Fixed the video

in this post from a few days ago. It shows how the wind was so crazy on our Lake Trek on the N. Island of New Zealand. It's only 6 seconds, but it's my favorite video!


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Made it home

Back in America after eight months!

Just a quickie here to let you all know that our really long flight from Christchurch-Auckland-Sydney-Los Angeles went well. In summary: United Airlines is worthless for service and food quality when compared to any of the Asian airlines we flew and they lost our bags (or didn't get them from Air NZ) somewhere. Who knows where they are, but our lives -- the bags we've been living out of for 8 months w/o ever losing them on dozens of flights, bus/train rides, etc. -- are simply gone. And did they compensate us like Singapore Airlines (who gave my sister cash on the spot plus a nice baggie of goods when they lost her bag 4 months ago)? Of course not! We only got a really crummy baggie of "goods" whose only useful item was a toothbrush. And this is only after we had to fill out a claim with one person for the missing bags and had to go seek out another office in which to complain and beg for the goods! And this leaves out the whole part about how their service sucked onboard and they lost our veggie meals (three of them!) somewhere between check-in (do you have us down for vegetarian meals? Oh yes... it's right here) and getting on the plane (are you sure you ordered vegetarian? yes. Then prove it. Where's your ticket? Uhhh.... it's not on my ticket but we've been vegetarians for 8 years).

Oh, United, you've lost our business forever!


PS - Go Sharks!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Never any time to blog...

We're wrapping things up here in New Zealand, and getting ready to come back to America. There will be ample postings then, so keep your browsers pointed here for further updates and pictures.

For now, a brief summation of our last week.

We walked the 60+ km Kepler Track in Fiordland national park on the S. Island of NZ. It was an excellent walk through alpine scenery and we were visited by several of the only (and very rare) alpine parrot in the world, the Kea. Pics to follow.

The day before we started Kepler, we walked 12 km around the famous Milford Sound and up to Key Summit to see some rare alpine plants and alpine bogs. Really cool.

After Kepler, we spent time on the Catlin's Coast in SE S. Island, and today are in Dunedin. We've been spending time watching sea lions on the beach (and avoiding being chased by them!) and watched a NZ horror/comedy flick today called Black Sheep. It's gold, Jerry! An evil farmer is experimenting with genetically modified sheeps (which outnumber New Zealanders 10 to 1), which go crazy and start eating people and turning them into nasty ware-sheep. Pure comedy.

We'll be back in America on April 11th, my birthday, which will last for something like 40 hours this year as we leave Christchurch around 6 am and we land at LAX at 10 am the same day! Weird.