Kit Kat Flavors

My workmates like to try new candies and chocolates and one of their favorites is the Kit Kat flavors sold in Japan. I picked up three flavors today: Strawberry, and two that are new to us, Japanese Hot Pepper, and Wasabi. They may not always like them but they enjoy trying them!

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Ghibli Museum, Mitaka, Tokyo

We have arrived in Tokyo and it’s raining. Not sprinkling but not a pouring rain: it’s a nice steady rain. Just enough to be uncomfortable. We are following through on our plan to visit the Ghibli Museum in the Inokashira Park¬†here in Tokyo.

Before leaving the airport, we have made arrangements to have our luggage delivered to the hotel and we are taking the train out to Mitaka. Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli are the creators of some of our favorite animated films, “Spirited Away”, “Ponyo”, “My Neighbor Totoro”, and “Howl’s Moving Castle”. Especially, for me, “My Neighbor Totoro”.

After a wet walk from the station, we arrive and there are lots of people here: it is clearly a popular place to visit!

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IMG_9349That’s me standing outside the entrance kiosk with a giant Totoro plush sitting inside.

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Sadly for us, one has to be twelve years old or younger to visit the “Catbus Room”. I’m including a picture of it from the website since we are not allowed to take pictures inside the museum. I know, it’s hard to see what’s going on here but it will make sense if you see the movie.

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Slim pickings at Hanoi International Airport

We have a four hour layover in Hanoi and I was hoping I could get a manicure while we wait for our 11:30pm flight to Tokyo. Oh, Denice, you silly girl, where do you get your crazy ideas? We can entertain ourselves at the following establishments, all are available on the 4th level: Lucky Cafe I, Lucky Cafe II, and Ngoc Suong. I can get a foot massage at the Lucky Cafe I but no manicure.

We’re not sure if we will be fed on our flight to Tokyo so we will grab something to eat while we wait to check in. We decided on the Ngoc Suong. I forgot there really is no “non-smoking” section in Asia. They have put us in a section where no one is smoking right now.

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National Museum, Phnom Penh

Visited the National Museum this morning. It reminds me a lot of the Egyptian Antiquities Museum in Cairo. It’s great to see statuary that is missing from the temples we have visited: the fighting apes at Koh Ker and many Vishnu statues from the Angkor area temples. There is a nice cobweb stretching between the apes’ faces and there are pedestals without items or museum tags. The layout is chronological which helps those of us still struggling with our Khmer history and there are some interesting historical maps to show Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma, Laos, and China’s territories in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries. We could not find a good inventory guidebook in the gift shop; the book we purchased features only the highlights of their collection.

They don’t allow pictures inside the museum. We purchased a “permit” for one dollar that allowed us to take pictures in the inner garden.

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One of the items I was looking forward to seeing is what I’ll call the “Vishnu wall” from Banteay Chhmar. One of the inner walls had several Vishnu carvings on it. In the late 1990s, a long stretch of the wall was looted – the entire wall was dismantled instead of the wall face just chiseled as so many are – and put on trucks bound for Thailand. The Thai authorities confiscated the six Vishnu carvings and returned them to Cambodia in January 2000. We had been told they were now in the National Museum but I didn’t find them until the end of our visit. We purchased some drinks and sat down in the “break” area. I glance up and there are two pieces of wall featuring Vishnu behind me. Argh! I guess they didn’t want to rearrange the current collection to fit them in. Disappointing. Two of the best Vishnu were left at Banteay Chmmar: they are the best looking pieces of the wall. Whatever. It was good to visit the National Museum.

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No “Cats of Cambodia” post but here’s a friendly dog…

I have seen a few cats here in Cambodia¬†(they might even be pets!) but they are extremely shy. Or I see them while driving but I’m not fast enough to get a picture.

This morning while we were walking to the National Museum I ran into two cute dogs with their owner in front of a shop. I stopped to say hi and one of them let me pet him. Well, turns out that was asking for trouble. He now wants to hang out with me – I can’t get him to stop following me. I guess personal attention is rare for him; his owner is not too thrilled. Whoops!

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Lunch at Tonle Bati

Having a local lunch in a lakeside bungalow at Tonle Bati after visiting a few temples south of Phnom Penh. Here’s Timothy relaxing in a hammock while we wait for lunch (hammocks are everywhere: no one can do anything anywhere until they have their hammock set up).

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