Wanderlust Home and Pet Care
Angkor Archeological Park. This archeological site has been on our bucket list for a long long time. I was sooo excited to finally see the site. I found the tuk-tuk driver on the web site. He is a very nice man, safe driver and knowledgeable about many things. He stopped so we could see the rice field being hand harvested. We also tasted rice cooked in bamboo and examined a fisherman’s catch.
The goal on the first day was to see the Cambodians living in homes on stilts or floating homes of the Tonle Sap Lake. We drove to Kampong Khleang. It was the farthest away but we weren’t hassled by souvenir sellers or scams. I love this home on the right. The laundry is hanging just so and everything looks neat and tidy.
We were told to see Angkor Wat at sunset from a hill not far away. This was a mistake. Hundreds of people, we’re hot from walking up the hill and we couldn’t see Angkor Wat due to the haze. So we get up early to see Angkor Wat at sunrise. We never saw the sunrise due to cloud cover. Oh Well.
History lesson for day one:
Angkor Wat - Constructed in the early to mid 12th century about the time that Notre Dame was being constructed. Suryavarman II constructed Angkor Wat in the form of a massive temple-mountain dedicated to the Hindu god, Vishnu. It served as his state temple. The temple is the only one with a westward orientation.
Angkor Thom - Constructed in the late 12th - early 13th century about the same time as Siena’s Cathedral (Duomo). Angkor Thom (Big Angkor) is a walled and moated royal city dedicated to Buddhism and was the last capital of the Angkorian empire.
Ta Prohm - Constructed in the Mid 12th - Early 13th century same time period as the “royal” age of Cuenca Spain. Ta Prohm was originally constructed as a Buddhist monastery and was enormously wealthy in its time, boasting of control over 3000 villages. It’s fame is also derived from the movie Lara Croft - Tomb Raider.
History Lesson day two:
Banteay Srey - Constructed in the late 10th century when Chichen-Itza gained importance under the Toltecs. Banteay Srey loosely translates to citadel of the women. The temple displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art - the walls densely covered with some of the most beautiful, deep and intricate carvings of any Angkorian temple.
Bantrey Samre - constructed around the same time as Angkor Wat.
History Less day three:
Preah Khan - Constructed the late 12th century as was Rapa Nui the moai for which Easter Island is famous. It is architecturally similar Ta Prohm that was dedicated to Jayavarman VII's mother, Preah Khan is dedicated to his father.
Neak Pean - Constructed the late 12th century. A small island temple located in the middle of a man made reservoir. The temple sits at the axis of a cross or lotus pattern of eight pools thought to have healing power.
Ta Som - A Buddhist monastic temple built in the late 12th century.
Bantreay Kdei - Originally constructed over the site of an earlier temple in the late 12th and early 13th century. It functioned as a sprawling Buddhist monastery.
Our favorite area was the Bayon of Ankor Thom with it’s remaining 37 carved faces oriented to N,S,E,W. Seeing those faces carved from stone is mind blowing. The Bayon temple also had a bas-reliefs containing real-life scenes from the historical sea battle between the Khmer and the Cham. It was in amazing condition and Gary’s picture just doesn’t capture the grandeur of the relief.
Angkor Wat is very well known. It is very large complex with some great relief's as well. I, however, preferred the smaller more intimate temples with far less touristy. You could almost feel the old energy of an ancient civilization.
I have a fascination with doors. The archeology park was a dream come true for me. Just imagine the Kings, monks or wealthy merchants that passed through those doors. If the doors could only speak.
We are trading in the large and heavy camera for a pocket size. We will carry the new one with us everywhere so we won’t miss the food shots. Gary & I went to a restaurant training young people for the restaurant business. They had some very creative menu items one of which was beef with red ants. The plate was decorated with small piles of ants and then the ants were mixed into the beef dish. It was a very good tasting. Last night we were on “Pub Street” having tapas. The last place had a green papaya salad with dried snake. It was like eating beef jerky. Thank you Karen for shipping the compact camera to us. I look forward to posting our food shots.
Then there was the Apsara Theater with dinner included. We watched traditional Cambodian dancing. The instruments and singer hurt our ears - not use to the screeching sounds. But it would be a boring world if we were all the same. I wouldn’t be traveling and writing these memories. I just learned that once the dance outfit is on there is no way to go to the bathroom -yikes.
The Cambodians staff at the hotel were so friendly. They would try to teach us some of their words. They joked around with Gary. In fact most of the Cambodians we have meet have been very friendly. They are very proud of the Angkor Archeological Park. Some families come to the park before dusk and have a picnic by the ruins. These people also have a great deal of patience when it comes to the traffic. There are no traffic lights or stop signs. At times our tuk tuk was driving against the traffic, always cutting off corners and motorcycles/scooters everywhere. To cross an intersection the vehicle would just keep easing in the direction it wanted to go. Never saw an accident but then no one moves very fast in this kind of traffic. Even though the poverty level is high it wasn’t the “on top of each other” living like it was in the Philippine cities. Everyone looked clean and happy. Trash would be my biggest complaint. But you see that with many countries.
Our 45 minute flight to Phnom Penh leaves 11/26/2014 at 3:25pm - a whole new adventure.