Sunday, March 2, 2008

Cambodia - Siem Reap

Siem Reap is the site of many many temples in Cambodia. By far the most famous is Angkor Wat built between 1112-1152. It is an absolutely massive enclosure which was always a temple. We cross a bridge to get across the moat which is 190 metres wide and forms a giant rectangle 1.5km x 1.3km wide. The most famous thing are these bas reliefs depicting a story about a King and his battles - all fictitious. Angkor Wat was discovered overtaken by the jungle in 1860.The temple itself was piled metres deep in bat guano (poop). It was short-listed for the new 7 wonders of the world. Unfortunately, the temples in Cambodia are built largely of limestone and are starting to fall apart. We feel fortunate to have seen them.

We also visited Angkor Thom which is another temple but inside these walls there was an entire city. Unlike Angkor Wat, we could climb into this temple and the light was amazing as it was late afternoon. We did the setting up of the photo so it looks like we are kissing the Buddha. Next we went to another temple where they filmed Lara Croft and The Tomb Raider. This temple has been taken over by these huge trees and the trees have poked their way through the foundations of the temple to the point that the trees themselves now hold up the temple walls. Our guide this time had been born in 1981, the youngest of 9. His entire family had survived the KR except one cousin and a grandfather. The family unit is so strong here that this would have been horrendous for his family to incur such losses.

We returned to our hotel which had a great 30 m pool and got our first exercise in a long time. Anna and John had slowly recovered over the course of 3 days.


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