The Ancient City

Trip Start Jul 10, 2007
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Trip End Mar 11, 2008


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Sunday, August 5, 2007

Siem Reap - Angkor Wat
 
If you want to travel in time or pretend that you are Lara Croft, this is the place for you.  Ty WAS Lara Croft.  I'm not sure if it is his long dark hair or his tattoos but the resemblance is uncanny.  I continuously had to remind him to stop swinging from vines or removing precious artifacts. 
Angkor Wat; a stunning ancient city, was the old capital of the Khmer Kingdom from 802 to 1295.  It claims to be the largest religious monument ever constructed.  I could not envision the size of this complex until I actually walked, well "tucked-tucked" through it with our devoted guide. It takes at least three days to visit this site. There are so many temples to explore.  Our favourite site was Ta Prohn.  As you walk in, you notice that the vines and trees have become  "stone snatchers".  They climb, slither and braid the stones between their octopus like tentacles.  The overgrowth is spectacular.
 
Angkor Wat, with its towers and the chiseled bas-reliefs on the walls depicting mythical stories, is awe-inspiring.
Monks still inhabit and practise in parts of this temple. They are somewhat easier to approach here than in Thailand and really enjoy having their pictures taken.  X and E in front of overgrown moatEntrance to Ankot thomElephants at work

Angkor Thom is also quite impressive with its reliefs of the Terrace of the Elephants and the" Terrace of the Leper King".  We can still see elephants at work around this temple.
 
Siem Reap itself is a cute town with a healthy nightlife.  It also has a funky restaurants; the Dead Fish Tower, the Blue Pumpkin and the Red Piano where Ty, I mean, "Lara Croft" stopped for cocktail breaks when he no,she was conquering evil in these temples.  Great people watching.

Siem Reap was a city where I had chosen to teach English.  However, after seeing the 200 to 300 families arriving every day from all over Cambodia and lining up in front of the Children's Dengue Treatment Hospital, it was clear to me that we could not stay.  My family's safety was my primary concern. Four thousand children died this year of dengue...worst outbreak in years.  We were already on malaria pills due to a resurgence of this disease; I did not feel like tempting fate.
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