Monday, April 24, 2006

Khmer Craziness

Three days of temples, temples temples.
I am completely in awe with the magnificence and splendor of these massive works of ancient art, architecture and ingenuity.

Created from the 9th to the 13th Centuries the temples of Angkor and the surrounding area are nothing short of spectacular. The ancient Khmer people erected these temples to host various deities (Hindu and Buddhist)and did a grand job of it. No two temples are the same and all are in different states of ruin.

I will break it down to my favorites.

Angkor Wat is largest religious structure in the world and it hosts numerous sandstone carvings and statues and a grandeur surely worthy of the national symbol of Cambodia.


The Temple of Bayon is a unique marvel of tight mazes and small corridors inside and more than 200 gigantic faces looking in the cardinal directions on more than 37 towers on the outside. The outer walls of the temple display a wonderful array of carvings depicting the history and daily life of the Khmer's who lived there.

Bas-relief carving on the outer wall

So many faces

The stone heads are said to resemble the king of the time, talk about keeping a close watch... almost creepy.

From an inner corridor


To add to the strange faces watching from every direction there was conveniently a fortune teller who told Dan and my fortunes for a whole $1. Apparently I have a 6 colour diamond (this is good and rare) and will be a "billionaire!" He exclaimed this strangely as some tourists were walking by and it conveniently peaked their attention. Co-incidence? So he says I will have a good marriage and a long life, at least that I could have some faith in. He also said I was lazy... sure lazy enough to go to the trouble of saving enough to travel for half a year half way around the world!

Think abandoned temple left to the wilds of the jungle for 700 hundred years... think piles of rubble with tree roots splitting huge walls apart... ok if that didn't work think Laura Croft in Tomb Raider because it was filmed here. Ta Prom is a jumble of blocks hardly standing together in places but an amazing feat of what happens when nature takes over. Many of the outer walls have been demolished by encroaching jungle and in the middle there is a huge tree absolutely dominating a whole section of the building. I absolutely loved it. This is what I was dreaming of when I thought of Angkor.

Wow is not enough...

So cool

Banteay Srei is the famed jewel of artistry for Angkor. The sandstone carvings are so intricate and well preserved that it is a marvel that they were not carved last year. The temple, quaintly and mysteriously small in comparison to it's neighbors is endlessly intricate in the display of gods and demons, dancing women and mystical creatures.

This very 3D carving was created some 700 years ago! What happens when the artisan slips and breaks a piece off?

The Tiny Temple with all the splendor

I would hate to run into one of these...

But it's great to run into the ever friendly Monks

The three very expensive days we spent here were amazing and the people though most were pushing goods; water, postcards, bracelets, scarves and all other tourist wear... the locals that we were able to talk to were very friendly and helpful. What struck me is that the small children who often push post cards and books in your face and follow you to get you to buy, who are severely persistent, know a surprising amount about Canada...

"Where you from?...Canada?...Ottawa is capital...Canada has ten provinces and three territories...In Canada they speak two languages French and English"
Maybe even more than some of our neighbors to the south?

Ok but now seriously, it would be a crime not to view the rest of my pictures I know that you will find favorites, it was hard enough just picking a few!

So now we are at the end, just four days of lazing at the beach in Sihanoukville on Cambodia's cost then the travel to Bangkok...

2 days later...(my post refused to publish the time I wrote the first part)

We are staying at Cloud Nine on Serendipity beach... sound wonderful? Well it is.
Last night after a day of traveling from Siem Reap to here there was a huge storm that woke us up. It was unreal.
Strobe light skies and peals of thunder... utterly mesmerizing. Sometimes you could see the bolt form in the sky, the ions reaching for one another, a long jagged streak. Then almost instantaneously a crackle that resounds and tingles through your skin followed by the BANG!...RUMBLE, RUMBLE, RUMBLE! This always brings a mysterious smile across my face even though the volume of the crack makes me jump and curl my whole body inwards as if this will somehow protect me. We stared wide-eyed at the storm directly overhead for an hour or so, it was so amazing. The rain was so intense that it ate up the flashlight beam after only a couple of meters, the mist from the wind dampened everything. It was one thing to be in our bungalow and watch but I still remember my fear and vulnerability when we were caught in the storm on Ko Adang Island in Southern Thailand.


At 6:43 AM, Blogger alter ego said...

Absolutely divine. What an amazing post Breanne. I love the faces, the temples, the big ass tree root. That's so cool.

I miss you a ton dearie and can't wait until you come back!!


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home