Falling in Love with Angkor Thom
No, Angkor Thom is not the name of a guy who hangs around Angkor Wat. It's not the Cambodian equivalent of Indiana Jones. It means "Big City" and it's part of the Angkor Wat temple complex.
Being raised on Indiana Jones, I have a thing for temple ruins. If I weren't so lazy and squeamish about creepy-crawlies, I might have gone into archaeology or some such thing. But due to my love of comfort, this is the closest I'll probably come to Indiana Jones-esque adventure–being driven to temple ruins in an air conditioned car. Good enough for me!
I'm glad we went to Angkor Wat first, because this way I got to enjoy Angkor Thom's Bayon and Ta Prohm in the beautiful late afternoon sun. The entrance was entrancing, with it's greenery and welcoming committee. (Click on any photo to enlarge it.)
Here's some video to bring it to life. Or make you motion sick. They're not mutually exclusive.
The Bayon is a temple that's made of 54 towers with 4 faces each. The faces are supposed to belong to Avalokiteshvara, Mahayana Buddhism's compassionate Bodhisattva, or maybe they're a combination of King Jayavarman VII and Buddha. But I found the faces to be not immediately obvious.
Even before we reached the part with the faces, I loved the ruins. Hence the rousing theme music.
Mary's saying I'm creeping around with my video camera and missing photo opportunities, but when I go to pose, I end up getting bored and videotaping anyway.
There's actually a face visible in this next clip, but I didn't see it at the time.
And then I found them, and I couldn't get enough of all the faces!
Whoever the model is, like Rita Hayward, he gives good face.
After we finished, we decided to refresh ourselves with the water from some lovely, huge green coconuts. Here in Sri Lanka, we call it "Thambili". I don't know what Cambodians call it.
As they had done in other places where we'd stopped, the children swarmed trying to sell us things. They didn't try to grab our wallets or pick-pocket, and they weren't begging, but they weren't in school either, and they all preferred U.S. dollars. ($1 = 4,000 Cambodian Riels, the math is just easier with dollars.)
When I had bought all the doo-dads I wanted from them, I told the rest no thank you. But this little one came up to me and said "Where are you from?" I told her I was from America. She then said "If I tell you the capitol, the name of your president and the population, will you buy?" Of course! In her little voice she rattled it all off, including Obama's VP Joe Biden. I bought another item from her, but we were still fascinated. Allow me to introduce you to this little 6 year old:
Then we were off to Ta Prohm, which means "Ancestor Brahma" where the trees have made their own additions to the temple's decor. I think they've improved it! It's a beautiful dance between nature's and humanity's artistry and I wanted to join in.
Mary thought I'd set my camera to a sepia setting when she took this for me.
Finally, we found THE tree that is in all the photos and was seen in Tomb Raider! Our work here is done!
To reward ourselves for all of our adventuring, we took naps, got massages, relaxed and wined and dined the rest of the trip away. Wheeee!
If you'd like to see more of the 199 photos taken on the trip, let me know! I'll send you a link.