Tuesday, March 4, 2014


I didn't actually get to see Angkor Wat proper until the latter part of my stay in Cambodia.  The name is used to denote the entire complex, but it isn't accurate.  The total area and extend of the entire temple complex is impressive.  Serious temple visitors take a full week to see them all.

By the time I got there, it felt surreal, having to dodge around tourist groups.  I remember thinking "What am I doing here?".  I had bought a 3 day temple pass but only had time for 1 1/2 days for viewing. 

To be honest, I wasn't as wowed by it as I thought I would be.  I preferred some of the further out temples more (Bakong, Beng Melea, Banteay Srei, Banteay Samre -- 40 - 60 km away from Angkor Wat) and it is of those the photos are of below.  A lot fewer people, time to just linger without being shoved.  Worth the effort to get there.  Perhaps had I started here, before I got into the heavy stuff, my impressions may have been different. 

Either way it was important that I did something more touristy "normal" to balance out the rest.  It was too easy to feel down and start forgetting how to be joyful after hearing and seeing difficulties every day.  In the end, it was what I needed as I ended up sharing a guide with a great guy from Berlin and found myself laughing again. 

While we were all eating lunch, I received a complement from our Guide after he had listened in on my conversation with the German fellow about what I experienced in Phnom Penh, the background, conditions and what was next for the garment workers.  He stopped eating and looked at me for a few seconds, which caught my attention, and said simply "You know a lot.".   That made me smile. 

It doesn't mean anything has changed for the better, but I feel knowledge is a necessary start as similar issues can be found in other countries and if I am to walk down this road, I might as well get accustomed to how the non sugar coated realities really feels like. 

Those aren't rain droplets, they were water bugs.

Very happy I decided to get those rabies shots.
Was charged by a dog and in the outer villages,
stray dogs, some quite sick, were everywhere.
Remember the pre-shots aren't a cure,
they serve to buy you time before you get the post exposure 2.

On our way out of a temple complex, we came upon these kids.
They were getting ready to jump in and have some fun.
The water was filthy. 
I don't know that you could have paid me enough to go in. 
So many health issues can be solved just with clean water --
That 80% of the country doesn't have.
Lunch time view of water lily pond.

More lunch time views.

This restaurant hosted us and I was
so happy they had cold coconut water.
Not all coconuts available for drinking are refrigerated.

I know I need a new camera but if you look closely,
you'll see a few kids working in that swampy water,
harvesting roots of lilies, being bolstered by old inner tubes.
Not surprising why I hardly ate more than a 1 1/2 meals a day during my stay.
Those little people were working so hard. 
I found the children in Cambodia to be super tough.  They have to be.

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