Monday, March 02, 2009

Angkor Wat

I think Wat means temple. This weekend we got to see lots of those; but the ones we traveled 6 hours north to see were about 1000 years old. It was like stepping into another world.

Friday Afternoon, Michelle, Leap and I boarded our bus to Siem Reap. After sore bums and heat for several hours, we finally arrived to be assailed by tuktuk drivers. One of them finally got our business, and we headed out to the guesthouse where we’d spend the next couple days. His name was Sterlin I think… very smiley, as most Cambodians are. We secured his driving services for the next day, and then took off to hunt for food.

Only problem was that I’d gotten ill again since that morning. I think it was from lack of sleep. The electricity had still been out when we left, and I didn’t manage to sleep hardly at all at night because of it. I don’t want to sound fussy, but there just isn’t any airflow in my room without a fan.

Anyway, I wasn’t well enough to walk around for long… but we found a lovely little spot for dinner, and the evening started. When we got back to the guesthouse we swam for a little in the pool, but went to bed early. Big day tomorrow!

Oh, the bed was so comfy, and I slept so well that night. Next morning, we prayed for God to heal my tummy and help us enjoy the day.

We got up at 4:30 am on Saturday; our tuktuk showed up at 5:00am. We were off to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat.

When we got there, all was dark still. We found our way around by following others, and got to a spot where we could sit and watch. We didn’t see much except for the sky getting lighter, but that was still cool. It was kinda cloudy. We set off to visit the first old temple ahead. It wasn’t till an hour later that we got to get some cool shots of the soon peek-a-booing from behind some stone walls.

Most of the statues in the temples are headless. Apparently they were chopped off to be sold. I thought it was a Dagon mass re-enactment, but not quite. There were some people there selling incense to offer idols, for good luck they said… we passed by though with a ‘no thank you’. But other than that, it was so cool to walk around in these buildings that are so old; people carved each stone so carefully centuries ago. And here we can walk around, climb all over, wherever…

The 3rd temple we went to see was the one I was looking forward to. It had trees all over, growing under, over, in between rocks. It looked surreal. Like a scene from a fairy tale or something… Leap thought it hilarious that I was more excited to see the trees than the temples themselves… but you had to see it to understand!

The carvings are impressive. So much detail in everything that was done. These temples were lost for quite some time, from what I remember, and only rediscovered not that long ago, I think it was after the Khmer Rouge regime… Imagine walking in the woods one morning and coming upon these huge old buildings with magnificent trees all intertwined… that would’ve been amazing!

Oh! one of the pastors here told me this morning that there’s a carving of a stegosaurus in one of the temples. It’s been carved alongside the swans and other ordinary animals the people of the day, hardly even 1000 years ago, would see. Pretty cool. Another proof on the creation side!

We got to see wild monkeys walking around – they’re kinda scarry… one of them was walking closer and closer to me… but apparently they can be pretty nasty, so I took a pic and walked back to the path asap. There were tame elephants too. And birds making lots of cool noises, and bats, and a flying cockroach…

Before nightfall, we walked up a mountain. There’s a temple up there from where we were to watch the sunset. It’s old, like all the others, and some parts have crumbled. But it’s also very tall, with very steep stairs. It’s dangerous. Apparently they were built that way so people would have to go up on all fours as they climbed to the place of the gods. I don’t think a temple God designed would’ve been made like that. God would never force someone to come in on all fours… He always prefers our free will in worship.

We didn’t wait for the full sunset. It was kinda cloudy, and all we could see ahead were trees anyway. I’ve seen more beautiful sunsets in my life… The only difference was that we were sitting on an old relic watching it. So in the end, we decided to head back down while we could still see clearly. The sun set as we were riding our tuktuk back into town.

God answered our prayer and I felt fine walking around throughout the day. But then Michelle got sick near the end of it, and she’s just recovered overnight last night. Maybe it was a virus or something, not sure…

I’d love to post our pictures from the trip – they really speak way more than anything I could say. I’ll try to put a few of them on anyway, however much the internet connection allowed. I so wish I could’ve brought more people from back home with me!


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