“American history is less than 300 years old,” I told him. “This is a whole new world to me.”
Honored Guide was required take an intensive course in history to qualify as a guide. He said the usual tourist didn’t care much about the history of the Angkor Complex.
“Most English speaking people’s idea of Cambodia is the movie Tomb Raider,” he told me.
“Well,” I told him, “I want to hear everything you have to say about Angkor Wat, life in Cambodia and anything else you want to talk about.”
Honored Guide, Trusted Driver and I embarked on a three-day dialogue about Cambodian history, government, agriculture, our families (they were very concerned that I was traveling alone), sex trafficking (huge Cambodian problem because of the poverty), tattoos, hair dye, their lives and any random topic they felt like talking about.
Their first question about America was: What is Halloween? Yeah, I was surprised too. Luckily, I had this picture of my kids in costume.
They quizzed me about Halloween for hours while walking around temples in broiling heat, dodging monkeys. Who knew trick or treating (candy!), carving pumpkins, wearing costumes, scary movies and Halloween party activities would be so interesting? We agreed that they’d come visit and I’d throw them a Halloween costume party. I have high hopes for this October. I could not have enjoyed their company more.
They took me all over the Angkor complex and introduced me to people, sights and food. It was an amazing experience. If you ever go, PLEASE let me know so I can put you in contact with Honored Guide and Trusted Driver.
Ok – Temples!!
The Bayon temple was unique even among all the other wonders of Angkor. Bayon was built at the end of the twelfth century A.D. by the Buddhist king, Jayavarman VII during the height of the Khmer empire.
The bridge to the entrance was lined with sculpture. Good guarded one side of the bridge
Evil guarded the other side.
I loved the entrance gate with the faces guarding the compass points.
Seen from a distance, it looked like a pile of rubble.
The courtyard was lovely
The hallway was shady and cool
Everywhere I looked, there were Goddess Guardians
Honored Guide was amazed that I wanted to hear everything he knew about the history of the temple and murals. “Even Cambodians don’t care about this stuff,” he told me. I was fascinated.
The murals are an amazing series of bas-reliefs telling the story of the victory of the Khmers over the Thais. The obligatory heroic and horrific battle scenes are portrayed, but I liked the pictures of the army supply trains.
I got a good workout climbing the stairs
It was worth the climb. On the upper level I could see the Bayon guardians up close. They are so impressive.