Angkor Thom

We’ve made it to Siem Reap in Cambodia and today visited Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom.  Hilary Clinton joined us but was on a slightly tighter schedule than us so we didn’t get a chance to chat with her – just saw the police and army folks keeping track of the tourists.   Both Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom are surrounded by moats and jungle.  They reminded us a bit of Machu Picchu although the Wats are much older.  It was all quite beautiful and large and intricate at the same time. Some of the Wats have fallen apart due to vandalism or forces of nature and the stones sit scattered around the Wats waiting for someone with incredible jigsaw puzzling skills to put it all back together. Particularly for Angkor Thom, every piece has bas relief carvings on them and it would only be a matter of figuring out what matches with what or wat as the case may be. Theoretically speaking of course, as the upkeep, preservation and study of the Wats take up years of occupation by Cambodians and historians, archeologists, architects and art restorers from around the world.

There is one Wat that was dismantled but the records were destroyed by the Khmer Rouge and it sits in thousands of pieces as people puzzle through clues to its reconstruction. Speaking of the Khmer Rouge, haunting all around the edges are the stories of the time under the Khmer Rouge from tuk tuk drivers, our hotel owner, our tour guide, the beggars and street sellers. Just like in Vietnam hard to imagine that people have such willingness to look forward. Or to look farther back in their history to find something that gives them a deep sense of pride. We all read “Stay Alive, My Son” by Pin Yathay lent to us by Amber before we left. Thanks Amber. It gave us perspective as we drop into this country to see their most famous tourist attraction. To be thoughtful about the Khmer people and how they find the way to move forward.

Below is a gallery of shots taken by Bow and Cate often from locations suggested by our tour guide.

DT's at Angkor Wat