Sunday, August 15, 2010

Angkor! Day 1...the morning

I know I said I'd post Everyday to make up for not posting during vacation...but I lied. I'm lazy! I'd like to say that I was marvelously busy this weekend but mainly I slept, ate, read, and went for walks. Very exciting stuff.

Since we'd been traveling for 15 hours the previous day we decided not to get up to see the sunrise over Angkor Wat and save that for day 2. So instead we did a revised version of the Small Circuit which is about 17km and chock full of temples.  I'd like to say that if I had my notebook I'd know what every picture was....but that would be a lie. I was just so awe struck and clicked away, forgetting that if I had trouble remembering the name of the temple we were at then I'd never remember it via pictures.  It was just a bit of temple overload (in a good way). I do remember that the first few temples we did were Bayon, Bahphuon, Phimeanakas, Preah Palily, Tep Pranam, Preah Pithu, and the Terrace of the Leper King--all part of the city area of Angkor Thom.  So the following pictures are from that area.  Being at Angkor was like being in a dream, it's hard to articulate how beautiful it all is.
 Walking toward the gate.

And these photos are just of the gate and me on the gate.  I love the faces everywhere.

I'm not sure how to edit these photos. I have hundreds of photos of absolutely beautiful things, crumbling pillars, bas reliefs, spiraling do you choose?

Climbing to to the top.

Also, let me take a moment to remark upon my respectful attire. The guidebooks remind you that monks still use many of these temples and that they are in fact temples.  Rules for the appropriate dress are not strict, your shorts should reach your knees and your shoulders need to be covered (i.e., no tanks). Most people complied or wrapped thin scarves over their tanks to hide shoulders and cleavage and yet I saw plenty of people wearing tube tops and short shorts. Disrespect in holy places (whether or not it's your religion) is a huge gaffe. At least it wasn't just Americans, I saw plenty of Korean and French people dressed outside of the guidelines. 

The stairs of Angkor are terrifying. They weren't constructed to be ergonomically correct--it wasn't supposed to be easy to get to the realm of the gods. Add difficult proportions to years of erosion and crumbling and you start to get the picture.  I saw many people avoiding treacherous stairs but if you wanted the magnificent views and hidden nooks you needed to climb the stairs. And while I may be a morbid and frightened person (I've already posted my will twice in the two years since I've had this blog) I've never let that stop me from what I want to do or explore. The worst that happened to me on the trip: mosquito bites.  Not even DEET can save you!

More pictures, stories and adventures of Angkor coming soon. 


Nancy K said...

I love places like this. The carvings are wonderful. The setting in the jungle is amazing.

Josh said...