March 28, 2012

Exploring the Angkor Temples

Laguna Blanca School in Cambodia (Cambodia & Laos Highlights Tour)

Days 4 & 5

Yesterday we woke up really early to go to Siem Reap. After settling in at our new hoot,l we ventured to the temples. The ones we saw were considered the smaller of the complex, but several were fairly large. These temples reminded me of the ones in Tikal, Guatemala; they were large, mossy, intricate, and just plain awesome. We were taught that some were made in 6 years, and when you think about it, that's really a short amount of time to build something like that, especially all the way back in the 12th century. After exploring, we had free time to go to the market and bargain for cheap local products. It was very hot and sweaty in there. 

Once we were all fished with spending our money, we went to an orphanage. The man that started the orphanage was inspirational. As a child he was left to be the sole care taker for his family because his parents had both passed away. Because of traumas such as that, he decided to take in children who were/are in similar situations as he once was himself. Now housing 80 children, his orphanage is seemingly successful. The children are taught to make shadow puppets to carryon the traditional craft as well as support the orphanage. The kids taught us how to make the extremely detailed puppet, of course we all had a difficult time and were not nearly as good as them. :) Many of us purchased the pre-made puppets to support them. The kids were absolutely adorable we watched them put a little show on with the puppets, Dalton played volleyball with a few of the boys, and in the end the kids sang American childhood songs such as If Your Happy and You Know It. Overall it was a great first day.

Today was another early morning and we woke up when the sun had literally not risen yet: 4:15 am. We then slowly got ready to go to the greatest temple of all--Angkor Wat. Once there it was pitch black and all of us were slightly delirious. There were hundreds of tourists there as well, but somehow we got the best seat in the house right in front all to our selves to watch the glorious sunrise behind the giant ruin. The view was amazing!! The temple was a silhouette with the sun; it seemed almost surreal. 

Once it was completely light out, we set out to explore the surrounding complex. Inside the temple there was so much detail it was crazy. Every wall had a carving that probably took years to make. There were different rooms and amphitheater type areas. The buildings seemed to go on forever upwards and outwards. Elise, Lauren, Dalton, Ryan and I found  a great spot to sit and take it all in. The sun was red at that moment just behind the massive temple. Everyone else set out to the other side only to discover that monkeys would open your water bottle and bite your pants. 
Bayon Temple

Unfortunately, we had to leave and set out for another adventure. We missed to last Elephant ride :) but were able to book the next ride for tomorrow morning. We then went to Bayon, which is the temple of Angkor Thom with the faces carved in the top. It was absolutely amazing, Shertzer says its his favorite and I'd have to agree; it was spiritual in a way and I felt it was enigmatic--how is it that so long ago this amount of detail, this high off the ground in such was crafted into perfectly carved faces and reliefs? It blows my mind! 

Well so far thats it for our last two days in Siem Reap. What we have done for the past two days? Nothing much, right? Nah! this trip has been amazing! I LOVE IT!!!

Looking forward to our next adventures,

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Sounds like an incredible spiritual journey you are having. Experiencing the magnitude of the Sun awakening while on a temple can catch your breathe. Now that you have experienced this twice (Tikal with me & now with your friends) perhaps this can be on our bucketlist - go to all magnificent temples in the world to experience the first light of the day.
    The children and the puppets sound delightful and the gentlemen is an inspiration to all in how to take one's own trauma and use it for the benefit of others. Quite remarkable. I hope you get to have your elephant rides!
    Love you bunches kiddo. Happy Birthday to Lauren and Elise from me.
    Mama a.k.a. Isis :>)