Food. I know everyone pretends to be super-interested in cultural sights the first day they are in a new country, but let’s just call a spade a spade and say it. I love food. I love trying food in new countries. I love smelling good food as I walk on the street. I love looking at market stalls and into shop windows at food. I love food, and it’s usually the first thing I want when I get off a plane. Can I get a “Hell yeah!”? Anyone?
This was one of the first people I met in Cambodia and also the first Cambodian to make me food. That alone left a special place in my heart for him, nevermind that his spicy-noodly-vegetables were hot and tasty. I ate this every day. And I named him ‘Man with Pan’.
This was not the only amazing food in Cambodia, just the first of many amazing foods. For breakfast each morning I picked up a bag of tiny light-as-air coconut muffins and hoarded them all day to get as much pleasure as possible. On our quad trail ride through the country we stopped over for some fried sweet potatoes sprinkled with brown granular sugar. And in Siem Reap I ate fresh mango like it was my job.
Cambodia was also the easiest place to meet people. Everyone was smiling, and asking questions, and ready to help. I have no idea where these little boys were headed but we had a pleasant conversations as their tuk-tuk rolled by.
I just really liked this guy because he is old and ornery. Got his cigs, his unusually tiny body, and his puckered face to part the crowd.
I found these people praying at the top of a busy temple in the middle of town. At the bottom of the “mountain” there was a gathering of people watching a worker prune tree branches. There was an elephant you could feed and pet. Monkeys that you could feed (and pet if you were brave enough to get that close). And just a lot of people milling about. But the top was quiet, and peaceful, and full of people paying their respects to Buddha.
I liked seeing how many people came here just to relax, wait, read, talk, wander, eat, etc. Made it feel like more than just some temple to check off your list.
Some of the carvings like this were used as molds to create paper art as souvenirs to take home. It impressed me that the actual bricks from the temples were used to create the art that had the flaws of time displayed in it.
Jenna, exploring wings of the temple. There were so many entrances and exits and paths to take to get through the whole thing. Couldn’t take a wrong turn if you wanted to.
We got up with all there other crazy people to watch the world famous sunrise over Ankor Wat. Look how many people come at the un-godly hour of 5:00am just to see some back lighting. No, just kidding, it was totally worth it. I get a special thrill just to be up before the sun anyway so it was wonderful that I got to watch hundreds of other people experience the same thing and see a lovely golden-pink sunrise as well.
And there’s me! Proving that I am here, and getting some of Ankor Thom in the background.
So the guy who built Ankor Thom, had 16 towers built with 4 images facing each cardinal direction. Guess who those images looked like? Yep, his royal highness. This is one of the closest ones I got to. It must have been hard and extremely intricate work.
I don’t know what these girls did, but I found it really cool that they got ready for it at the top of the temple just tucked away into a corner that looks like every other corner.
This is one of the littler buddha figures on the grounds of the temples but I liked how decorated he was. After I snapped the picture I noticed how he looks like he was giving comfort to the man at his feet and also like he had been crying.
The scenery for Laura Croft Tomb Raider was filmed here and I can see why. These last two show just how amazing the trees that grow here are and how the temple has been crumbling but it has been left just the way it fell in half-tumbled glory.