Thursday, November 13, 2008

Angkor Wat

We arrived to Siem Reap, Cambodia on Tuesday, November 12 around 6pm. In Cambodia we were exactly 12 hours ahead of NC time. This made it easy to figure out what people in the US were doing, except I forgot that Drew was in Texas and I woke him up early! It was so nice to get back to a country with the internet! I have learned to appreciate how lucky we are to have such cheap and easy access to the internet and the rest of the world. Anyways, when we got to Siem Reap we went straight to the hotel and were on our own for dinner. I think that the altitude of the Southern Highland caught up with me that morning because I felt awful all day. So I just ordered room service while everyone else ate at one of the hotel restaurants. This consisted of a ham and cheese sandwich, which I had two bites of, and caramel ice cream, which I ate all of. Typical. I also got the internet running, updated the blog, and finally got to talk to Drew after four days! The hotel we stayed at in Cambodia was unbelievable. The Grand Hotel D’Angkor is the oldest hotel in Siem Reap, and I believe it was built around 1930. All marble floors, iron rails, and an old elevator. The lobby reminded me of the inside of the Titanic, you know the stairs that split and the old elevator. It was beautiful.
The next morning we left the hotel at 7:30 to tour Angkor Wat. We had a great guide, Monirom, who was very knowledgeable about the history of Angkor Wat and of the whole country of Cambodia. It seemed to me that he believed the majority of the country was so happy with the improved political state of the country and that the city of Siem Reap was improving greatly now that tourists could come and visit Angkor Wat. Before the mid 90s the country was not safe or accessible.

Angkor Wat is a huge complex that was built for the Gods. It consists of three tiers which are for the different levels of sacred. The whole Temple is surrounded by a moat, and when it was in use there was only one entrance. Our guide said that researchers have guessed that the entire temple was built in 30 years by around 300,000 people.

The buildings used to be completely painted, and there is still a little bit of evidence of paint remaining. The walls inside the second tier are covered in carvings which tell stories. The carvings are unbelievable and it was magical standing there next to history.

After touring Angkor Wat we drove about 15 minutes to Ta Prohm Temple, which still had trees growing through it like when it was discovered. There are some beautiful sights in the temple.
This day was a national holiday for the country, I believe it was the water festival. All of the temples were very busy because the citizens had the day off of work and many were visiting the temples too.

We returned for lunch after this and then visited a local art store and market. Diana, mom, and I were tired after this and took the afternoon off while everyone else visited more temples. We sat by the pool! I know it sounds bad, but this trip is not a vacation and I think we needed a break!

When we were ready to go to dinner we walked downstairs and got handed an offering!
We ended up being part a parade to the river where we placed out floating offerings in to the water and watched them float away! This was such a great surprise!

Then we returned to the hotel for cocktails and dinner. Dinner was crazy! There was a huge tent set up behind the pool and local Cambodians performed dances for us. We were so tired and I think Diana and I were in bed by 9!
We got up and packed and were out of the hotel in the morning by 9. On to India!


TradingNuggets said...

Great stuff! You all look super!

Enjoy the posts. I look forward to reading them daily.

News from the homefront: NewHanover high boys soccer team won the Eastern Finals yesterday 2-1 in OT and will play Charlotte Myers Park for State championship

Take care and prayers are with you


Ginny said...

You cannot imagine how much fun it is to go online to find your newest postings. After the dry spell without communication for those few days, the next postings were a bonanza! (By the way, can't you find anyone ugly to put in your pictures?!? You all look wonderful! Evidently it is all agreeing with you.)

You need to give us some info. on the roots at the temples in Angkor Wat. They are enormous!

I see that Jack updated you on the soccer successes. Now Hanover is set to play my alma mater! Go Wildcats!

We miss you, and Shug sends licks, jumps, and pleas for walks!

Praying for continued safe travel,