Chumree-uhp soo-uh or hello in Khmer, the official language of Cambodia. Please note that I titled this Siem Reap and not Angkor Wat. That’s because I learned that while Angkor Wat is the most well known temple within the Angkor Archaelogical Park, there are hundreds of others surrounding Siem Reap so I couldn’t just focus on one.
We started our day at 5:00AM to be on site to watch the sunrise. It had rained all night but cleared in the morning. No great photos to share now so I will wait for the one from our professional photographer.
These monks were enjoying some relaxation in front of this 12th century “temple-mountain” built by King Suryavarman II as a spiritual home for the Hindu god Vishnu. Our group made the hike all the way up to “heaven” to see the celestial dancers below.
Our next stop was the Ta Prohm, lovingly referred to by the locals as the “jungle” temple. I actually liked this one the best because it was still in a true state of disrepair. It added an air of mystery to see the fallen pieces of stone, the ancient trees growing out of the rock and listening to the jungle like sounds from the birds above. I think the below photo is the most representative of this temple which was the location for the movie, Tomb Raiders.
After a quick lunch back at the hotel, I was off for a boat ride to see the floating village of Chong Kneas on Tonle Sap Lake. This is a village of 1,313 families who are all Vietnamese refugees who make their living by exporting the fish caught from the lake to Vietnam and Thailand. They either smoke it, salt it or make a fish paste since they have no refrigeration. They get their electricity from car batteries. Below are pictures of a typical house, one of the nicer ones; the Catholic Church and the grocery store.
After a very full day we were treated to a classical Cambodian dance performance by Aspara Dancers, an example of the progress Cambodia has made in the last 40 years after the Khmer Rouge years when 90% of the dancers were killed. I must say that our guides who had grown up during this horrific time were very willing to talk about it. My guide’s family sent him to the monastery where he became a monk for 8 years. As it turns out you can go in and out of the monastery as you like.
I leave you with this last picture and will reassure you that I have not found a new career although I seem to be the right height and have always wanted to wear a crown!
There’s no moss under our feet…off to China and Tibet.