Friday, June 6, 2008

Angkor Wat

This is vacation week! We were in Siem Reap for 3 days to do the touristy stuff, and we just arrived in Battambang, another province out in the country, where Rick was for 9 months of his mission. Words cannot describe the bumpiness of the 5-hour bus ride we just took. I am sore, and Carson wins the good baby award for snoozing most of the way here.
Angkor Wat was absolutely amazing. It's not just one building, but about 200 acres of beautiful ancient constructions. We saw it all, first the outer wall with its elephant gates, then the libraries along the path leading to the main entrance, then the humongous moat (can you imagine how long it took to dig that thing 1,000 years ago???), across the bridge, and finally to the main entrance to the huge temple. Wandering around the wat was equally incredible, especially the inricately chiseled out statues and walls that are just covered with battle and celebration scenes. It's hard to describe how amazing this structure is. And to think that the construction was done 1,000 years ago, one sandstone block at a time. This is one part of one of those walls covered with chiseled out picturs. They're playing chess!
We spent almost an entire day with a guide wandering around the ruins, and could have stayed much longer if it weren't for the little man. It was so hot for him! He learned to effectively drink cool water out of a cup that day. But he was fine over all, and it was definitely worth the trip to see these amazing temples. We toured 3 of the temples, including Angkor Wat. One of them (ok, so I forget the name) had tons of trees that have taken root right on top of the ancient ruins. Very cool! And kind of sad... how long will the temples last?

The area around Angor Wat and the other temples is really interesting. It's like a huge park almost, but people also live inside the gates. There are houses back in the woods near the paths that go from temple to temple. They are mostly amputees, victims of land mines. They play music, sell things, or do whatever they can for money. It's not too overbearing, though, because you have to have a permit to sell there. It's nice that they have skills, like playing music or making bracelets, and that they have a nice place to work for money. We happened upon a group of kids who live there.
Rick went up to chat and see what they were playing with. Oh, just a little game... making the crickets fight! (Speaking of crickets, the lady sitting across from us on the bus purchased a bag of toasted crickets at the rest stop, and proceeded to pick apart and eat them the rest of the way here. Grossssss.)

The Cambodian obsession with Carson intensified at Angkor Wat. To some, like this group of Carson fans, the attitude was like, "Who cares about Angkor Wat?? We've got a white baby here!!" I lost count of how many people asked for and took pictures with Carson.

So, we'll be here in Battambang for the weekend, and then back to the city. And then, Carson and I will return home to Virginia next week! We're going a couple of weeks early, as I think we've had enough of living Cambodia style. We're doing ok keeping Carson safe from mosquitos and the heat, but these people cannot keep their hands off of him, which I think caused him to have another bad cough and runny nose last week. I'd rather go home than have him get sick again! So, this will be our last few days here. (That means if anyone's dying to have any sort of souvenier from Cambodia, you better let me know quick! There are extremely inexpensive things like silk purses, little silk pajams for Carson, cool skirts, etc.)


Jessica said...

Wow, that place looks incredible. I'm sorry that Carson has been sick and that everyone wants to hold him. I am rather sad also that you guys aren't coming back to Wymount, it is strange without you here. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your vacation!

Kiersten said...

I've been wanting to go to Angkor Wat ever since I took a class in Asian art, so I have to admit that I am a little jealous. I'm glad that you got to go. The pictures are awesome.

Mike and Carly said...

Those pictures are amazing! That must be so cool to go and see all of those sites and then one day be able to tell Carson that he lived in Cambodia! Fun!! Avery is sort of a hit here in California, but no one has asked to take a picture with her yet. It is like Carson is a celebrity! If you pick up some silk jammies for Avery I will pay you! That is cool! She is like 18 lbs...

JAMIE Probert COOK~ said...

YOu guys are living the life. I love it. Just enjoy every minute you have. Glad you figured out how to do those pics.

PS that book for med schools has been so great. THANKS SO MUCH!!