The leyends of the hidden temples and the golden banana
Anything and everything I have ever experienced dwarfs next to the grandiosity of Angkor. If it is possible to be dumbfounded by three days in a row, then that’s what I was. Also semi delirious from the extreme heat.
I switched hotels because I need to stop this crazy delusion that the most expensive room at a hostel equates to a room at an average hotel. The AC didn’t work and in that monstrous heat it was impossible to sleep. I also haD to wake up at 5 to go see the sunrise at Angkor Watt and have a day of eignthoursof walking in the heat!
For those of you who don’t know what these temples are, Google it. But let me say that they were “rediscovered” by the French in the sixties, and they had been completely eaten up by vegetation. It is the biggest conglomeration of religious edifices in the world. Each temple feels like a palace, both in detail and in size. And there are about 50 of them, done throughout a period of about four centuries by different kings.
When I finally made it to the temples, I cannot truly explain my awe. I think it must be like seeing the baby of Machu Pichu and the great wall of China! neither of which I’ve seen, but I met enough people who have and said neither of them measures up to this. We are used to seeing the Khmer towers, but it was a really the carvings on the walls that left me dumbfounded. I bought an overpriced book that explained all the stories, all the Hindu tales of battles between gods and demons, the churning of the ocean ect. Most temples were dedicated to Shiva, the god of destruction, and Vishnu, the god of preservation. In spite of having been built in the 10th to 14th centuries.
The temples that stuck out the most to me were the Bayon, the one that have those mysterious towers with faces facing each cardinal direction, all of which look different from each other. Then there was one that the French decided to keep in the state they found it in, meaning filled with cottons tress and it’s roots entangled through the temple. It felt like Angelina Jolie would come up tramping out of from one of the stone galleries in her tomb raider outfit. (Yes this is where she filmed the movie).
As I said I left my hostel and followed that recommendation from the Dutch photographer I met in Koh Kradan to stay in a hotel called The Golden Banana. It’s a gay friendly hotel (duh) that was the most amazing place I’ve stayed at for a while. Such beautiful rooms, an amazing pool, (you must have a pool in Cambodia in March. I’m not joking) and the food was scrumptious. Must try the fish amok. I met these two French guys that I was sure were a gay couple until much later in the evening. Nice peeps! But for some reason I’m tired of meeting Europeans and not Asians. Then again, until this point I had been in Thailand, and I’m sure there’s more of the former.
I have not gotten sick yet at all. Not even a little bit (knock on wood). Then again, in Cambodia I reverted back to India mode meaning no street food.