Testy intestines, like a texas drought, and $2 just because you jumped in water?

The Wandering Nerd April 18th, 2008

Angkor Thom and Ta Phrom - Day 2

Young Tim got taken further down after breakfast this morning, claiming something akin to stomach weasels. Personally I think he just didn’t want to deal with the bike seat again. After climbing back on mine I was in agreement. I left him to coalesce and headed back up to Angkor on me own.

Technically Angkor Thom is larger than Angkor Wat, though it’s a complex of many different temples, not one contiguous entity. The east gate was used in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider as was Ta Phrom, though more on that later. The first temple is Bayon which is in the classic pyramid shape, with the faces of 54 gods and 54 demons scattered about the columns. I couldn’t personally tell the difference between god and demon, but really who can? Matter of perspective really.

I did learn that visiting Cambodia teaches a person that you will sweat in ways and places you didn’t think it was possible to sweat. I spent more money today on water than I did on food. It’s like a sauna out here and the crazy part is the Cambodian women are walking around in full length trousers, sweaters, and scarves. While chilling out at Angkor I struck up a conversation with a Cambodian girl - well really she tried to sell me stuff in this order: water, cold water, food, beer, cold beer, and - I think - a woman. That’s surely what it sounded like. I needed nor wanted any of the above, but not to be deterred she sat with me for a while and talked about the temple, and Cambodia. I asked if she was hot all wrapped up like that, fully bundled up in black denim. She said she was a little but she didn’t want to get dark skin. Western women - and to be fair men - spend fortunes aspiring to the skin tone Cambodians get in a day of sun, and the Cambodians try their best to stay fair skinned. That reminds me, back on Koh Phang Ngan we saw nipple whitening cream in the supermarket…ah vanity.

Next up Baphuon, back in the day it would have been a smashing temple to see. Currently however it’s not really all that. They were in the process of restoring it - i.e. they took it all apart, numbering every stone laid them out, began the reconstruction and then…Whoops! Civil War! Kinda’ puts a damper on reconstruction efforts. Now fast forward a bit to that scallywag Pol Pot and the rule of the Khmer Rouge and all of the records of the reconstruction efforts are lost. I like puzzles as much as the next guy, and I seriously RULE at Tetris but that’s just a bit much.

Then on to Phimeanakas. The stairs are a bit on the steep side, as you’ll see in the photos. Kindly, they have erected a slightly more accessible set of newer stairs on the back of the pyramid. I was seriously considering going up the hard way when I realized I just couldn’t be asked, so I wandered around a bit to find the stairs…which they’d hidden at the back. Wonder how many farang have fallen backwards much to the amusement of the locals. I was up top when a little Asian girl started to climb up the front. In another rare moment of kindness - I’m becoming alarmed at their frequency of late - I yelled down about the stairs in the back. I’m a giver.

When one thinks of jungle ruins, inevitably on thinks of Ta Phrom. You may not know you do, but it’s true. You imagine crumbling stone walls, creeping vines, trees taking over, old carvings, fallen pillars…that’s Ta Phrom. The jungle is taking back the temple, and it’s amazing to see. The majority of the photos on this post are from Ta Phrom, they are pretty easy to discern.

For the little bit of random capitalism for the day. I stopped and asked a police officer for directions to one of the temples. He told me which direction to go and then got up and walked behind a stone wall and motioned me over. Curious, I walked around there with him, it blocked the view from a few of the blue coated temple workers. I thought he was going to point me in the right direction, when he pulled out his badge and said, “You want? You buy? I’ll sell it.” A police officer was trying to get me to buy his frickin’ badge. Now, before I get all of the comments about why I should have, a) I only had a twenty and I suspected he wasn’t the type to make change, 2) if he was willing to sell it that easily, I can buy one just like it at a market around here somewhere, and finally VII) I had a suspicion that had I done it, he would have turned around and promptly try to arrest me. I suspect the, “You can’t arrest me ’cause you don’t have a badge!” defense wouldn’t have worked. So I pretended not to understand and rode off short one Cambodian police badge, but up one story. Good enough for me.

The brightness of the day really messed with my photos. I’m heading back there tomorrow with Tim and his weasels, so I should have some better photos. Or at least I’ll sweat my ass off trying. If I can sort out the whole lighting thing on this little point and shoot, I’ll swing by Angkor Wat once again tomorrow night and see if I can get some even better. /me misses my Canon Digital Rebel….*sniff*


that’s how my story is told
my soul was never sold because I broke the mold
-the nextmen

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