The Khmer civilization centered on Angkor was one of he most remarkable to flourish in Southeast Asia. Between the 8th and the 13th centuries, a succession of Hindu ad Buddhist kings created magnificent temples in stone. Their elaborate carvings and intricate architecture amazed the first Europeans who visited in the 19th cetury and continue to fascinate today, when after many years of political turmoil, Angkor is again accessible.
(Ancient Angkor by Michael Freeman)
This site has ofers a good summary of Cambodia's history:
Cambodia has soft spot in my heart, it was one of our honeymoon destinations.
Dave was curious about Angkor Thom, the location of the Indiana Jones movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Too many temples to climb, too little time.
Cambodia is especially photogenic in the early morning with the mist rising from the river and the mountains.
Preah Kan, Banteay Kdei Temple
So many old and big trees, some roots on the walls too. It's like the temple is "swallowed" by big trees. Fellow tourists taking a rest posed for us.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful. Khmer food is delicious.
Our driver/tour guide (above center) related to us how during in Pol Pot's time he was forced to work, child labor, as he was only about nine years old. Sometimes he pretended he was sick. He placed garlic on his armpit to raise his temperature so that when somebody touched his forehead, it would seem he had a fever and he would be sent to the hospital. Later, he decided against doing it, he witnessed too much pain from the sick and the dying.
It was scary for me to see Dave climb the temple wall. I am definitely not into "wall climbing", especially ancient temple walls.
Sunset is lovely in Cambodia, and lovelier if you have someone to share it with you. And talking about sharing, coming from Pattaya, we rode in a van together with seven other tourists. In front of our seat, the first one to board the van, was a short man in 60s, traveling with his young Asian companion. Dave said, "Hi, how are you doing?" He was ignored. Dave the persistent one, started small talk about the van, about the hotel. No reaction. So Dave asked, "From what country are you?" the man mumbled something. Dave said, "Pardon me," to which the man irritably and more audibly answered, "France, you know, Eiffel Tower..." Dave shot back, "Never heard of it". End of conversation. It's true what they say in a survey, the most gracious of tourists are the Japanese - they smile, they tip well, they are courteous and respectful. And do you know who the worst tourists are?
We made friends eventually with other tourists as more people boarded the van, one of whom was Leif from Sweden. He offered to photocopy his Cambodia travel guide (downloaded from the internet) for us. He was so nice we went with him, we took the same hotel that he booked from internet before he left for Cambodia. We discovered new restaurants in Seam Reap, we both enjoyed swimming at our hotel pool in Freedom Hotel.. I think we made a friend for a lifetime. Early this year he visited us here in the Philippines, and we have an offer to visit and stay in his house in Sweden. We communicate to each other regularly.
Above picture, Leif, Dave and I tried a restaurant.
While we were shopping in a grocery store in Seam Reap, some of the store clerks were watching a TV soap opera. I was curious how their TV stars look like. Lo and behold, he looked like our Philippine movie star, Piolo Pascual. I watched more, and the actress looked like Judy Ann Santos. Holy guacamole, they speak Khmer language! I went to one of Piolo Pascual's Multiply site
(http://piolopascualadiks.multiply.com/?replies_read=1295) and congratulated him for it. Later, I heard from the buzz that Piolo went to Seam Reap, Cambodia :)
While in a park in Seam Reap, a girl vendor tried to sell me some bracelets. I was resting my feet while Dave was taking pictures. I am not a bracelet person so I did not buy. The girl vendor asked me where I was from, if I have daughters, etc. We chit chatted for a while until her mother called her. Before she left she gave a one of her bracelets. I declined...a little shy that I did not buy anything from her, and I didn't have my wallet with me, it was inside the camera bag that Dave was carrying. She insisted that I take the bracelet, then off she ran to her mom.
Charming Cambodia, one day we will come back to you.
Here's a reliable guide to Cambodia, it's a great book! This review is from: The Rough Guide to Cambodia 3 (Rough Guide Travel Guides) (Paperback) In January I crisscrossed Cambodia for four weeks. The two guides I took were Lonely Planet and Rough Guide. Both are worthy guides. This guide was at its best when it came to Siem Reap/Angkor Watt. Its coverage of Angkor Watt and the multitude of other temples is excellent. Both guides will give you a great orientation of Cambodia. They will point you to the best sights to see, but Rough Guide gives you a better understanding of the history, religion and culture of this country. It has good maps, reliable recommendations of what to see and do, a good history/religion section and a very good 'recommended books' section. By Allan M. Gathercoal, "fdoamerica" (Norcross, GA)