Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Cambodia Trip 1.6b

Despite my continual focus on Thai Buddhism and Kamattan Buddhism in particular, I’m not a big temple guy. I would not go so far to say that I have an attitude of “you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all,” but I just don’t get excited about contemporary temples like my wife does.

Even last year, when we went with a group from our temple to visit some of the most spectacular chedi’s in the Mukhahan area of Eastern Isaan, I wasn’t exactly “Ho, Hum,” but it took a particularly stunning structure to get me going. I found that no matter the size, what impressed me most were some of the stupa’s of stone, or at least exterior stone. I liked these the most.

When it comes to Kamattan temples (Forest Monks), of course, the most impressive features are usually the wood craftsmanship and design – something somewhat foreign to every day Khon Thai construction, as I sadly found out during various construction projects in our home over the past two years.

So, when I was planning my first-ever Cambodia trip, I got all sorts of input about visiting the Angkor Temples from other Expats on Farang forums; everything from “don’t give it more than a morning’s worth of your time,” to encouragement to stay in Siem Reap at least a week.

I found that three days visiting the temples in and around Angkor Wat did me just fine and that it really is true that you just cannot visit the main Angkor temples in just a day. There’s just too much to see. By the time I was done, there were still many more temples I had not seen, especially further afield. They wait for me next year.

So, after I had my fill of temples this trip, Bunleng took me to go get some last-minute shopping items, like a minivan ticket for the next day, kroma (Cambodian scarf), a Cambodian flag and a trip to the ATM. 

While shopping in the Psar Chaa area with tuk-tuk, I spotted a rather mangy-looking dog running the streets as if he owned it. Bunleng told me that this dog – what I would term a “soi dog” (street dog) – comes into town in the late afternoon most every day when the weather is good, looking for its master who died several years ago. If you visit the Psar Chaa area of Siem Reap in the late afternoon, you will see this dog. He runs on many of the streets, major and minor.

As amazing to us as the Angkor temples are today, imagine what they must have looked like when they were initially built:

A digital recreation of Angkor Wat: http://youtu.be/G9plvrHnOLA

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