Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Family trip!

Just got back from Cambodia, where we saw lots of really cool, really old temples. Here we are on the tarmac at the Siem Reap airport. That's Terry's mom in the visor. And yes, I brought my own pillow.

Here's Marietta standing at one of the gates at Angkor Thom, an ancient fortress city surrounded by a moat.
Here's Terry walking through Bayon, a complex of 54 towers built by King Jayavarman VII in late 12th/early 13th century, as a monument to himself. That could be his face carved into the four sides of every tower, but officially it's Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of infinite compassion.

Nose to nose (our guide used to work as a temple photographer and this is one of his favorite tourist snaps. At his insistence, we all posed for one!)

3-headed elephant

7-headed serpent
Monk on a bike

You're allowed to climb up around and over almost everything here. This temple in another part of Angkor Thom was easier to scale up than down... A friendly Khmer helped Dylan over the last bit.

Sandstone bas-relief at Banteay Srei ('Citadel of the Women'). An hour's drive from Siem Reap, but worth the trip.At the floating village of Chong Kneas

taking the long view of Tonle Sap
Our guide, Mr. Chum Thany (pronounced "tawny"), was fantastic. I have his email address if anybody wants it. He arranged for this tour boat, brought us to great restaurants, and didn't seem bothered when we would change our plans at the last minute.
One afternoon we did a quick tour of the workshops at the Artisans Angkor school. This guy's carving a Buddha out of wood.
In the sandstone carving shop, both boys got a turn with a mallet and chisel.

We also hit the 'jungle temple' of Ta Prohm

Thany told us that the humongous trees, which are literally rooted in the place, have to be kept alive and intact or the whole thing would come down.Parts of the movie Tomb Raider were filmed here
Coincidence or respect for the gods? Check out the face of Apsara (a dancing goddess type) poking out between the roots of this particularly deferential tree. Freaky!

The giant root you see, the one that looks like it's about to crush everything, is known as "the snake"

Thany was sure to point out all the best photo-ops...
Angkor Wat, the main attraction (but far from the only reason to come here) is just massive.
The main tower has scaffolding up one side, as there's some restoration work going on.

The grassy bit used to be the moat. Behind Terry there's a passageway with a huge mural of battle scenes carved into the stone
Apsara is everywhere in this town. That last one on the right has more of a Princess Leia 'do...

As we left the temple grounds and headed for the van, we ran into the hard sell ("Madame!"). I wanted to buy something from each girl but quickly ran out of dollar bills...This is me motioning to Terry for more money.
Who wants a bracelet? I think I can spare a few...10 for $1!

When we weren't sightseeing, we were drinking and lounging and shopping. Or at least Marietta and I were (coconut daiquiri anyone?).
Terry and the boys spent many many hours in the hotel pool.

We stayed at the Victoria Angkor, which is across the street from a park and walking distance from the Old Market and Pub Street, a stretch of bars and restaurants and sidewalk vendors. It was a great hotel.

1 comment:

Elissa said...

Lovely photos!! I must say... Cambodia is a lovely spot for family vacation trip.