Written 27 December (fiddled with 17 January2013)
Never one to be particularly moved or touched when visiting big monuments, I found myself positively punched in the face as we took a corner, mid-morning and my eyes met Angkor Wat for the first time. She’s formidable.
I’m pretty convinced in fact, that the word awesome was actually created to express the breath-taking scene you receive for your $20 USD (daily pass – entrance fee to ALL temples).
The smile inside me burst immediately out and I think I may have experienced my very first real crush, or was it a moment of serenity…
Not that I’m a frantic, crazy lady or anything – rather – this place was easy, I was at peace, everything was just good– similar to having a bowl of porridge with figs, banana, a little desiccated coconut and maybe a little too much maple syrup…when you aren’t in a hurry.
So I dawdled around…really pleased…soaking in the beautifully preserved carvings, the monks on their I-Phones, the immense size of the place and the warmth (yes it was warm). It was indeed awesome.
Post a feast of Fish Amok, Vegetarian Spring Roll, a can of Miranda (it’s a green, delicious, refreshing, potentially toxic, highly addictive, creaming soda) and half a bottle of Angkor Beer – in air-conditioned comfort – we headed off to Banteay Kdei…another temple destination. Conveniently located, near the restaurant and delightfully soundscaped by a chap selling ‘violins-come-flutes’, whom quite admirably achieved the first 8 bars of Le Bumba, on repeat, for the 45 minutes of our walk-through.
Following a refuelling swim, we headed to Temple Number Three – however by no means a number 3 – really just another example of fantastic. This time, Ta Prohm, the temple that nature claimed back.
Between you and me, I wasn’t expecting much, perhaps an over-rated tourist trap. I’d been blown away by Angkor Wat – could this really deliver?
I was so wrong. Very wrong. Initially, I was a little concerned for there were some people, however once you enter, you don’t really notice them. You’re too busy being impressed. It’s like the Olympics for Tree Gymnasts. These trees are really talented…and determined. And the photographs you can sentence your husband to take, for your own enjoyment…Top Shelf.
Accompanied by cicadas that make the trees sound like they a singing (a little screechily), this place…sorry…the whole temple World Heritage Site…is so crowd pleasing and so incredibly satisfying.
And though I obviously don’t need to sell it – if you go, you’ll be in receipt of additional bonuses every step you take across Cambodia, for this place is full of the most helpful, smiley people you are ever likely to encounter.