Wild West

Trip Start Oct 03, 2012
1
40
46
Trip End Apr 08, 2013


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What I did
Artisans d'Angkor
Pub Street
Angkor Archeological Park (many many temples)
Angkor Silk Farm

Flag of Cambodia  ,
Thursday, March 7, 2013

Siem Reap
is like the Wild West. Heat, dust, construction boom,  cheap alcohol, tuk tuks (like horse carriages)...
Many children go to English schools because Siem Reap is a touristic place and English is vital for their survival.

Siem Reap is full of market shops and full of tuk tuks. There is simply too much competition and is difficult for them to make a living.Cambodian tuk tuks are simply a carriage with a small motorbike carrying it instead of a horse. Thai ones are more sophisticated. One piece.  Just 3 wheels.

Everywhere parents usually let the children do the selling or attract customers to
restaurants and shops either in order to make it difficult to say no (much more
difficult to say no to an innocent looking child) either because the children
know better English than the parents or because of both.
The name Siem Reap literally means "Siam Defeated". These days, however, the onlyrampaging hordes are the tourists heading to the Angkor Archaeological Park.
This once quiet village has become the largest boomtown and construction site
in Cambodia. It is quite laid-back and a pleasant place to stay while touring
the temples. It is a nice compromise between observing Cambodian life and
enjoying the amenities of modern services and entertainment, thanks to a large
expatriate community. 
Angkor WatAngkor Wat is a beast! The whole place is huge! It is not just a complex of temples, it is a city.Again like in all touristic places similar to this, crowds come in no shortage. The
issue with the crowds are not the many people. They are the ignorant,
inconsiderate people who show no respect to the place they visit. 

Here I was at Angkor Wat at 5 am to catch the sunrise, like thousands others. And there were people sitting on the ruins, lying around, others making their breakfast on the ruins!!!

Unfortunately, the presence of big crowds in magical places like this and Machu Pichu, suck all the magic atmosphere from them. You can always though find a secluded place if you are willing to go the extra mile.

Unfortunately these magnificent ancient temples are left to the mercy of the people, the main touristic ones, of the tourists and the less popular ones of the locals and of
the children who often use them as playing grounds,. One can easily cut of the
heads of one of the engraved sculptures, which it is visible that has been done
on several occasions already, or scratch them or even paint on them with tipex,
again something that unfortunately has been done. I guess though it is
difficult to oversee all of these monuments as they are too many of them.
 Again many of them have been left on the mercy of the nature and there
are many cases where they are in a state of disarray with walls and roofs
falling apart.
Can not help but make the comparisons with other monuments in other places of the
world where you are not even allowed to touch, let alone sit on and have
breakfast and cigarette.
The Cambodian government, as sovereign manager of the current Heritage Site around Angkor, still struggles to provide adequate protection and monitoring of the
site against loggers and careless tourists.
Just makes you wonder what will be left of them after some decades if these
practices are allowed to go on.Cambodians have a long way to go regarding this issue. But I guess they have also a long way to go on other more important issues.

The best way to see the temples is having a bicycle, walking is not an option
between the temples. The distances are long, a few kms. It is nice though with bicycle as the ride is a beautiful one, in the country side.

 Angkor is the earthly representation of Mt Meru, the Mt Olympus of the Hindu faith and the abode of ancient gods.It is believed to be the world’s largest religious building, the mother of all
temples.  The urban center of the city of Angkor extends over at least 35 sq km, rather than simply the 9 sq km conventionally recognised within the walls of Angkor Thom. It is also believed by some scholars that up to 1.9m people lived there.
Angkor Wat most likely served both as a temple and as a mausoleum for Suryavarman II, the Khmer emperor.
Angkor Wat is famous for having more than 3000 beguiling apsaras
(heavenly nymphs) carved into its walls. Each of them is unique.
Many of these exquisite apsaras were damaged during Indian efforts to
clean the temples with chemicals during the 1980s, the ultimate bad acid trip,
but they are now being restored.
It is believed that the spatial dimensions of Angkor Wat parallel the lengths of the four ages (Yuga) of classical Hindu thought. Thus the visitor to Angkor Wat who
walks the causeway to the main entrance and through the courtyards to the final
main tower, which once contained a statue of Vishnu, is metaphorically
travelling back to the first age of the creation of the universe.It replicates the spatial universe in miniature. The central tower is Mt Meru,
with its surrounding smaller peaks, bounded in turn by continents (the lower
courtyards) and the oceans (the moat). The seven-headed naga
becomes a symbolic rainbow bridge for man to reach the abode of the gods.
The construction of Angkor Wat involved 300,000 workers and 6000 elephants, yet it was still not fully completed.
The temples were abandoned and forgotten in the 15th century after an invasion by
Siam until it was rediscovered in 19th century by the French. How can you
forget such a monument?!
Who really built Angkor?Mainstream archaeologists say it was built by the Khmer King Suryavarmen in
the 12th Century and it took 30 years to construct it. But here's the problem, there are no sources that support King Suryavarmen
constructed Angkor Wat.
So why mainstream archaeologist say it was built by him? Because of carbon dating
tracing back to King Suryavarmen time era which was around the 12th century A D. But carbon dating does not work on stones. It only works on organic material and can easily be contaminated. So by carbon dating an artifact found around the Angkor complex does not mean that Angkor was built during that period.
There are documents by a Chinese visitor name Zhou Daguan, who visited Angkor in 1296 A D when it was inhabit with millions of people. Zhou Dagaun asked the locals who built Angkor Wat and the locals told him Preah Pisnouka. Zhou Daguan
wrote in his journal that Angkor Wat was built in a single night by Lu Ban.
Lu Ban is a Chinese word for Heavenly Architecture. Preah Pisnouka is a
Heavenly Architecture. King Suryavamen died in the year 1150 and the Chinese
visited Angkor in 1296 so it only been 146 years since King Suryvamen
death.
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