The Poor Man's Bridge

Trip Start Nov 18, 2009
Trip End Nov 27, 2009

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Flag of Cambodia  , KH.16,
Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On to the next attraction: Neak Prean.

To get there, we must walk across a bridge.  Well, it's not really a bridge, more like long wooden planks laid across tree trunks to keep the travelers' feet dry.  One thing I must emphasize is the inability for Asians to line up (for anything).  For some strange reason, cutting in line is generally accepted and pressing odd body parts into the person ahead of you is normal.  Perhaps I've become too Westernized and value my personal space.  Two rows of planks are laid out, and I assume each one is meant for each direction.  I should have known that rules were apparently meant to be broken: a crowd of people start across the shabby planks (that bounced under your feet) on both planks.  Lo and behold, midway through, people from across the water start crossing as well.  They can clearly see that in doing so, a traffic jam is sure to ensue, but they walk across anyway.  Midway through the waterway, people start shuffling from one plank to the next, older folks reaching out to grab hold of strangers' sleeves when they feel off balance.

Too bad I didn't think to take a photo... I was too busy trying to stay balanced.  I did, however, manage to snap a shot on my way out of Neak Prean.  Sadly, those people followed directions!

An artificial island surrounded by water in a large pond, Neak Prean was not nearly as impressive while the pond is dry.  Thankfully, while I was there, a little bit of water provided a semblance of what it may have looked like when completely filled.  Surprisingly, it was believed that Neak Pean was built as a hospital by Jayavarman VII based on the balance of the elements: Earth, Wind, Fire, and of course Water.  It was thought that a sick person could step into the pool and cure himself of his illness.  The God Bahala stands guard in the center to prevent drowning.  I mistakened a statue of a horse facing the center island as a greyhound-like dog!

There really wasn't much to see.  On to the next attraction!
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