Okay, I’m going back to Asia for another two months. You might ask what I’m going to do when I go there. Well, I intend on going to Laos, India, Australia and Bali for starters. Sometime in the next week or two I intend to start booking flights with Air Asia to move me around the Asian continent. I plan on spending a few days here and a few days there and a few days somewhere in between. My goals are to spend some time in about 8-10 different counties while I’m there. If I get to ten, the count may be up to 100 countries that I’ve visited. Here’s hoping… So why do I want to spend time outside of the United States? If you have to ask that question then whatever answer that I give probably wouldn’t satisfy you. But I’ll try – the Pyramids of Egypt, Chichen Itza, Pompeii, Mont St Michel, the Great Wall of China, Petra, the Taj Mahal, Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, St Peter’s Basilica, the Egyptian Museum, Dubrovnik, the Uffizi Gallery, Hong Kong, the Sistine Chapel, Angkor Wat, the Louvre Museum, the Canals of Venice, St Mark’s Basilica, the Kremlin, Chambord Chateau, the Acropolis, Jerusalem and Hagia Sofia. If the mere mention of any of those terms creates a stirring of any kind inside of you then realize that there are some people in whom that stirring is more intense. I’m one of those people. The ticket is paid for. The money is in the bank for the trip. Now I all I have to do is stay alive.
Yes, it’s me and yes, it’s Angkor Wat in the background. It is, without a doubt, one of the top tourist attractions in SE Asia and justifiably so. But Angkor Wat isn’t just about the wat, it’s also about the Khmer civilization that was so vital and so significant for about half a millennium. What I learned when I went to see Angkor Wat was that it was only a part of a larger story.
Notice the big tree in the middle of the picture. Notice how it has taken over the ruins. I think that much of the excavation at the Angkor Archeological Park is the removal of forest growth from many of the ruins. Anyway, if nothing else it makes a great picture. Think of how much time it took to get the conditions for this shot. The ruins had to be left alone and the tree allowed to grow for, perhaps, centuries.
This is me at Bayon, another significant ruin from the past. I thought it was even more interesting than Angkor Wat. It certainly had more rooms, nooks and crannies than Angkor Wat. It was not nearly as big, however.
This is what was on the menu at one of the restaurants around Angkor Wat. There was beef, chicken, pork, fish, and something else. I’m nor sure what the something else is, but a closer examination of the picture reveals that it has a tail. perhaps I should have asked what it was but I’m not sure that I really wanted to know what it was. Maybe I’ll just say it was something with a tail.
Buddha, meet my electric bike. I thought the contrast was good. Buddha, old and timeless meets electric bike, new and probably prone to breaking down after a while. The eternal Buddha and the temporal transportation model of today. East meets west. Transcendental meets transportation. Spiritual meets material. Old meets new. Stationary meets mobile. Help me out here…
This lesson and the person she with whom she was working gave me a great lesson in how silk was produced, taking me from the eggs, to the worms to the cocoons to the silk moth and back to the egg stage. Considering their English wasn’t great and my ability to speak any other language is non-existent, I thought they did a rather marvelous job getting me to understand how ti all happened. Of course, what they were doing at an arts and crafts fair at the Angkor Wat Museum was to show how silk production happens. I felt really smart after talking to them.
This is a sign I took a picture of during my stay at Angkor Wat. The sign is pretty simple. No smoking in the toilets. Do not squat on the toilets when you do your business. Do not use the water hose provided to clean your feet and do not use the water hose provided to take a shower. The water hose is provided because some cultures don’t use toilet paper. They use water. Don’t shake their left hand.
This is a picture of Angkor Wat and some Angkor Wat tourists. There were significantly more tourists from SE Asia in Siem Reap than Europeans or Americans, including blacks and Hispanics of whom I saw very, very few. The main point that should be grasped about this picture is the vastness of Angkor Wat. It is said to be the largest religious structure in the world. If I were a bettin’ man, which I am, I’d say it is. But, as large as it is, it pales in comparison to the Anchor Archeological Park in which it sits. The park is 155 square miles in area and contains somewhere around a bazillion temples.
That’s me below the sign that says Welcome to Angkor Wat. I take these pictures as a memory aid for the day when I reach 100 years old.