On our third day, I’m particularly excited as we’ll get to visit the famous Ta Phrom temple, which is where Angelina Jolie shot several scenes from “Tomb Raider.” Left to its own, Ta Phrom is probably one of the most feminine temples of all as one cannot help but be awed by its surrounding greenery and huge trees that grow in and out the cracks of its walls.
Pictures cannot adequately grasp the beauty of this temple (though it tries)… all I can say is that it’s more mystical and inspiring in person.
The only disquieting quality of this temple is the relatively huge amounts of Korean visitors screaming atop their lungs (shut up, will you?!). But if you head towards the more isolated parts of the temple (and there are many, as this is one big one), you can find yourself suddenly stopping and immersing yourself in the fresh air and magical atmosphere.
Trust me, I’ve come across several epiphanies when I was there. Ta Phrom is definitely one of the prettier temples in Angkor Wat.
After Ta Phrom, we headed towards another beautiful temple — Banteay Kdei — which is impressive on its own. It’s big, long and impressive. Really beautiful.
Because we didn’t have enough time, we settled on eating on the streets outside the temple. Lauren ordered cold noodles (made of green coconut and curry milk) while I ordered the safer stir-fried chicken with rice. For a time there, I was afraid that she would get food poisoning because her “soup” was not hot enough. Regardless, it was an enjoyable US$2 meal for me, and a ridiculously cheap US$0.50 for her… a great way to rough it in a foreign land.
But the day’s just half done as we moved on and visited more temples. Like the day before, most temples were very similar, and yet, Lauren and I made the effort of climbing to the top of each and every one of them.
And though the climb was a bit dangerous, the view was great and well-worth the trouble!
Another temple worthy of mention was the Preah Kahn temple. What made this temple so special was that it was not only a temple, but it was actually a school that housed at least 1,000 monks hundreds of years ago!
It was very enjoyable visiting this temple.
I even came across a Canadian and Hungarian couple with their mischievous son, with whom I’ve exchanged travel tips. Believe it or not, their son who doesn’t even seem to be at least 10 years old have already visited 10 countries, ranging from the Czech Republic, Greece and Egypt! Now, I’m definitely jealous!
It was interesting especially in talking with the father who asked me about my views of Philippine politics. We then discussed the advantages of dictatorship especially in a poor country like the Philippines and why government officials are corrupt from top to bottom, a trait commonly shared in Southeast Asian countries, including Cambodia.
I felt that I was back in school again as my mind got tickled again… very adequate especially when visiting a former school of Preah Kahn.
It was also very interesting to see a mixture of Buddhist and Hindi influence in all the temples. Some of them feature multitude of Buddha statues, while others feature engravings of Hindu gods. Sometimes, as in the case of Preah Kahn, a third religion peaks its head… of using the male and female organ, as symbolized by protruding structures and holes on the ground. 🙂
A lot of overgrown trees and greenery permeate Preah Kahn, and reminds me so much of Ta Phrom. Among the two, I can’t figure out which I like better… so let me just say, if you’re ever in Angkor Wat, it’s good to make time for both, as both is beautiful in their own right.
After visiting a couple of temples, it was time to go back home.
Lauren and I chose to have an authentic Cambodian meal in town where I ordered the local delicacy — Amok with Curry and Coconut — served with rice. Of course, this was served with the tasty mixed fruit drink, which brings heaven back to earth. I was severely tempted to get one more of that sweet pancake dessert, but opted out because my tummy was already bursting! 🙂
After eating and dropping by the Central Market to do some semi-last minute shopping (where I bought a nice little black dress and some more books and scarves), we headed back to the hotel where I proceeded to read S-21, one of the nine books I bought on the trip.
It was not bad reading (though I’ve read better books). It talked about a high school that was converted into a secret prison, and housed/executed about 17,000 low- and high-profile prisoners between 1975 to 1979. Everyone dealt with some sort of torture, and everyone except for 7 prisoners were executed in the killing fields.
A great way to end the day…
Weather’s better today. The sun is shining brightly, but it’s still cold.
Last night, I spent the evening with a very good friend of mine who brightened up my mood. It’s great hearing from someone else that my breakup was not really because of me, and no matter what I did, it would’ve ended the same way.
Haha, it’s great when people have such extreme confidence in you.
A couple of times, my friend asked me if I felt the words were too harsh.
I don’t think so. My friend was just telling me the truth and I love my friend for that. It’s different when people who love and care tell you something you don’t want to hear. They tell you because they love you.
It was f*cking cold yesterday though — at around 8 degrees C!
Have I told you that I hated the winter? 🙂
Anyway, tonight, I’m going to head a Christmas dinner and exchange gift event for my organization near Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall. With 64 people reserving, it’s going to be a blast!
Already brought my gift as well (which I’m proud of)… It’s a mahjong set (super-heavy) for the lucky winner.
As for this weekend, so freaky.
Last week while I was in Cambodia, I received three invitations to three different parties! And now I’m in Taipei, there’s really nothing interesting popping up! 🙁
So I’m making plans of my own… can’t stay home in Christmas, right? 🙂
So tomorrow, I’m off for brunch/lunch with a good guy friend of mine, whom in these couple of months have exchanged a lot of notes with. Then, we’re watching “King Kong” along with some friends.
Can’t wait, heard “King Kong” is good, even better than the original!
If we even have time, I’d like to drop by the Hyatt where there’s going to be some impromptu Christmas carolling. 😀
Afterwards, I’ll probably meet up with Lisa and we’ll find a party to crash. We’ll see if we can also go to church.
Then, on Sunday, I’m planning to spend it with two groups of friends.
It’s going to be fairly quiet, but just can’t wait!
Till Monday! And Merry Christmas to you all!