The temples yesterday were truly amazing. The ancient remnants of the cities of the Angkorian period really represent the power of the Cambodian people through architecture. Each carving tells a story and represents a moment in time. Angkor Thom, a 1km by 1km temple not far from Angkor Wat, was known to be the wealthy temple and many of the carvings display the ‘good life’. They also show the trade with the Chinese and how there was even a China town within the city walls. Everything was grand and extravagant. During the different reigns, the current king’s religious preference was reflected in thecarvings. So while Angkor Wat had carvings of Hindu gods and myths, Angkor Thom, built only forty years later, has delicate carvings of the Buddha. It’s such a photogenic place and some of them are ‘going straight to the pool room’.
After our delicious meal at the Red Piano, we headed to the street markets where the senses were bombarded with colour and culture. The pants were again a big hit with everyone and the replica watches tested the boys bargaining skills. Some of the conversations with the boys demonstrated their ability to drive a good bargain and others quickly learnt not to pay the first price. It was quite relaxing to just stroll through the markets for a couple of hours and the light rain cooled us off from the busy morning treading the ancient stones.
With this adventure coming to a close, it’s clear that has been an eye opener. I can’t get used to the rubbish just strewn all over the place and the division between rich and poor is so confronting. I appreciate the Cambodian’s effort to bring about positive change to create a more productive society but, I feel that with the current political control, it will take the next generation coming together to bring about the change that is needed. The current Prime Minister will not go down lightly and discussion with the people leads me to think that if he is beaten in the next election, there could be some more conflict. I wish the young strength and courage during this time. May they continue to fight for economic equality and access to appropriate health care.
I can’t wait to see my wife and children. Ten days seems like an eternity when you’re away from your loved ones and Im’ sure your boys miss you too, even though they’ll have their own way of showing it.
That’s a wrap.