07 Feb2009

Angkor Wat

by Marketman

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Our first glimpse of Angkor Wat was just minutes after we landed at the Siem Reap airport, as our driver decided to take the scenic route to our hotel. We stopped outside the main gate of the temple and I tried to take some photos using the telephoto lens from 500+ meters away across a moat in near pitch darkness. Despite the distance and limited lighting, this monument was clearly something very special. This magnificent Hindu temple was constructed in the mid-12th century and it’s sprawling grounds and humongous moat make it THE temple of many around Siem Reap to visit. We saved this one for last, and it did not disappoint. It has three pyramid type structures which rise some 200 feet above ground level, all in stone. Set out over a very flat “island” within a man-made moat, it is reminiscent of a large estate from the West, albeit with the stunning stone carvings and architectural details so unique to that part of Indochina.

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The walk from the parking area to over a restored bridge and across the huge moat takes several minutes, then once inside the temple grounds, it is several hundred more meters to the temple proper.

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We caught glimpses of several monks in their stunning saffron orange robes visiting the temple and I briefly wondered what I would look like swathed in orange cotton… how do they go do a number 1 in the CR?

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The carvings, and more importantly the VOLUME of stone carvings all over the temple are mind-boggling. I think I would go insane if I had to spend my entire lifetime chipping away at stone for someone else’s amusement. But at least they are still being appreciated by millions nearly a thousand years later!

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A pond full of lotus flowers made for a very stunning photograph with the temple reflected on still waters…

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Long balconies or hallways open to the outdoors housed hundreds if not thousands of feet of wall carvings, all with stories to tell (frankly, I was so over-templed at this point I wasn’t listening to the guide)!

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The shiny parts of the carvings are due to the oils from people’s fingers when they drag their hands across the stone carvings.

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If I had spent a few weeks or months carving this piece and at the last minute chipped off the dudette’s nose or worse yet, her boobs were unbalanced, I would definitely consider a free fall plunge from the top of the temple’s highest tower!

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If I had this many arms and hands…

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…then I would go deaf as I pounded my chest in the “echo room” which recently appeared as one of the destinations in a recent episode of Amazing Race Asia. The kid so wanted to see this room, which has a very high ceiling, and if you stand against one of two opposite walls and look up and thump your chest, you get lots of echoing thumps back. It was pretty cool actually. I was too respectful to attempt my Tarzan like yell (it’s a pretty decent version of the original) in the chamber that afternoon. Don’t want to mess with the gods…

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One of the enclosed lawns or gardens on the side of the temple.

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A view of the front of the temple.

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Oh, and I can’t forget the swimming pool, one of many inside the main temple. It must have been closed for renovation as it was drained of water. But imagine diving head first into that? Facial plastic surgery for sure. Overall, an UTTERLY STUNNING experience, if a bit tiring to behold all of it! :)

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Ellen says:

    Wonderful and awesome pictures, MM! Thanks for sharing.

    Feb 7, 2009 | 4:39 pm

     
  2. terrey says:

    i have friends who have gone to siem reap but their pictures of angkor wat is not as interesting as yours. good job Mr. MM!

    Feb 7, 2009 | 4:44 pm

     
  3. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Wonderful fotos…with really amusing comments from you …teehee especially if you bungled up the carvings of a female …hehehe…and the robed monks…..funny thoughts ….

    Feb 7, 2009 | 5:04 pm

     
  4. sonia says:

    funny, irreverent thoughts in a place meant for reverence! — thanks for the humor and the stunning photos.
    i too suffered from temple fatigue in siem reap but overall, it was an exhilirating experience to do angkor wat.

    Feb 7, 2009 | 5:19 pm

     
  5. kulasa says:

    MM, truly, what amazing photos! For us, who haven’t had the chance to visit the places you’ve been to, these photos help take us there. Aren’t we all glad going digital. I couldn’t imagine what it would take if you took the same number of shots you did and have them developed.

    Feb 7, 2009 | 6:15 pm

     
  6. zena says:

    What wonderful shots! My fave would be the first and third ones. The temple/s seem so majestic. The echo room was also featured in the original Amazing Race. Very cool. =)

    Off-topic, betty q., I just tried your nut cookies with the browned butter. I used the smaller scoop of the melon baller as instructed, hehe. I only had almonds and pistachios on hand and had equal parts of both. Very rich cookie! I didn’t expect the pistachios to be that strong. Should have put in a ration of 2:1. Didn’t put the chocolate anymore as I was lazy, (made gingersnaps and choc chip as well) AND the cookie was very yummy already. I had to really flatten it though as I wanted a crisper texture than chewy. Mine didn’t really spread, I had 15 cookies per sheet. My mom really enjoyed them as they were nutty and not that sweet. Thanks for posting. =)

    Feb 7, 2009 | 8:45 pm

     
  7. corrine says:

    What stunning photos! Oh, I dream of Angkor Wat!

    Feb 7, 2009 | 9:20 pm

     
  8. britelite says:

    I suspect you will like Luang Prabang,Laos….

    Feb 7, 2009 | 10:25 pm

     
  9. odette says:

    I am wishing to watch sunrise over Angkor Wat on my 30th birthday on April…the past years were spent chasing sunsets, I want to do something different and worthy to cap off my 30 years…but, *sigh, I don’t think I can, I’m in my first year of residency,walang leave and walang sweldo…

    Feb 7, 2009 | 10:39 pm

     
  10. Tarcs says:

    Thanks for sharing, MM. I posted an entry in my blog on my Angkor trip last year -http://mid-life-angst.blogspot.com/2008/10/angkor-wat-is-happening.html. I recommend the Palm Village hotel very highly, info in the post.

    Feb 8, 2009 | 12:42 am

     
  11. betty q. says:

    Zena: without a real cookie to use as a basis of comparison, that is what i could come up with. It would be different if I tasted one or even had a picture. But thanks to Christine L., she sent me a picture. She even described it. So send me your e-mail and I will send you a recipe based on the picture I have received! If you are satisfied with that one you made, reduce the amount of flour and it will really spread but it will be so fragile. Bake it at 350 instead of 375 in a conventional oven and keep it there for a few more minutes for crispier texture. But you have to keep an eye on it because of the sugar content, it will brown faster than an ordinary cookie.

    So sorry for the unwarranted interjected out of the topic comments, MM!..don’t know Zena’s e-mail so I can respond to her directly!

    Feb 8, 2009 | 12:47 am

     
  12. betty q. says:

    Zena: without a real cookie to use as a basis of comparison, that is what i could come up with. It would be different if I tasted one or even had a picture. But thanks to Christine L., she sent me a picture. She even described it. So send me your e-mail and I will send you a recipe based on the picture I have received! If you are satisfied with that one you made, reduce the amount of flour and it will really spread but it will be so fragile. Bake it at 350 instead of 375 in a conventional oven and keep it there for a few more minutes for crispier texture. But you have to keep an eye on it because of the sugar content, it will brown faster than an ordinary cookie.

    So sorry for the unwarranted interjected out of the topic comments, MM!..don’t know Zena’s e-mail so I can respond to her directly!

    Feb 8, 2009 | 12:47 am

     
  13. Pinky Sanchez says:

    Hi Betty Q, my name is Pinky and currently residing in Houston, Texas. I am one of those silent lurkers of MM’s blog, I really would like to communicate with you through e-mail, so can you please furnish me with your e-mail address? You can contact me at pinkysanchez@yahoo.com. Looking forward to hear from you soon.

    Feb 8, 2009 | 7:00 am

     
  14. Marketman says:

    Hi betty, zena, pinky et al. I typically do NOT give out readers email addresses unless both sides specifically agree, so it’s best for anyone who wants an address to post their own and ask the other party to provide theirs if they are willing. Many thanks… :)

    Feb 8, 2009 | 7:47 am

     
  15. Nina says:

    This is really a cool site, food and travel being at the top of my passions in life. I now check this site as soon as I log in and before I log out and go to sleep. OMG, I am now a marketmanila addict!

    Feb 8, 2009 | 8:05 am

     
  16. zena says:

    Hi, betty q.! Yup, I baked it at 350 for about 9-10 mins as i noticed that it did brown quite fast. Don’t think I will touch your recipe as any more fragility and it might break! I like it the way it is. I just had to make friends with the cookie and know its traits. =) Thanks for the offer, nevertheless. =)

    Feb 8, 2009 | 10:51 am

     
  17. millet says:

    “overtempled”…hahaha!!!you got it, MM!

    Feb 8, 2009 | 11:10 am

     
  18. Mila says:

    Speaking of overtempled, there’s a Buddhist temple tour of Indochina – Angkor, Luang Prabang, and Padan. Methinks, it would be too many multi-armed deities for me, but it would be a wonderful way to immerse oneself into Buddhist culture.

    Feb 8, 2009 | 3:36 pm

     
 

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