Friday, March 23, 2012

Onward to the Bayon and Thom - Cambodia

1st March 2012

A good hour and a half later after wandering around Angkor Wat, we cooled down in a nearby café. It was SO hot, other tourists where asking the gardener to hose them off, instead of the plants. We located our tuk tuk driver, Sojetta, in the parking area opposite Angkor Wat and after Stray had abruptly interrupted his nap, he convinced him to swap places.
Poor guy still looks half asleep.
Changing back, shortly before we arrived at The Bayon, notorious for it’s huge faces…just in case the cops were about.

Stray was a bit templed out, so I went it alone (while he no doubt mingled with the locals), organising to meet him back where I’d left him.
Rubble, yet to be put back where it belongs.
Quite a few photos later and wandering around aimlessly, I exited the way I’d entered…or had I?

There are four sides to the  square Bayon (duh) and I’d referenced a new gold image of Buddha as my entry point (stupid me). However, Stray was nowhere to be seen and as I sat staring, resting, nothing seemed familiar. Finally realising I wasn’t where I should have been, I hailed a security guard and pointed to across the road.

“Is that where the monkeys are?” Sojetta, had said ‘Walk that way to where the monkeys are and then onto the car, tuk tuk, park.

“No, you have to go to the next entrance.” he said smiling and motioning me on.

So, off I set walking around the perimeter of Bayon. But, as I walked in the stinking heat, still nothing seem to jolt the memory, until I’d gone 3 exits around, oi! If only the guard had pointed in the other direction!
A wall on the way to lunch
After lunch and an hour long sit down, Sojetta took us to Angkor Thom, opting out of visiting which Wat I’m not sure. “I just want to see the Buddha head in the tree roots” I kept saying and was excited to be finally on my way.
A before and after photo - click for a larger image
Thom was crumbling, held up in some places, seemingly, only by tree roots…so we’re on the right track, right? After walking around for an hour through a maze of tunnel like corridors, some which were dead ends, there wasn’t a Buddha head encased by roots, to be seen. No signs, directing the way and no guides to hijack to ask the question.
And, since returning and reading Cat’s encounter, which made no reference to the head…and Googling the matter, I’ve discovered that the famous head isn’t even in bloody Cambodia…it’s at FREAKIN’ Wat Mahatat in Ayutthaya. GGGRRRRR! Although there is this one at Tha Prohm Temple  , the temple our tuk tuk driver steered us away from!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

One question remains. The statues at one of the entrances, that had been decapitated and de-limbed for profit and sadly, repaired...they appear to be holding a battering ram of some sort? There were a few replica statues of the same around Siem Reap town and I'm wondering what they represent.


Snap's other blog Chiang Mai Thai


Catherine said... Best Blogger Tips

Great post Snap! I love reading your stuff. This one cracks me up :-)

From what I understand, they are holding the Naga (mythical snake). Nagas are everywhere.

I also got 'lost' at one of the Wats but that was mainly due to me needing down time. I know, I know, there were a zillion people all milling around but I needed to be in my own head. Alone. So when we reached Bayon, I sort of wandered off and kept wandering. And then I couldn't remember where we got dropped off. Ooooops.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Catherine They were nagas? I'm not surprised I didn't recognise them, being headless and all.

I so want to be in my own zone in these places...Stray often looks at me (I'm sure) as if to say 'What in the world are you looking at/taking a photo of?'

Catherine said... Best Blogger Tips

If you look at the entrance to Ankor, nagas line the walk across the moat. Mind you, this is what I was told... so if someone comes in and says no I'll have to reconsider.

"my own zone"

That's so me. We had a guide but while the rest of the group stood around listening I was usually off with my camera.

I don't mind (too much) being told stuff while in a vehicle on the way, but at venues as stunning as we saw in Cambodia, I'd like to be alone in my head. The Wats of Cambodia should be enjoyed in quiet.

With a few soft click click clicks in the background... obviously ;-)

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Catherine If only it were 10 degrees cooler... it would have been heaven.

It's not that I don't believe the naga's just that the statues in town are nagaless and the object is rectangular.

Re: Twitter tweets, now if only we could establish exactly who owns Angkor Wat ;)