My apologies for the lack of posting lately… I’ve been off working, hosting a visiting friend, and templing. Speaking of touring Asia, I often wonder why Americans have so little interest in traveling generally (only 20% even have Passports) and why when they do like to travel it’s mainly to Europe. I think it has a lot to do with the fear of the unknown, but just as much to do with ignorance of how many amazing things are in Asia–and these temples were seriously incredible. I think people think that all of Asia is China and that all of China looks like Chinatown, which couldn’t be further from the truth. And, yes, I do think, sadly, that their is some Ethnocentrism at play here, too. By the way, once you buy a ticket traveling here is much, much cheaper!
We passed the Easter holiday with our friends Lauren & Michael in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Angkor Wat, above and below, is the world’s largest religious building. It was first a Hindu and then a Buddhist temple built for King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city. (I was very annoyed by the green tarps around scaffolding… couldn’t they have at least made it grey to blend in a little more?)
This is a view from the high tower above within Angkor Wat–back in the day, only the King was allowed up here to pray. I was quite taken by all the monks walking around… interestingly enough you can become a monk here for just a few years–it’s not a life-long commitment like the priesthood so a lot of young boys do it before marrying.
My favorite temple was Bayon or Angkor Thom with 216 faces carved into it. Talk about incredibly mysterious!
The whole time we were here, it felt like a combination of being in Robinson Crusoe, King Arthur’s Court, and Indiana Jones. Unlike Europe, things here are for better or worse not nearly as protected… there are no velvet ropes or areas you’re not allowed to go; everything is fair game.
The jungle temple or Ta Prohm is where Angelina Jolie filmed Tomb Raider. A few scenes from Troy were also shot here. King Jayavarman built this temple to honor his mum (wish I could top that on Mother’s Day) and it’s incredible how the silk-cotton trees have grown around it over the last 800 years.
Jolie is set to star with Jet Li in another movie set in Cambodia entitled the “Great Khmer Empire” which will tell the story of King Jayavarman–I can’t wait to see it! I hope it brings to life the man behind all of these insane buildings! Angelina must be quite taken with Cambodia; she adopted Maddox from here and was also granted a Cambodian citizenship. Below, Lauren and I pose as Laura Croft.