maandag 2 november 2009

Yesterday we arrived at Siem Reap (pronounced like Seem Reep) from Bangkok.
Siem Reap means: The place where the Siamese (Siem) were slain (Reap) by
the Khmers at the time.

The flight was on time and took only little more than one hour.
Before that we flew in about one hour from Yangon to Bangkok where we had to
stay for about three hours. Our suitcases were labelled through, so no carrying
of them or waiting at the luggage/baggage(what is the difference?)belt.
At the airport, as usual, there were people waiting for us who brought us to our
hotel, the Casa Angkor Hotel.

Today (Sunday 1st. November) starting early we visited Angkor Thom with the
Bayon Temple and Angkor Wat. These temples were built 1000 years ago by
Khmer Kings who were powerfull because they were able to have their people
harvest rice twice a year (the same as the Bagan Kings at their time in Burma).
They were rich because of that and it shows in their majestic temples in the
northwest of Cambodia.
These temples were created by Khmer kings form the 8th. till the 13th. century.
The most beautiful ones date from the 12th. century. The first famous king of
that time was Jayavarman II.
From the 15th. century the temples were abandoned by the kings and
subsequently forgotten until their rediscovery in 1861by a frenchman called
Henri Mouhot.

Angkor Wat (The temple of Angkor) seems to be the largest temple in the world
with a volume of stone, equaling the volume of the Cheops pyramid.
It is a 12th. century Hindu inspired temple which symmetrical towers (there are
now 5 but there were 9 towers) which are stylized on the modern Cambodian flag.
The building of the temple took some 40 years and is generally believed to have
been the funeral temple for the king at that time (Suryavarman II).
The temple has been occupied by budhist monks and is rather well preserved,
due to high quality building materials (very good quality sandstone). On its four
walls their are awesome bas reliefs showing Hindu tales of battles between the
good and the bad (the king with his monkey armies fighting the demons).

Angkor Thom (walled city) contains the famous Bayon Temple with the more
than 200 large mysterious smiling faces. It also contains the 300 meter long
elephant terrace with its large sculptured elephants.
In the same area you'll see the Leper Kings terrace with a statue of this king.

It was again very hot today and we drank a lot of water.
I am now writing at the hotel in our cool room (airco) and going to have a nap.
All is well, the food is good, the water - and beer - cold.
Alas no Ketel I over here.

Tonight we go to the river waterfront to look what is happening there.
Today there is now a waterfestival with boatraces, air balloons, dances and........
drinks (they say).
It is only some three hundred meters from our hotel and we will see.

Till the next time.

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