23rd March 2017
The past few days have been spent razzing’ it around Bangkok on the back of a scooter. I didn’t figure I’d be doing that on my trip, too many horror stories of broken bones and travels cut short, however, I found myself a top gun pilot and I got the job of navigator and turns out it’s the best way to see the city.
Also made it to the top of one of the ridiculously tall towers for beers and cocktails and the sun dipped down. Awesome end to 3 weeks of Thai adventures. I’d decided it was time to cross a border and explore more. Cambodia was the obvious choice. Time to get ancient.
I love first impressions. It’s that make or break moment that will define you for eternity if you make a big enough impact. My arrival at the hostel was momentous. First up imagine me sweating about 3 times more than that time you had to restrain me in the club because I was dancing ‘too much’, and looked like I’d just gotten out the shower. Remember that?! Ha!
I’m trying to drag about 22 kg up some metal stairs, I go head first and fall up the stairs into the feet of the woman showing me to my bed. Good. Good look. Not quite as good as when I get to meet my new roomies and realise a jar of Omega 3 supplements and some activated charcoal have smashed in my bag and mixed together to make a nice black, oily fish paste. It reeks. I reek. After unsuccessfully trying to flush the fish slick down the toilet, I just accept that’s what I’ll be known as now – Fish Girl. It smells like a dolphin’s wet dream and the heat is making it even worse. Good.
I booked a private driver for exploring the temples at sunrise, not because no one wanted to be fish girls friend but small talk such as ‘Where are you from? Where have you been? Where are you going? What do you do?’ drains me. It turns out I’m way more of an introvert than you’d probably expect. I’m realising I can get on with pretty much anyone, but there’s only a select bunch which I’d happily hang out with all day. Pi, my driver is cool. I will hang out with him.
At 6am we arrive at Angkor Wat. OoOoOooooh mystical (insert smoke machine here), very majestic, ancient as it gets mate.
There’s mist floating over the moat that surrounds the temple, it represents the Hindu cosmic sea, that’s not water you see, it’s creation, life and energy inviting you to ride on a cosmic wave whose white horse waves will come crashing down on the beaches of salvation.
A black serrated edge silhouette, tipped with lotus shaped tops, against the purple sky teases you with what’s to come. This temple is the biggest temple in the world, dun dun derrrrrrrrrrr (!) and it draws the big crowds too. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, he’s the blue god with 4 arms who’s ultimate protector of the universe, big responsibility means big Hindu temple. You’re responsible now for your own son, protector and up keeper of the lil’ chap. Now imagine that times infinity, Vishnu’s job.
It was built to look just like Mount Meru, that’s where gods live and it’s the centre of the Hindu universe. It’s old, like real old, like 12th Century old. For the mega-geeks, there’s a ton of insanely genius mathematical equations and solar alignments involved in the architecture.
I wander around dodging the other tourists as they stop to take a selfie on the path towards the temple. The ancient path of enlightenment. Don’t forget your selfie stick.
So many people gaze upon this idyllic spot every single morning. Yet it’s the morning that’s also taking away the temples more delicate details. You can see every single brick has grooves and bumps all over, now smooth. They used to be embellished all over with carvings of demigods to appease the all mighty gods, like “Hey gods, look at all these demigods yet still not a single one as awesome as you!”.
The morning mist just keeps eating away every intricately carved surface and we’re left with only an outline of what was once here. The skill and workmanship put into this place is beyond comprehension and soon it will be beyond visibility too.
We saw about 5 other temples that day. All awesome, ancient and everything you’d expect to see so I’ll just tell you about my absolute favourite, Ta Prohm. I know how much you love Jurassic Park, and I figure Indiana Jones wouldn’t be too much further down your film list, followed perhaps by Tomb Raider… well, this is that temple! I love it.
Deep in the jungle, the tree’s are taking back the temple to the earth from which is came. Their huge trunks suffocate it. Pouring themselves over the rocks like thick lava slowly bending and covering every single crevice.
There are piles of tumbled bricks lying all about the place with ‘No climbing’ signs placed upon them. It looks like giants have been playing Jenga. Crazy to think it took 10 million bricks to build this lot. Fascinating.
I’m also fascinated with every hole that’s been drilled into the bricks. How did they do that? What did they use? Isn’t the plumbing here awesome and exciting? Or am I just a total nerd? I think not. I look forward to bring you with talk of ancient plumbing techniques upon my return over Pizza Express’s finest products.
There’s too many tourists to peg it round the temple doing some kick ass ‘jump n rolls’ or vine swinging but check out this lil’ fella that I found. He looks like a big bad ass spider.
I didn’t get too close at the time, turns out he’s a St Andrews Cross spider. And those 4 things that look like extra long legs aren’t. He’s just really into home decor and makes these wiggles in his web to make it look more rad.
Hope all your home decor’s coming along nicely. I’m excited to see it all when I get back. No doubt your loft full of carefully placed rain trap baking trays will be a drip free dream by then.
Lots of love, as always,