now, on to the real thing. the reason why tourists flock to angkor, cambodia — the temples, baby! they probably got hundreds of them, big and small. they got them all scattered all over the place like sugar on a shakoy. (if you’re a cebuano, you should know what that is! lol.)
but first, a word of advice. or warning, as the latter is more appropriate: keep in mind that all the pictures here (and in my succeeding blogs) are nothing — and i mean NOTHING! — compared to the real view. they don’t hold a candle to the real thing. because the real thing is a thousand times better. all i have here are mere snapshots of the places we’ve been to. i had to take in the size of the place as well as the magnitude of the temples and the extent of their ancient creativity and genius all in one second. so it was quite overwhelming. siem reap’s temples are truly amazing. this was what angelina jolie must have felt like when she visited. fancy that, angelina and i now have one thing in common! lol.
also, as we unfortunately didn’t have a tour guide during our temple tour, i will be googling some important infos, mainly for my own sake than for the sake of those who even bother to read this. (as selfish as this sounds, i blog for myself and for my grandchildren. i don’t need followers, i just need enough money to buy me some high quality sperms stored in a bank and to afford a healthy surrogate mother.) just click on the links if you want to know more. better yet, google them yourself, as my research will be somewhat limited to the first few sites i see. i am a lazy researcher. lol.
first stop — the angkor wat (angkor means “city” while wat means “temple”), the world’s largest religious building built during the 12th century by suryavaram II in honor of the hindu god vishnu. it was, how should i say it? very, very, very, very big. and i’m not talking about the stone structure yet. i’m talking about the size of the land it sits on. as for the building itself, it was huge. all made in stone.
my newfound friend who found my lost temple pass (will get to that story later), james bond, told me that it took 8,000 elephants to help build the place. 8,000 elephants, man! elephants! not koala bears, not monkeys, not even horses, but elephants! elephants are humongous. (my 2-year old niece knows what this means. let’s go ask her!) to have all 8,000 of them in one place is just crazy. and we’re not even talking about the human workers yet! so if there are 8,000 animals working on the spot, you can just imagine the number of laborers it took to get the work done. (i asked james bond how many people helped build the place. he doesn’t know either.)
if you’re an elephant lover, this will break your heart: in order to transport the blocks of stones used to build the temple, old elephants are killed and skinned. the dried skins are used as ropes to tie up the stones. apparently, elephant skins are tough and sturdy. (i touched an elephant there, they really are hard and thick!) so they tie those stones up in a bundle, hoist them on the elephants’s trunks and voila! they got themselves a crane.
now here comes that little story i wrote as a side note a while ago: for US$20, you can get yourself a one-day temple pass which you can use on all the temples you wanna go to. (mind you, the temples are not neighbors. you have to travel about 10-20 minutes by tuk-tuk to get from one temple to another.) now in that pass, you have your name, your (ugly) picture printed on it, as well as the date. temple officers inspect your pass before you can enter the temples. in short, YOU NEED THAT PASS.
and i lost it. barely 15 minutes in my hand since they issued it to me and i fucking lost it.
it wasn’t my fault, though. i was holding on to it like crazy but it was so dark and my sister asked me to hold another paper and i was fumbling for my cellphone to use as a flashlight that somehow, in all that frenzy, i realized after we were scammed that i was holding only the useless paper my sister asked me to hold.
so that’s when james bond came in. he told us he’d see what he can do. said he’d talk to some of the officers and ask them if somebody turned in a lost pass. somebody did (god bless him. or her.) and while we were waiting for the sunrise to do its magic on angkor wat’s gloriousness (never did), james bond approached me with my pass. (in actuality, james bond was a mere middleman. i believe my temple pass was, uh, passed on from one hand to another until it found its way to him.) as a way of thanking him, we promised to have breakfast at this little restaurant he recommended so he could get his commission. the end. everyone went home happy.
oh, did i mention that we got scammed. well, “duped” may be a better term. while entering angkor wat, this guy suddenly came up to us forcing a stick or two of incense into our hands, while ushering us to this buddhist statue found on the side. he told us to bow and pray for goodluck. and then, he asked us to give money as an offering. “for goodluck, for goodluck,” was all he kept saying. my companions were forced to give a dollar each. i didn’t want to. an offering is an offering. something you voluntarily do. until he said, “you too.” so there, i gave in.
maybe the offering did do me some good. i lost and found my $20 pass, right? right. sucker! lol.
they say sunrise at angkor wat is magnificent. i say we were out of luck. because when we left our guesthouse at 5 in the morning, it was drizzling. i asked the tuk-tuk driver if it always drizzles just before sunrise. he smiled and said, “no, just today.” so in a twisted way, i guess you can say we were very lucky. imagine, out of 365 cambodian dawns to watch sunrise in angkor wat, it had to rain on the day we were to go there! fantabulous.
so that’s basically our sunrise in angkor wat right there. but rain or shine, we’d still be doing jumpshots. a group of foreigners even came up to us and said they’d love to do a jumpshot too and asked if we could take their picture. i say jumpshots is a universal thing. everyone, whatever their race or culture, can do it and still have fun. plus, they can do it all together!