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Jac and Jay’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 13 Feb 2007

Location: Angkor, Cambodia

MapHow can Angkor be explained? Big doesn’t really cover it. That’s like saying the sky is ‘big’.

The Angkor region contains innumerable temples, which in their day doubled as cities and strongholds. You have to take breaks if you want to circumnavigate Angkor Wat, and even using a bicycle you’d be lucky to see more than two temples a day.

Every one of the monuments could absorb a lifetime of study. Not just in ‘how the hell did they pull this off?’ but also in why and what were they really trying to prove? The stories they tell are more imaginitive and meaningful than most I have heard. The carvings and statues are more intricate, provocative and inspiring than anything in Greece, Rome or Egypt. The sheer magnitude of Angkor Wat, the primary temple in the region, humbles St. Paul’s or St. Peter’s
Cathedrals.

I suppose the best way to put it is that Angkor was the centre of the world, and as such the monuments that mark this are as spectacular as the cosmos they pay homage to. Not only was Angkor a spiritual centre, it was also an administrative and strategic centre. The Khmer Empire once rivalled Rome or Mongolia in size and power, and the empire needed its bodies and souls to be protected and fed. The temples of Angkor served this purpose over the thousand or so years in which they were constructed and used.

Each of the temples probably deserves its own entry, so this will happen in the next few weeks as we are finally able to sift through the hundreds of photos and remember all the stories. We will even let you explorers in on our own favoured itinerary, specially designed to let you appreciate the magnificence of this area without getting ‘templed out’ (the single biggest danger to visitors of the park) as well as avoiding the package tourists (the single biggest annoyance).

Let it suffice that three lifetimes, let alone three days, is not enough to explore and truly understand this Wonder of the World. Everyone should visit this place before it is gone forever.

Stay safe cyberbunnies, the Apsaras are dancing over us all.
Love and Peace,
Jegar