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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Memories in Cambodia (Angkor Wat) - Part 3

As the day went on, we proceeded to one of the most famous ancient Angkor sites - Ta Prohm. This temple is famous for the massive trees that grow undisturbed and undeterred on top of the stone structures. What's amazing is seeing nature fighting relentlessly against man-made buildings - the eternal struggle between man and nature.

As a result from not clearning the entire jungle, many of the structures were in ruins. The reason to this was, as the trees grew, their roots would become entangled into the stone blocks. If the tree were to die, it would pull the structure down with it.

Some of the trees had trunks so wide in diameter I guess it would probably take dozens of people to form a circle around it. From what I heard, some of them were four to five hundred years old!

Ah, and for the famous part, I'm sure many of you would have caught a glimpse of the site before. It has appeared in none other than the first Tomb Raider movie, where our sexy Lara Croft picks a flower when the ground gives way and she plunges into....Pinewood Studios, Hollywood.

That particular site was so packed with visitors we didn't had the chance to snap some pictures. It was interesting to see middle-aged oriental faces speaking excitedly as they followed their tour guides. Most of them were Koreans or Taiwanese.

We didn't quite like the Korean tour groups because, contrary to the dramas they produce, they're actually quite a noisy crowd and can be quite rowdy at times. A good method of avoiding these crowds is getting ahead of the main groups, then fall back to visit the early sites once the crowd has dispersed.

After the temple in the jungle, we were escorted into the confines of Angkor Thom, literally called 'The Great Citadel' because of the size of its grounds. At the centre of it stood the grand temple, Bayon.

Like many other temples, the Bayon had its own attraction to visitors. What would look like rocks piled on top of each other from far, would reveal the real beauty once you came closer to it.

Most famous here were the stone faces carved into the many towers surrounding the central peak, as well as the peak itself. The faces, totalling about 200 of them, are said to be carvings of a Buddhist god, or even the king himself.

Looking at the huge faces, it kind of takes away the mistery of Mona Lisa's smile. If you're searching for enigma, try studying the various expressions on these stone faces. I bet it would be even more intriguing!

Hello...what are you looking at?

Next up, to the interiors of Angkor Wat as we round up our tour...

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