Wat’s new Kaun Chhma?

That’s Khmer for “pussycat”…..as if you didn’t know !

Siem Reap, on the other hand of the four armed Vishnu, means ” Siam vanquished”.  It seems the Thais were the evil colonial overlords here for several centuries before the French arrived and shoved their baguette in.

Our lovely guide Kachhel told us that before April 1975 the population in Cambodia was 6 million.  By early in 1979 it was 3 million.  2 people out of that “missing” 3 million were Kachhels father and grandfather. Now, after 20 years of peace, the population has boomed to 16 million.

Back to Chin’s Khmer Grill for lunch.  Cashew nut smoothie, mango juice, mango with sticky rice, mango with eye watering garlic in a salad and 2 strong coffees ? $16.90 AUD !!!

Yesterday we wandered amazed through Angkor Wat but that was only the beginning. We visited Ta Promh (used in the Angelina Jolie film Tomb Raider). King Jayavarman VII built it for his mum and originally a lot of the rooms were studded with precious jewels. King J was a great social reformer building many schools, hospitals, public buildings and rest homes during his reign. It probably helped that he was a kick-ass commander and regularly booted the much hated Chams right in the freckle.

Whilst Angkor Wat is a testament to humanity’s great architectural prowess, Ta Promh has been carefully orchestrated to remind us that even though we can conquer nature to create the magnificence of Angkor Wat, Nature has the power to take it all back. And eventually will.

Lordy!  You can’t help but ponder over such philosophical musings in a place like this. If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, you know the drill

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Kachhel claimed this depicts a kangaroo, and below that a dinosaur.  We think so too.

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On to Bayon in Angkor Thom, which had been the capital of the Khmers in their classical period ( roughly from 1000 to 1300 AD). The stone temples and images fortunately remain, but the massive suburbs and Royal palaces of wood and tile are long gone.

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It must have been quite a place, there were dancing girls (asparas).
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Fishies and Birdies

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Cockfights

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Pig fights

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Even the crocodiles enjoyed themselves whenever a sailor fell out of their boat.

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Stairs, stairs, stairs, up, up, up to the home of the many faced Gods. It has been suggested that these four-faced heads are modelled on King Jayavarman VII (he was after all a god King) and/or bodhisattva of compassion. Kind of makes Narcissus seem shy and retiring.

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It may be a many faced God’s world but it wouldn’t mean nuthin’ without a woman or a girlimage

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A hidden goddess

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We dined tonight at an amazing French restaurant. Tomorrow Mr Sam is taking us on the tour part 2.  We are exhausted, ( may have been the Siem Reap craft beers and French Chardonnay) but happily so and looking forward to more adventures in Paradise.

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