Saturday 1 February 2014

Temples and butterfiles…

Of course, the main attraction to Cambodia is Angkor Wat, which I believe is the largest religious monument in the world and was built by King Suryavarman II in the 12th century…

It was much warmer than Laos, so we were finally able to make use of the shorts and T-shirts we had packed!

Ebi-kun was really excited to look around, he had read all about the Churning Of The Ocean Milk and wanted to see the real thing, I noticed so many people just walking right past the carvings, yet they are one of the most important parts of the temple. It takes a good couple of hours to wander round and take them all in an I highly recommend a good guide or a decent guide book that teals you about each scene.

Here is Vishnu on his turtle giving directions to the 88 Devas and 92 Asuras who are using the serpent Vasuki to churn the sea.

Some areas of the bas reliefs are in amazing condition but some haven't faired so well. There are also bullet holes dotted around the place from when the Khemer Rouge used the temple as a base.

The detailing and workmanship is really special…

The first time we visited there were no rules and just a dodgy handrail for going up to the top section of the temple. Now, children under 12 are not allowed, they have a proper up and down system going and they only allow a set amount of people up at a time, very much one in one out type of policy. Since Ebi-kun wasn't allowed up and the queues were horrendous we skipped going up this time.

Another difference was that these days you are able to wander around the forest surrounding the temple, before it was strictly 'stay in the temple grounds' and land mine signs were everywhere beyond the walls, it looks like they have all been cleared these days.

For lunch we headed back into town to the Butterfly Garden Cafe, a lovely peaceful spot with a garden full of butterflies…

We had a relaxing lunch, noodle soup and fried rice…

And a chicken and cashew sandwich. Unlike when we were in South America, we have never worried about getting sick from the food here, Cambodians are strict about their food hygiene, even when cooking in poor conditions they keep everything clean.

As we were eating lunch, I noticed a bunch of kids had arrived and we playing around, I figured it was lunch time at school and they had come home for lunch. Then I realised they all has a basket. The cafe owner gave each child some bread and some money and the kids released a load of butterflies from their baskets, so it looks like they were being paid for collection them - this is speculation!

You wouldn't think you were in the middle of the town would you?

After lunch we had a bit of a mooch around the old market, it hasn't changed much but the driver told us that these days, what they sell in the market is no longer made in Cambodia, most of it is imported from Thailand and China. Everything is still cheap but we decided that we would be picky about where we bought from.

We did notice that quite a few 'boutique' style shops have popped up, this one is run by a young Japanese woman and they sell lovely organic handmade soaps and skin care goods. The shop was beautifully laid out and it is fair trade, money from the shop goes back into the community. Yasutoki needed to get 'omiyagi' (gifts) for his co-workers - it is the Japanese way! and bought quite a lot from Kru Khemer.,we also tried some of the soaps, they are lovely!

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