Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Temples of Angkor

The ancient temples and cities of Angkor are amazing in both scale and imagination. Unlike both Machu Picchu and Petra, much of the building materials for this vast area were imported or manufactured. The overwhelming scale of this place is hard to grasp and requires a tuk tuk, bike or car (or elephant) to traverse.

As interesting as Angkor, the khmer people fascinated me. I found many of the girls selling trinkets and books around the temples to be quite intelligent, many being able to hold conversations in eight or nine languages. They were quick witted and entertaining. When I brought out my bills (crumpled in my pocket as I usually keep them) to buy a book, the young lady selling the book was so bothered by the way I was not careful with my money that she tried to give me her own wallet, even though she was dirt poor. I was amazingly unaware of what the khmer have been through with various invasions and civil war and genocide. It will take generations to heal. I look forward to seeing more of Cambodia.