I woke up in the morning with a dream that had given me a strong message. While waiting for my Tuk tuk driver to come pick me up from the Jasmine lodge, I enjoyed the morning sun and the high 70′s weather slowly rising to higher temperatures.
We departed, I had my pack set, water, check…Nice ripe mango, check, Cambodian avocado, check. Fuji apples, check, rambutan and mangosteen fruits, check…bread, some funds, camera…Scarf for neck, sunglasses for eyes, small pair of scissors to cut fruit with..let’s do this!
I came to the gate, paid my entrance fee and we started to cruise down a street that was bordered by a big forest. I started to smile, for I was about to engage in an adventure and exploration that would likely make an imprint on my mind for life. When given those opportunities, I try to make it a beautiful memory.
We entered into the open, WOW! I could see Angkor Wat, the large moat surrounding it, the sub-tropical rain forest spread everywhere. Where was I??
Here I was…Angkor.
Angkor is spread out throughout many miles. There isn’t just one temple, there are many and they are all over. I decided I’d let my Tuk tuk driver Vandee be the navigator since this is his job quite often and he’s getting to know me and my interests, (like when I’m looking up at the forest going, this is amazing!) so I’ll let him be the judge of what he thinks I will appreciate.
I got to Angkor Wat first, Vandee tells me to meet him on the other side. I begin to look at this magnificent structure and the vastness surrounding it. I walk slowly… I got all day and this is a day to simply explore and let it unfold.
I step on large stones across the moat, I try to understand the significance of this location, this temple as it was utilized before, this design and it’s symbolism. I enter in…
I’m greeted by a couple of guys who say, “here light incense for temple before entering.” He hands me some incense sticks, tells me to say a prayer for family, friends and good luck with girlfriend. It can’t hurt, and I’m a praying man, so I close my eyes, say a prayer and stick the incense before the Buddha Shiva. They offer me some green plum berries from the grounds and I chat for a bit. They give me some chili salt to go with the sour berries and it’s nice. They think it’s funny I enjoy them. Fruit from the temple grounds, brilliant…Whoa! Did I just see a monkey run by outside??
Time for me to go inside….
I look at the path ahead of me. It’s stone, wide and goes directly to the temple. I can imagine what my experience would be like if I walked down this path ahead of me, sprinkled here and there with some fellow Korean and Chinese visitors. But, if you know me, you know I don’t always follow the path everyone else is on. I go on the path not many people tread, and find that path most if not always very rewarding.
So I veered to the right as I admired the walls and intricate designs and noticed a trail head. I started to walk and immediately noticed some of the massiveness of the trees here. I continued to walk slowly…Smelling, breathing, listening…Looking.
The forest caught my attention and I wondered in awe over the life there, the big trees, and how lots of water encourages all sorts of growth.
I entered the temple~
Amazing, unique and intact.
So I walked out of Angkor Wat after a good hour or so and headed to meet up with Vandee. Wow! Check out that tree!
I got back to Vandee and we drove to another temple site. There I saw my first massive stone face that had been imprinted in my mind over the years….I saw some unique ruins, saw some more amazing trees and met some very sweet little girls. I couldn’t resist purchasing some bracelets and flutes from them.
Then Vandee and I trekked over to “Ta Phrom.”
I had some lunch…Mmmmm, avocado and apple sandwich..Some water, fruit. Vandee didn’t want any, he said he already had eaten. But I offered three times, just to be sure.
Vandee took me to some other temples~
It was an amazing day, truly one of the most amazing days of my life. This vast land was magical and I enjoyed the day thoroughly. Trekking through this garden, I’m reflective of how the earth used to be when it wasn’t inhabited by as many people. The forests were big, lots of animals, clear water abounding…Makes me wonder how heaven can be. Today in some ways was like heaven. It was just a perfect day. I hope someday you will be able to travel here. It is most definitely worth it.
I close off with a photo that defines my day and Angkor for me. Thanks for reading~