Tuesday, June 1, 2010
On Tuesday (two weeks ago) Kelsey's co-teacher took us to see the Banteay Chhmar ruins. That was my first long-distance trip on the back of a moto on an unpaved road. I fully understand why everyone in Cambodia is wearing surgical masks all the time. When we got home I had to take everything out of my camera bag and beat the dust out.
Anyway, the Banteay Chhmar ruins are my favourite. They are in a state of complete disrepair and it didn't all happen centuries ago. Chai, the co-teacher, pointed out some rock piles that he remembered as still-standing galleries only five years ago.
Despite the delicate nature of the ruins, there wasn't anything that indicated you couldn't wander around and we clambered over huge piles of stone with pieces of bas relief and carvings visible. Cale and Chai even ventured into a gallery through a small opening that I was too scared to go into.
One of the best parts of this temple was the bas-relief. Compared to Angkor Wat the images were more cartoony. However, also compared to Angkor Wat the scale was much bigger. In the Angkor bas the relief itself could be a huge scene that depicted hundreds of individual people, animals, etc. Here the people and animals in the images were huge. It was amazing.
That night there was an amazing thunder storm. On two occasions lightening and thunder seemed to strike the house causing the ground to shake. The immediate and dramatic drop in temperature was welcome.
However, it also turned the dirt ground to mud. The next morning when we tried to leave, immediately after backing out of the drive to Kelsey's house the taxi driver backed the car off the mud road into a mud ditch and couldn't get out. We got out of the car and he enlisted another taxi and a rope to try to free his car. In the wait the viscous mud literally ate the shoes of Cale's feet. When the car was finally freed, Cale rinsed his mud covered feet at the corner store and they gave him plastic bags to wear as shoes until we got to Siem Reap and he could buy new ones.
Posted by Cale