Traveling to Cambodia was part, see the family and part soak up the spirit of the country.
Cambodia this time of the year is hot as can be but when we arrived it was the beginning of the Rainy Season. Mornings, the sun would rise but by afternoon it was clouded up and some days the heavens opened up and with wind and rain, the country in places got a great soaking. At the beginning of rainy season it rains just long enough to make things really nasty afterwards. The air which is already very hot and humid becomes unbearable. The city of Phnom Penh is even worse as it’s clogged with traffic. Between the pavement which has soaked up the heat from the sun, cars and motor cycles. Then there is the air which is clogged due to the three above. Add that all together and you have an oppressive heat.
The first week we were there, we went to the Russian Market and had lunch. Two of my sons and my oldest daughter went with me. I was just trying to ignore the fact that the market was more than oppressive. It was like being in an oven with smells swirling around your nose that coupled with the heat was a noxious cocktail. My twelve year old was sitting next to me and not only was not liking it but was starting to get sick to his stomach due to the heat. We didn’t stay long after our lunch was finished. The Russian Market though, is the place to go for any kind of deals plus it is where you go find some of the neatest things for gifts to bring back home.
The one place in Phnom Penh I wanted to get to at least a couple times or more was the National Museum in Phnom Penh.
Here is a link about it. http://www.cambodiamuseum.info/museum_history.html
The driving force behind having it built was George Groslier 1887-1945. He was the first French child born in Cambodia, February 4th, 1887 and died in Cambodia in 1945 at the hands of the Japanese. Oddly enough two 0f my sons who were born in Cambodia, down in Kampot Province were the first white children born down there and one shares his (George Groslier’s Birthday)
So the first week I took two of my sons with me to the museum. It was a hot morning but it tends to be just a tad bit cooler in the museum. Its beautiful courtyards and the center where there are two lily ponds with goldfishes are a balm to the soul and spirit. I was excited because I would be going to see one of the four statues of King Jayavarman VII that still exist today.
We walked and viewed the different statues but I knew where I was going. It was to go sit happily in front of the King that I have come to respect so much. King Jayavarman VII took the throne when he was in his early 60s and reigned for about 39 years. That is a long time during those years to stay on the throne. I want to give you an idea of what was going on say in England at that time of Jayavarman’s reign. I will give you a list of monarchs that were on the throne in England at the same time. That gives a better perspective.While he and his queens reigned and ruled over what is now known as SE Asia, not just present day Cambodia but all of what is SE Asia. He shared his reign with his queens, Queen Indradevi and Queen Jayarajadevi or as they were known as the Royal Triad.
During Jayavarman’s reign he was basically at peace longer than his contemparies and he built more highways, schools, libraries, hospitals and temples to solidify Angkor Wat at the largest religious structure in the world. As of this date they are still uncovering more temples up in the mountains.
So I finally came to the king that I feel with each book I write, I find out more about him and his queens. My research library has grown with this trip. I know him more but there is still that mystery about him. I can sit for some time in his presence and feel quite at peace but still wondering what it must have been like to be in his and his queens presence.
What with having my sons with me though,I couldn’t just sit for very long so promised myself another time or two to visit and just take my time.
The second week one of my sons and I flew up to Siem Reap. We arrived in the early afternoon so we could check into our hotel and then get to the temples. We had a tuk-tuk pick us up at the airport and after a twenty minute ride we arrived at our hotel. This hotel has actually two sites and they provide the elephants to the temples.
In my haste to get us to at least Angkor Wat before sunset I forgot something to cover my arms. We decided to go the first afternoon to Phnom Bakheng which when you reach the top you can view Angkor Wat. Many people do just that, to view Angkor Wat at sunset. So before I could climb to the top I had to purchase a tee shirt to cover my arms to a degree. So I found a tee shirt and my son and I started our climb. It takes about 15-20 minutes to make the hike. You are surrounded by jungle all around you. The neat thing is this is not a dead temple area. There is life all around you. From the butterflies that flit across in front of you, to the birds and then there are the monkeys… Then you see wisps of smoke rise in the jungle and you know it’s a family making their meal for the evening. Just like back in the day when these temple ruins were alive with life, so was the surrounding area. It was home to people who lived and worked there at Yasodharapura which was the ancient name for Angkor Wat.
Quick history on Phnom(mount or mountain) Bakheng. It was built during the reign of King Yasovarman I who reined from 889-910 AD. It was dedicated to Shiva. So that made it a Hindu temple. Depending on the king, depended on what the temples were. It is sometimes called the ‘first Angkor’
Soaked with sweat you reach the top and then climb the stairs after your pass is checked. The top is crowed with people from all over the world. I have a video that I took while we sat in the little bit of shade we could find, thanks to the temple’s tower. I found a small spot and plopped myself down while my son stood.
What I wanted to do while up in Siem Reap this time was, see Angkor Wat again but go to Preah Khan to see my queens, ride an elephant and go to Banteay Srei (Citadel of the Woman). We got to do all three.
I will leave you with photos that I took while there in Cambodia. I will break the post up into different days because there is way too many photos to post in one day.
This author not only writes paranormal but Historical Romance. So this trip was a big help to absorb the country and temples I have fallen in love with.
Held a Great Council (Parliament) at Windsor in 1175. Buried at Fontevraud, France.
(Richard Coeur de Lion)
Placed Windsor Castle under the care of Hugh Pudsey, Bishop of Durham, who was attacked here in 1190 by William Longchamp, Bishop of Ely, and who captured the Castle. Buried at Fontevraud, France.
(of Magna Carta fame) Buried at Worcester.
Completed the walls around the Castle by building the west end and the three towers in the Lower Ward. He also built a chapel on the site of the present Albert Memorial Chapel, and the adjoining cloister and also the tower now known as the Henry III Tower. Buried at Westminster Abbey.