This is supposedly the face with the biggest smile, although no one knows why. I did ask him "What are you smiling at?" but he didn’t answer. Jerk.
Part of the Elephant Terrace. Basically, it's a terrace with a lot of elephants on it, like this three-headed one. Go figure.
The entrance of Angkor Wat, which you can see in the distance. Besides being surrounded by a wall, it also has a moat: it makes a giant rectangle that's over 600 feet wide, and is almost a mile long on each side. That, my friends, is a pretty serious moat.
Angkor Wat, even closer. Yes, it's that big.
Angkor Wat yet again. I know, the picture looks cool ... until you realize it was taken from the designated "stop here to take a picture of Angkor Wat reflected in this pool" spot, and there were about 200 people taking that exact same picture with me. Go tourists, go!
Inside Angkor Wat. The steps are really steep--10 inches high at least and no wider than your foot. As you might imagine, coming down is even more fun. All fours, anyone?
Another view from inside Angkor Wat. In the far left corner, you can a set of stairs. Like I said, steep
One of the many tiny temples that dot the Angkor area. Sort of like a medieval pox in that way, except for cool, not gross and deadly.
This is the entrance to Ta Prohm, now forever--sadly--known as "The Tomb Raider Temple." Yes, for those of you who actually got that far into the Tomb Raider movie, this was where they filmed the ancient temple part of it. It was actually a good choice, because it was one of the coolest temples--all crumbly and tree-covered, which is the way you expect a thousand year old jungle temple to look. Or at least the way that I expect it to ...
More from Ta Prohm. The guard looks excited to see us, doesn't he? (He's on the left side of the picture--he sort of blends into the background with his eerie chameleon powers. Or something.)
So up above when I said "tree-covered," I was being literal: the trees, silk cotton trees from what I've been told, literally cover the temple. Now this, my friends, is what I call a jungle temple. Very Jonny Quest, don't you think? The other amazing thing is how big the trees are. I know this picture makes the tree look small, but it was really gigantic, as you shall see ...
The same tree, but with us in front of it. I told you it was big. (For those of who you don't have the great pleasure of knowing me personally, I'm six feet tall, so that should give you some perspective.)
More twisty trees. This is actually a smaller tree growing over a dying or just plain dead bigger tree. Such is the cruel way of the wild.
Hey, I'm a tree hugger.
Of course, one of the problems with your millennium old temples is that they usually need some fixing up. In the background, however, is a building that has managed to survive the centuries.
Unlike, say, this building, which was right next to the one pictured above. Small, old, and falling apart--or, as a real-estate agent might say, a "charming fixer-upper."
Cool picture, huh? I thought you'd think so. We all know that what goes up must come down, but apparently the reverse is true as well. Of course, it's a bit more complicated when the thing coming down is a 1,000 year old stone temple. Hence the numbering of every single stone on the ground, I'd guess. Fun job, I'm sure.
Another problem is that even if they can put things back together, they might not be able to find all the pieces. Oops.
Those of you who have ever been to a tourist site of any kind will not be surprised to learn that there were people trying to sell us stuff everywhere we went. And not just people, but little kids. They would say things like, "Hello, mister. You want postcard?" Then I would say, "No, I already bought postcards." "But not from me." "But I don't need any." "Okay, maybe later." "Maybe--but probably not." "Okay, I remember you mister and you buy from me."
Repeat this to yourself roughly 7,000 times over the next 48 hours, and you'll know what it was like.
One of the many sellers coming up to see me. Trust me, she was a lot less cute after the fiftieth time she asked me if I wanted to buy bracelets from her.
One of the ubiquitous naga (seven-headed snakes) at Preah Khan, the "Sacred Sword." (Sword not pictured.) This is actually one of the better preserved ones--you can even see the hands wrapped around the bottom. (Almost everything is made of sandstone, so the detail isn't holding up so well.)
Gods holding the naga. Or at least statues of gods. And the naga. Which is good, because it would have been a lot freakier with a seven-headed snake cruising around the place.
Preah Khan was very cool because it was big, hardly anyone was there, and you could climb around almost everywhere. Like here, for example.
Like any self-respecting ancient jungle temple, Preah Khan also had trees everywhere.
This tree, though, needed a little extra help to stay up. (It's the same tree in the picture above.)
More trees and temples. And Holly in the corner. Although she's actually just resting, not praying. It was hot. Really hot. Lots of resting was required.
More resting at Preah Khan. Seriously, it was hot. Did I mention that already?
Some dork at Preah Khan. Sit up straighter, Pointdexter ...
* phog = photo blog. Learn it, love it, live it, people.
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