Lucia has something to say

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A: Angkor Wat

They opened the photo album. My friends. On the dining table as we drank tea. In DC. In their house. The Center for Endless Tea. And told me about their visit to Angkor Wat. They had gone around on motorbikes. To magnificent temples. With jungle all around. And talked about how it would be developed soon. And it was best to get there before that happened.

It became. My dream destination.

It took me. Ten years to get there.

I arrived in Siem Reap with no plan. I walked across the hot tarmac and out of the airport. And there were 20 car drivers. Vying for fares. To hotels. To Angkor Wat. I picked one for no reason at all, except I needed a ride. To take me to a hotel. When I asked him if he knew anyone who could change the $100 of Vietnamese dong I forgot I had crammed in my pocket, he assured me that he knew a guy who knew a guy. And he did.

While I wandered the ruins, he snoozed in the car. Tripping through magnificent Khmer architecture. Stunning bas-relief carving. There are pictures. Of me. Smiling in a white shirt. And a black cap. I don’t know who took those photos. I expect I asked American. Or Canadian tourists. Who happily obliged. Sweaty. Avoiding anything off the beaten path. Landmines. I was warned.

A girl, not more than 7 years old, asked if I wanted to buy a bag. Deep maroon with gold elephants woven in. She walked next to me insisting it would cost the equivalent of $3. I still am not sure. Why I offered her $2. And she took it. I wish I could find her. And give her the dollar.

8 Comments:

Blogger jen said...

opening up your page and seeing Bayon (that is Bayon at Angkor, isn't it?) took my breath away.

absolutely. one of the best spots on the entire planet. i've been looking at posts there and getting close and yet still so far away.

8:53 PM  
Blogger thailandchani said...

Beautiful! I remember it. :)


Peace,

~Chani
http://thailandgal.blogspot.com

9:00 PM  
Blogger St. Dickeybird said...

I've always wanted to go there. Ever since the early 80s, when I read about Angkor in Rambo...

1:57 PM  
Blogger ThomasLB said...

I've always loved Cambodia.

9:08 AM  
Blogger QT said...

Thanks for this post - wonderful!

3:34 PM  
Blogger Popeye said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely. . .

3:46 PM  
Blogger Gordo The Geek said...

Man, you're making me pine for SE Asia, Lucia! Thailand wasn't enough. I must get back and see it all.

Cambodia's been an interest/focus since I picked up a book about the Khmer Rouge and their revolution. Knowing what the country has been through makes me want to know it intimately.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Tink said...

I just want to float along in your memories for awhile.

3:53 PM  

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