Angkor Wat at Dawn

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I don’t have enough adjectives to describe what it wa like to watch the sun rise over Angkor Wat. Although my photos don’t do it justice, they will give you a rough idea of the grandeur of this sacred spot. It was worth getting up at 4:30 in the morning to view this remnant of an amazing civilization!
image The moat surrounding Angkor Wat represents the ocean you cross to enter heaven; it also serves as a wonderful mirror, heightening the beauty of the structure.
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Although we did a lot more today, there are only photos of Angkor Wat because anything else would look puny by comparison.

The five towers were constructed to resemble closed Lotus buds. The central tower represents Mount Meru, the home of the gods.
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Only the king and monks were allowed on the third level of Angkor Wat and they were required to CRAWL up to show respect for the gods, so the stairs were suitably steep.
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Although I don’t smoke cigarettes or eat products with hydrogenated oil, I HAVE been known to occasionally engage in risky behavior. Besides, I wanted to get in touch with my inner goddess, so of course I was climbing to the third level. The view was spectacular!
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I think I might have even had a vision of the Buddha. image Or could it be that the altitude produced hallucinations?
What a relief that I didn’t have to crawl up. After a few people fell from the stone steps, this wooden staircase was constructed. Only 43 steps to the top, but like the original, they were quite steep.

Two of my Pennsylvania pals, strutting their stuff
Two of my Pennsylvania pals, strutting their stuff

Another view of the moat
Another view of the moat

Since this is a shorter post, why not have a little contest? This one is fairly easy.

1. During this trip we have visited two places that were settings for movies. What were the movies,
2. and where were the locations?
3. Of the 4 countries we are visiting, which are constitutional monarchies and which are people’s republics?
4. Whose picture is on the Bhat?
5. What is the difference between the Chinese Buddha and the Buddha in the other Southeast Asian countries?
6. What precious stone is the emerald Buddha made of?
7. Who taught her granddaughter to cross streets fearlessly?

The Grand Palace

Pick your favorite adjective: outstanding…awesome…fantastic…way cool. Regardless of the word chosen, I’m confident that it will in no way capture the beauty, the wonder, the glory of the Grand Palace.

Mike and I will be returning to the palace with our Road Scholar group, so we opted to wander around aimlessly, gawking and gasping at the explosion of color and art that surrounded us.

Here’s a look at royal housing in the Kingdom of Siam in the late 1700’s

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There was a bit of a dispute over what the palace should look like. The king wanted a western style palace, but his advisors thought a traditional building was more appropriate. The end result was a western bottom and an eastern top.

The complex includes the Royal Monastery, which was built to house the Emerald Buddha. Although photos are not allowed within the monastery, you ARE allowed to take photos outside. this young lady is standing at a window and my zoom is all the way out.

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The “emerald” Buddha is actually made of jade. Thailand and Laos both claim ownership of it, with Laos accusing Thailand of stealing it from them in 1778, when Rama I conquered the capital of Laos and brought the Buddha to Bangkok. The Thais claim it was rightfully theirs, and was moved to Laos in 1552 by the son of a Chiang Mai princess and Laotian King, when he succeeded his father as King of Laos. Are you confused yet? I sure was.

The Royal Compound felt like Disney world on steroids, except this fantasy land is REAL.

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Every figure is unique. Check it out.

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These guys made me think of the Wizard of Oz.

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I leave Mike alone for 2 minutes, and look what happens.

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She was one of several women clamoring to have their picture taken with him. They also insisted on having their pictures taken with me. Since they didn’t speak English, I have no idea why, but my guess is they couldn’t get over how HUGE we are. “Look, I’m standing next to a giant!”
We were just another curiosity, sorta like this guard, who stood perfectly still, despite the steady stream of young women posing at his side.

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I had read about the Naga, snakes with multiple heads whose bodies are used as bannisters.

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This particular example has five, but there are also seven headed versions.

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The complex includes a scale model of Angkor Wat, so large that I couldn’t get it all into one photo.

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The attention to detail is amazing.

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Our last stop was Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles, an air conditioned oasis. It contains clothing the Queen wore during official visits, beautifully displayed with photos of the queen wearing the displayed garments. Now 71 years old, she was movie star gorgeous. She married the king before her 18th birthday.

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I can’t resist a few more photos of this amazing complex.

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