20.12.2016 - 20.12.2016
Tuesday, December 20
We left our hotel this morning at 4:30 to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat. This is a prime location for photographers – and hundreds of them from around the world were there for the sunrise. We got shots of the Angkor Wat silhouette in the dawn light, but the skies were not dramatic that morning. We spent the next 8 hours wandering around the 3 main temple locations: Angkor Wat, Bayonne Wat, and Angkor Thom where part of the movie Indiana Jones; Tomb Raider was filmed. The construction is amazing with volcanic rock covered by sandstone blocks fitted together by slowly swinging the block being inserted back and forth to grind it down to fit, and then using a 'keystone' kind of fit to lock it into place. We walked 22 km around the ruins and almost all of the walls we saw were covered in ornate carvings.
We encountered some monkeys and elephants – but they were along the roadways, not in the temples. We’d just finished drinking some fresh coconuts, so we gave the monkeys the hulls and they certainly knew how to get at the tender white meat left inside.
This evening we went to the Phare Circus that has provided street kids with employment opportunities by training them in gymnastic skills to a level at which they could work in a circus. It was an amazing performance that portrayed Cambodia's recent history.
The Artists and Artisans program which trains the circus performers also trains people in various arts and crafts and has a storefront. It's unfortunate that about 30% of kids in Cambodia are not able to go to school. NGO's are helping to address some of the need. Our host, Sambo, felt that World Vision is doing a good job of assisting community development here.