|Yesterday I continued on my Temple visits…I went to Ta Prohm, the temple used in that “Not to be missed classic:’Tomb Raider”(please know I am joking…other than the scenes of Cambodia that movie was a miss!!!)…that temple is being taken over by the jungle surrounding it…it is beautiful and eerie at the same time…as the day ended, my driver asked if I wanted to see the sunset on the hill…of course I did…he just neglected to tell me that I had to climb the hill and then brave the very narrow and steep steps up, yet another temple…this temple being the oldest and most sacred…I could have taken an elephant up the hill, but I trusted my feet more than my balance! After a good effort up the hill, I once again challenged my Vertigo with the stairs…what is it with these cultures hundreds of years ago with all of these VERY NARROW stairs….they must have had amazing legs!!!!… And no fear of heights! The sunset was worth the many mild heart attacks I had as I risked life and limb for the glory of witnessing the end of the day…After 2 days of Temples, that were absolutely amazing and well worth this side trip, I asked my driver if he could take me into the country a bit and show me a little more of Cambodia…he was kind enough to take me to a boat and load me in so that I could be taken to a floating fishing village…the driver of the boat spoke no English so I didn’t get much info about the village…it was an amazingly active water village…they do everything by boat…they had floating stores…a church…many houses…and they sold their goods via a wooden dugout boat…there was even a floating school…I really enjoyed seeing it…when I returned, my driver took me to another village by the river…most Khmer house are thatched walls and roofs on stilts to avoid tigers, snakes etc…they actually keep their livestock under their houses…all the water I saw on the plane tends to recede during the dry season and the various villages plant rice. During the rainy season, they leave their homes, since they are promptly flooded and move to higher ground…tough life… Cambodia is a trip well worth taking….Their political situation is too iffy to travel too extensively into the country, as well as the problem with land mines…I have seen dozens and dozens of people who have lost legs and arms…many are soldiers who still are on duty!…many are children….every family in Cambodia has lost someone during the Khmer Rouge…my driver lost his mother, aunt and uncle to the Khmer Rouge death camps…He also adopted a young girl who lost her parents in the war…Still, these people find reason to smile and be kind and trusting of strangers…I was invited into a home and offered tea….My driver said that a big tenet of Buddhism is to find happiness in whatever situation…he said if a field has been mined and there is destruction in that field, find the flower in the field and appreciate it’s beauty!…now that is a philosophy!…they truly live that creed if “if you are given lemons, make lemonade!…It has been inspirational meeting these people…. They are incredible.
And let me repeat that the food has been great…even though most of the time I have been here, I haven’t known exactly what I’m eating….I trust the people to choose something interesting for me…my mother would be surprised that the child she referred to as “the pickiest eater on earth” has grown up to travel to developing nations and dive into their culinary delights blindly! Well I leave tomorrow for Singapore and then on Thursday for home…Thanks for indulging my travel writings.