The Intricacies of Ruins


To continue my Cambodia sojourn…

After my escape from the exercising women atop Bakheng at sunrise and a quick breakfast from a street vendor, Mr. Kong and I started the long journey out to Banteay Srei.  As you will recall, Mr. Kong had a small motor for his Tuk Tuk, so our speed never topped 30 mph.  It was just enough speed to have a light breeze to keep me cool.  And wonderfully slow enough to fall into the mesmerizing scenery of green, green, green rice paddies and palm trees.  Mr. Kong drove for two hours outside in the full sun over bumpy, sometimes jarring roads.  While I on the other hand, relaxed under the shade of the umbrella roof with my feet up.  About 30 minutes before our destination the rains hit hard.  I suggested we pull over and get a drink and wait it out.  The bedraggled looking Mr. Kong gratefully agreed and after I was settled with a cool drink, he proceeded to have the lovely ladies at the nearby street cafe extract his back pain with suction cups.

Once the rains stopped we bounced along again and came upon Banteay Srei – the “woman’s temple.”    This little gem was built by the guru of the future king Jayavarman V. in the 2nd half of the 10th century.  Nearly every inch of the red sandstone is decorated with intricate designs.  Although small in size, I kept circling and re-visiting different sides to breathe in the beauty.

Banteay Srei Buildings CollageI was continually amazed at how well the carvings were preserved after 1,047 years.

Banteay Srei Carvings8

Banteay Srei Carvings5

Banteay Srei Cavings4

Banteay Srei Carvings3

Banteay Srei Carvings2

Banteay Srei Carving1After a nice long visit with mostly European visitors viewing quietly alongside me, Mr. Kong and I headed over to Bang Melea, the ruins that are ensconced with rooting trees and tumbling boulders.  I was excited, as I had been told you can climb and explore all you want at this location.  But unfortunately I found three large tourist buses had just arrived shortly before me, so it was over-run with picture-posing frenzy.  Needless to say, I didn’t stay long.

Bang Melea Entrance

Bang Melea

Bang Melea3

 

The roots and their determination to break through wherever they wanted to, was impressive.
Bang Melea Tree Roots5

Bang Melea Tree Roots4

Bang Melea Tree Roots2

 

Can’t you just see a scary movie in the making with this one?
Bang Melea Tree Roots

 

Very few carvings at Bang Melea.Bang Melea Carving

On the way out to Mr. Kong, I had to stop and spread the wealth to the locals.  At every location they were selling mahogany beads.  I’m hopeful that the trees are sustainably grown… they are gorgeous!

Bang Melea Trinkets

 

So then Mr. Kong and I started our long meander back to Siem Reap.  Here are a few of the images I caught, when I remembered to take photos.  It was so lovely to just smile and wave at the curious, happy faces.

TUK TUK Photos7

TUK TUK Photos6

TUK TUK Photos5

TUK TUK Photos4

TUK TUK Photos3

TUK TUK Photos2

TUK TUK Photos

 

What a great day.

So I will leave you there for now.  Coming up, one more day of gorgeous ruins, orphans, art…  Stay tuned.

Gretchen

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Adventure, Cambodia, Introspection, Photography, Travel

One response to “The Intricacies of Ruins

  1. The photos are fantastic! I always wonder at what point do people stop fighting the plants and trees off and just let it get to where it is today. Absolutely stunning!

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