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Friday, November 15: Day 207 – Tomb Raiders

Ta Prohm was a Buddhist temple and the Hindus took out the Buddha. It has been restored by the Indians, and the Buddhas remain removed. Whoever is in power takes over buildings for their own use…even today.

They gave a lot of money to film the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Many Cambodian people thought that it was bad to use a revered holy place in this way. However, because of the movie tourism has boomed with 5.8 million tourists in Cambodia last year.

Kapok Trees grow on the temples. The kapok tree was once used for the cotton stuffing for life vests as it floats.

The trees are holding the temple structure together. When a tree dies, then the temple will be restored.

There are 39 towers used for worship. One was used by royalty and contained 35 large gemstones. The structure used sticky rice stucco guilded with gold.

This one resembles buttocks.

Castle is a large building or group of buildings fortified against attack with thick walls, battlements, towers, and in many cases a moat.

Temple is a building devoted to the worship, or regarded as the dwelling place, of a god or gods or other objects of religious reverence. These temples also have moats.

There was interaction with Egypt and Greece from the 3rd-9th century and is depicted in the art. As an example of the syncretism, there is a specific art form called Greco-Buddism.

Historically, the most prevalent health problem in Cambodia was hemorrhoids. There was no water to wash or soft paper to wipe.

The remedy was sitting on a bamboo herb steam pipe for three weeks. That seems like it would be the cause, not the cure.

The next concern was leprosy.

Today, malaria and dengue fever are problems since these are transmitted by mosquitos, and they don’t use air conditioning.

If one buys a ruby and sapphire, go to a reputable jeweller to get a certificate. If you ever want to sell it back, you will get 93% of the purchase price with the certificate.

Hammocks are used by everyone, everywhere, and by all ages. Jute is the best quality hammock.

Water hyacinth is edible.

Ratan grows here and is used for weaving.

Many statues from the Angkor Archeological Park have been moved to protect from looting.

In 1998 someone suggested that the layout of the temples in the Angkor Region mimicked the dragon constellation in the sky. The author no longer espouses that theory.

Celestial-Terrestrial Link

The workers who built the temples were not paid but were fed and housed by the royalty.

One passes through 37 heavens of life before reaching Nirvana. Here is one of the towers in Angkor Wat with 37 steps.

In Nirvana there is no life so there is no suffering. When one reaches Nirvana, that is the end of life. The life cycle is over. This makes me sad. As a Christian, my life lasts through eternity with a living Father where there will be no suffering, no pain, no tears. Indescribable joy!!

The Banteay Srei temple is rare as it uses pink and yellow sandstone. Laterite stone is not volcanic rock, but is found in wet tropical regions.

In 1914 a Frenchman named Georges André Malraux rediscovered Angkor Wat. In 1923 he stole precious pieces of bas relief panels from the Banteay Srei temple and transported them by oxcart to be delivered to France. He was arrested by Indochina police. This famous thief was convicted but didn’t serve out his sentence. Later, he was made Minister of Cultural Affairs in France. He was an admirer of Lawrence of Arabia. Today the stolen panels remain in Guimet Museum in Paris.

While restoring temples, concrete was used. However, its use was discontinued in 1993. Today lime is used to connect the old stones.

In 967 this temple was built by the guru of the nine-year-old king for women warriors who fight against Siam.

Banteay Srei is a 10th century brick temple in Angkor called the woman’s temple because it is on the first floor which is easier for those wearing a skirt. The decorations are very small and delicate requiring the patience of a woman.

Whenever we go to a place to visit, we like to learn as much as we can before we leave. We have not been able to do that on this trip. Perhaps we can become more informed upon our return. Here are links that I found informative:

Recommended Books About Cambodia

Recommended Movies About Cambodia

We saw rice noodles being made:

Soak rice overnight.

Mash and collect the solids by draining on cotton cloth. It is harder than it looks.

Watch the following short video:

Cotton cloth containing solids is further squeezed by putting under heavy stone.

The compressed ball is submerged into boiling hot water.

It is then taken to a leg-powered masher.

Then the mixture is put in a cylinder with holes on the end. One uses their weight to press the mixture through to make noodles that go directly into the boiling water.

I told Sean that this is how they get hemorrhoids.

After the noodles come to the surface three times, they are removed and rinsed three times with water.

Then a final rinse with well water.

Next, they are gathered into small bunches and the water is squeezed out. They are placed in a banana leaf to dry.

Let’s eat!!!

They are able to make 220 lbs per day. They are done by noon.

Phnom Penh Dried Noodles are made by machine and sold internationally. These homemade ones can only be eaten here in Cambodia. They were delicious. The restaurants come here to buy their homemade noodles each morning.

We say goodbye to our Avalon Tour and our Cruise Director tonight with a farewell dinner where we will see the traditional Cambodian Apsara dancing. This dance style almost disappeared. The Royal Ballet was established to keep this cultural arts form alive.

Indigenous Dance

There are 4,500 moves, and one must study for 16 years. The movements are slow and deliberate.

Khmer Rouge almost wiped out those that danced or taught the Apsara. One survivor taught the grandmother which in turn taught the granddaughter and they established the Royal Ballet. The granddaughter recently died.

Apsara Princess

The Royal Ballet recruited 150 to 300 young girls from poor families. They had to live within 20 square miles of the school. The girls attended public school and in the afternoons they came to bend their fingers and toes for 3 hours per day, 6 days a week.

The Apsara is uniquely Cambodian and is recognized as an intangible culture by UNESCO.

We saw four different dance types:

Peacock Dance

Mekala Dance which is good triumphant over evil.

Fishing Dance which is done in November. Fishing is not done from June to Sept as that is when the fish are spawning.

Apsara Dance which prior to 1993 was not allowed to be seen by anyone except royalty and the gods.

Today tourists are now royalty!! We were able to have our picture taken with the dancers.

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