Angkor is the place. Wat means temple. So whenever you hear of a Cambodian place with Wat in the name, it’s a pretty safe bet that it’s referring to a temple.
I had heard of Angkor Wat before but new bupkus about it. Big temple in the Cambodian jungle. Yippee. Well, that assumption just happened to be almost correct.
I say almost because the main temple you see on the tourist brochures is only one in a series of temples and religious structures close to the modern town of Siem Reap.
The main structure is also said to be the largest Hindu temple and religious structure in the world.
During the time-period from the 9th to 14th centuries while the area was a thriving ancient community, the faithful would come from all over their known world to pay homage to their Deity. Not only was the temple the largest Hindu structure in the world, the temple also included (and still includes) places of worship for those of the Buddhist faith. It’s still an active Buddhist temple.
Undoubtedly the scale of the place must have overwhelmed the faithful.
On this day, it was tourists that were doing the overwhelming. Climbing up wooden stairs, scrutinizing statues, photographing wall carvings, all making for some interesting conversations between visitors. Such as…
“It’s Namaste, dammit, NAMASTE!!! Jeez! Get it right!”
“Look ‘enry, lookit that! Why, she’s got no top on!”
“You ‘aven’t looked. Look.”
“Yes dear. I’m looking now dear.”
“Why, that’s promography, that is. Right, ‘enry?”
“Yes dear, that’s terrible. Promography. Terrible.”
“That’s an awful amount of work.”
“Yep, sure is. That’s why they had slaves. To do all this finicky stuff.”
“They had slaves?”
“Yep, think so. How much in today’s money that you think this would cost, round figures?”
“Few million, that’s for sure.”
“Yep, that’s for sure.”
“Yep, coupla million.”
And my favourite, between a couple of boys, probably age 10 or so…
“Didja see that? Ha ha ha!”
“Those carvings of those fairy-like things. You can see their boobies!”
“What? Where? Where?”
“Over there by the corner! Ha ha ha!”
“Yes way! Really! Just look!”
“Woo-hoo ha ha ha! Boobies! Ha ha ha ha!”