15 May 2010

Looking Down on Siem Riep

We may run, walk, stumble, drive, or fly,
but let us never lose sight of the reason for the journey,
or miss a chance to see a rainbow on the way.
-Gloria Gaither

An aerial view of a landscape changes ones perspective of it completely, so when I learnt we had a chance to go up in the air and look down on Angkor Wat, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity.   The Angkor balloon is tethered so you are stationary as opposed to a hot air balloon, but it was a cheap price for a quick thrill, and hey..we may never be back here.

Al was the only person interested in joining me in the balloon and I wonder if we would have chickened out if Dino had told us before we hopped on that only a few months ago this balloon had got lose of its mooring and taken its passengers for a real ride!

Intrepid_Cambodia2 Looking down with the eyes of a hydraulic engineer I was reminded of what I had read about this place.  This was a city which had once been dominated and sustained by one of the most complex hydraulic networks in the pre industrial world.  This had once been a very engineered landscape with enormous reservoirs connected to numerous channels and outlets set amongst grand monuments and village dwellings.  Today, we looked down on a very flat landscape that was obviously floodprone and very fertile.  We could also clearly see the moat around the Angkor Wat, built to symbolise the oceans.

We visited some of the same temples I had seen before but also quite a few different ones.

IMG_8582Ta Prohm is my favourite temple, with its jumble of rubble and amazing displays of the power of the elements as indicated by the tree roots that have overtaken these ancient monuments.  I snapped more pictures and particularly like these perspectives…


IMG_8621We finished the day on  top of one of the  temples built on a hill.  Al, Jane (my room mate) and I climbed the steps to reach the top and were rewarded by another great spectacle as the sun set on a very historic city.

 Intrepid_Cambodia5 All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveller is unaware.
-Martin Buber

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