Christmas in Cambodia

I saw a puppy get run over by a car first thing this morning. Merry Christmas to me. Other than that this Christmas in Cambodia has been wonderful. It is different enough from Thailand to instill a sense of wonder and curiosity in me, but similar enough to make me feel at home. My parents have been traveling around South East Asia since late October and we were able to meet up here for Christmas. We’ve spent our days eating chocolate, bread, cheese and champagne to our hearts content. This is especially nice considering I spent last Christmas at site tearing up over Facebook statuses. I walked around the grocery store in complete awe, fondling cheeses and breads like curious foreign objects. Luckily, I had worked up quite an appetite after walking around Angkor Wat all day.

The combination of lush vegetation and beautiful ruins at Angkor Wat left me in a state of enchanted awe all day yesterday. First of all the complex is massive, just massive, and the history there stretches over generations. The temples and complexes tell a story of a past of wars, reconstructions, religions and people. I’m still in the process of deconstructing the experience and figuring out what it all means to me and the people of Cambodia. That being said I’ll leave you with some pictures. Hope you enjoy.

The complexes are filled with decorative carvings that tell different stories. This is one of a water buffalo being slaughtered.

This is Angkor Wat. The three towers represent the three main Hindu gods and this image can be found on the Cambodian flag.

Here’s our crew. I promise we don’t always wear matching outfits.

This is why I love ruins.

Here’s our guide. He picked me up from the airport to drop me off at my hotel and told me he could be a guide and driver if we wanted one. We called him up the next day and he took us on a tour of Angkor Wat complex and a floating village. Having someone to comunicate the story of these places is invaluble. I love learning about the context of what I’m looking at, not to menion he was cute to boot.

We were able to see the beautiful sunset over a floating village. The people in the village live in floating house boats that migrate with the rising and lowering of the lake. Many of the people fish for a living or run little shops out of their homes. I had mixed feelings about touring the village. It was interesting to see the lifestlye of the people in the village, but I couldn’t help but feel that I was in someway deriving entertainment from their poverty. We were told that the entrance fee supported the development of the community, but I don’t feel like I can know that for sure. I would love to be able to go back with someone from the village and learn about it from their perspective.

Well, my friends, time is up and my belly wants Christmas dinner. I wish everyone everywhere a very Merry Christmas.

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