Eight-armed Vishnu

Eight-armed Vishnu

And I thought that Vishnu had four arms (which is two too many already). But the Vishnu-statue at Angkor Wat has eight. The statue greeted us at the western entrance of Angkor Wat. It’s hard to miss. It’s about five meters tall, and buddhists and buddhists monks prayed before it and offered fruits. It was draped with a very yellow shimmering cloth. Angkor wat used to be a Hindu temple, so the statue originally portrayed Vishnu. Later, when it turned into a buddhist temple, they removed the old head of the vishnu statue and replaced it with a buddha-looking god. Angkor wat is the only ancient man-made Wonder of World that does not just serve as tourist attraction. It also remains a popular place of worship among buddhists.  ...
World’s largest religious monument

World’s largest religious monument

Cambodia is always associated with Angkor Wat. It’s like bread and butter – you think of them together. Angkor Wat is a temple slash mausoleum that showcases classical Khmer architecture. It was built in the early 12th century as a Hindu temple, then later it became a Buddhist temple. So confusing! Although perhaps I shouldn’t be so confused. Some Christian churches in Europe were later turned into discotheques. 🙂   It was a French explorer in the mid-19th century who introduced the beauty of Angkor Wat to the west – after Cambodia was colonized by France. But it was a Portuguese monk who first wrote about it. The temple was built in 37 years. Beautiful structures that last for centuries take a long time to build. We were there December 2013. We stayed in Siem Reap, the capital city, which is the gateway to the Angkor region. Angkor is the old capital city which flourished in the 9th to 15th century. To see Angkor is to see numerous (about a thousand) temple ruins amidst a jungle.   It was sunny and very warm the whole time we were in Siem Reap. We had hats, fans and water. Walking in the heat of the sun was exhausting. I could hardly walk. We hired a guide who drove an airconditioned van for our family the week we were there. I remember that while in Cambodia, our guide kept saying that grandfather was so handsome. 🙂 Footnote: Here’s an article about Angkor Wat as a sacred...
Warm and helpful people

Warm and helpful people

Today I remember the Thais, Vietnamese and Cambodians. Let me tell you the good things I’ve experienced with them: 1. Thais are very loving towards kids. Whenever we took the train, somebody would always offer their seat for my five-year old daughter. At restaurants and boutiques, they were always playful with my daughter. The hotel staff hardly expected tip, although of course we gave them some, as appreciation of their hospitality. 2. In Vietnam I appreciate the taxi drivers. I think they are the most honest taxi drivers in the world. They never tried to jack up the price, but always used the taxi meter. Our hotel staff was also very helpful, doing their best to assist us. 3. In Cambodia, I would always remember the hotel manager who helped us when my daughter fell ill, and offered us free juice drinks, although we already checked out several hours earlier. Then the whole staff bid us warmly goodbye. Thoughts of kind people make me feel...