Monday, January 21, 2013
Researching and traveling back in time
This post will be a bit about what I learned or remembered on my recent trip to Cambodia. It will also be about how I was affected by my trip to Angkor Wat. It was true I basically got no research done really while there BUT I tried to absorb anything and everything I came in contact with. I tried to capture everything on film. I have hundreds of photos that my daughter Megan and I shot in tandem. Photos that now for the most part I have uploaded to my facebook account I will now start pouring over to find certain photos that depict life of the time of Angkor but also of my Royal Family that I have written about and will be in the future. Well now with my cup of tea, two cats and a Chihuahua as my company I can sit and write. As I write Echo, the Boxer paces just outside of my room, my temporary office. I have myself plugged into Imagine Dragons and "It's Time". Sometimes I have to plug myself in. With boys gaming and Daniel now watching "Wizard's of Waverly Place" I need to have music. This is also one of my rowing songs. Well back to my hunt for my queens, Queen Jayarajadevi and Indradevi , the two sister queens and their beloved husband King Jayavarman VII. It wasn't until about his 60th year that he became King. I'm not sure how old they were, they are always presented as very youthful. He was king for about 38 years. When I wrote about them I had Nurung who would later become Jayavarman at about 40. Also I had him husband of one wife because it's hard for me to think about any man dividing his love between two women much less all the women they had in their lives.I have one of the queens , his aunt. It's easier for me to think that way. When I traveled to Cambodia there are things that I learned or remembered really fast. Traffic is still wicked crazy and it still amazes me that there aren't more accidents. I was telling my safety officer at the Fire Department how certain things would have given him a fit to see. I had to hope each time I rode in a tuk-tuk that the speeding cars that were coming towards us as we crossed traffic would stop or swerve. I would not get back on the back of a motor cycle though... well I almost did, told my daughter Megan that I needed to get to the bank on my last morning and would have resorted to it but was able to get a ride... When it's hot you should drink,drink,drink BUT if you are up in Siem Reap and at the temples and drinking to keep cool well it's not like there are porta potties all over. Well there may have been BUT if you know me I am not going to use a public bathroom unless it's an emergency... The few we found , one had a western style toilet. Second day it was more of a traditional one. It was clean and I managed. Meg was a good sport. She eats Khmer food every day at home, it's a lot cheaper then eating western food. I know, I spent a bit just buying milk, jam, bread and cookies to keep the kids and I in snacks while I stayed with them BUT for meals we ate Khmer which made me very happy. So when we got up to Siem Reap, how did we eat? Meg told her friend "I've been eating Khmer at each meal..." Thank you Meg! You are a sweetie and a good sport.Some of the places we ate at were roadside places for tourist so even though they had simple food, they charged tourist prices... So Meg and I made sure we drank our own water or tea we had brought with us. If I did by a fruit smoothie chances are it was made with bad ice so I took charcoal to hopefully prevent any kind of problems later. I didn't have any problems. Where ever you go you are going to find obnoxious people or tourist. You see it here in our town of Camden Maine along with the good ones. The first night we were in Siem Reap ,Chinese tourist,a large group of young ones, not the best example of their countrymen were at this restaurant. They had a few drinks already under their belt by the time we were seated, that was obvious. The wait staff were young and very timid. The large group when we got there were already full of themselves and as the night wore on they became worse to the point I was about to get up and ducktape their mouths or something. A French couple next to Megan and I kept looking over, eyebrows raised at the way this group would yell with an attitude to the poor waitresses. It finally got to the point that when one yelled "Waiter, you come here, NOW!" I turned as I stood and said. "Stop it now, they are busy!" Meg and I found that certain groups of tourist at the temples were loud, really obnoxious and very rude. At one point when we arrived early in the morning at Preah Khan. It was quiet and then a small busload of them arrived and all you could hear was them. Meg said "RUN!!!" We managed to keep a few steps ahead of them at that temple and fortunately the tour guide we hired kept us way ahead of them. Once at Angkor, The Bayon, Preah Khan Meg and I took photo after photo. I have yet to digest everything. It's too immense. I will be going through all those photos later day after day with a fine tooth comb... kinda like when going through with my boarding pass to board the last flight from Taiwan to the US and I got pulled aside for a random baggage check... I guess certain swear words are the same the world over. When I said under my breath "You can't be fu***** serious..." after the agent was picking everything and I mean everything apart... Turning everything on and going into everything, every nook and freaking cranny. The agent in Taiwan knew just what I was saying. Just like when outside Angkor Wat on the last afternoon when myself and some Italian or Spanish tourist were taking photos of one of their own and I was making a video. Well all of a sudden I said "ant" in Khmer, shut off my ipad and start dropping the "F Bomb" with fluency as the little buggers bit my foot. That brought quite the smile to one of the gentlemen in their group. I had a two fold reason for going to Cambodia and now having been there I have a better idea how much it will cost so I can save for my next trip. Living there in the past and being a tourist are two different things. This trip was like an introduction. Yes, I had lived there but when I went to Angkor Wat and the other temples there was far too much to see and absorb. Like Kent Davis said to me, 'you will not be doing any research, it's going to be take photos, see and try to absorb BUT you will get a lot more done when you get home'. That is so true. Now I know that when I go back, there will be certain things to see and study and to photograph. I tried to capture certain things. Some I did, some didn't come out so good because of the lack of light. Somethings without knowing or not certain of what I was seeing I took shots of, maybe not the best BUT now seeing them I remember how I felt when I stood in front of them. I was in awe of standing in front of the King I wrote about in my simple and humble way. I fell in love with him and his queens. He is to this day still spoken of with reverence for who he was and what he did for his country and people. It's amazing that a country that has gone through what it has the people still remember him. That is a very good testament indeed. Thankfully my friend Monica Hall dug up an article all on her own for me and sent it to me so when I woke up on the morning of when I was going to Preah Khan it was there waiting for me. Here is the address to the photographer who wrote the article and a book on this subject. I had read the article back when it came out thanks to Kent Davis. www.phalikan.com So Now I am going to introduce you to some of the photos that are of the Queens Jayarajadevi and her younger sister Indradevi. Also bas reliefs of the royal triad, King Jayavarman VII and his two queens.