Ta Prohm at Angkor Wat, Cambodia

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May 17th 2008
Published: June 21st 2017
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Ta Prohm at Angkor Wat

Ta Prohm is about as famous as the main temple of Angkor Wat, not in the least because of Angelina Jolie's acting in the film 'Tomb Raider'. Unlike the other temples at Angkor, it was left as it was found, preserved as an example of how a tropical forest can reclaim land and everything on it. There is definitely an aura of romance and mystery around this site, you really feel like you are seeing it as an explorer, not a tourist. The leaning walls and piles of stone, the giant roots of the kapok, fig and banyan trees forcing their way through the strong stone walls is something you feel as much as you see.

There were a lot of monks visiting all the different temples around Angkor Wat while I was there. They were tourists too; Taking photos, and asking questions. I was surprised that I has the good fortune to talk with so many of them. I was told not to approach Monks or to try to talk with them, out of respect in case they've taken an oath; or just because it's not Kosher (lol, nice word choice) for a monk to
speak one on one with a woman. But during my days at Angkor I had many conversations with them on the grounds of the ruins. Maybe it was because I was always with my male guide, or maybe because they were on vacation as tourists and out of their daily element as well, or maybe it was because I was part of the attraction.

While I was at Angkor, a handful of times different people asked to have their picture taken with me. The first time it happened I had no idea what was going on, but I said OK sure. My guide explained after, that a lot of Cambodians from smaller villages (read: remote non-tourist destinations) travel to see Angkor as tourists and many of them have never seen Westerners. Coming to an international tourist attraction, they see all of us foreigners and we are a novelty. So I guess it's cool thing to show the folks back home that they got to see foreigners and to have a picture with us. Does that count as part of my 15 minutes of fame?

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