We have visitors in the house these days. My cousin and his wife are here. And as good hosts we want them to have a good time here in SE Asia. So we went on a four-day trip to Cambodia. We flew into Siem Reap and spend two exhausting, but amazingly beautiful days in Angkor Wat. I had seen images of Angkor in magazines and guide books, but in real life it’s just that much better. Ancient buildings and structures always bring be back to the ground – they humble me. I am an engineer and sometimes I get a little caught up in the work I do and who cool it is. But I am in the digital storage design business and the OEMs give at most a 5 year warranty. PLaces like Angkor Wat, the cliff dwelling of Mesa Verde (CO, USA) or Machu Picchu have stood there for centuries. And I have award time imagining, that if someone finds 800 years from now a disk drive that they stand there in as much awe as I stood in Angkor Wat. These days engineering is about designing t fail after warranty. The fewer days the product fails after the warranty has run out, the better job the design team has done. It may sound bitter or jaded, but it’s true.
But that is besides the point today….no think about it and tell me with a comment.
Anyway, Angkor Wat. I will be posting a few entries on the Cambodia trip, because there is not just the beauty of Angkor, but also the unfathomable cruelty and disregard for human life of Toul Sleng and the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh – the contribution of the Khmer Rouge to the history books of mankind.
But now, Angkor Wat.
Angkor Wat is a city – a conglomerate of buildings, temples, residential areas, that was built about 800 years ago. The buildings were commissioned by King Suryavarman II. But one of the most impressive temples is called the Bayon, was build a by as King Jayavarman VII – guidebooks call him enigmatic. Contemporary street wisdom would suggest :”He was the man and he knew it”. SImply because he could – the man was King after all – he figured he would beautify one temple with his own bust all over. The layout of this temple is such, that at pretty much any point a visitor can see the king’s face twelve times from various angles – genius, the ultimate shameless self-promotion. One could argue, he was the original Big Brother – 700 years before George Orwell penned 1984. Admittedly, King Jayavarman availed over a jawline predestined for stone work, especially busts and he is always carved in stone looking very benevolent, never looking like a mad despot, which, given his position he could have easily been – I don’t know, judge for yourself.
The building complex with the faces is called the Bayon and it is simply awe-inspiring. Next are a few images of Ta Prohm. Ta Prohm must have been fantastic, before it was “managed” by man. Of course, that would have also meant, that these relicts of ancient culture would have ben swallowed and destroyed by nature much faster, than when they are managed by man.
Visiting these building in the jungle is always a great reminder, that should you ever have to place a bet on a competition between man and nature, bet safe, bet on nature. The trees and their roots just reclaim everything, were it not for the intervention of human “management”.
The next image is of a gate to a temple of which i unfortunately have forgotten the name. Nonetheless, I think it is a very nice entry gate.
Finally, your moment of Zen as nature reflects in itself and the mind coms to a rest by just looking at the image.
More soon. Until then, I hope you have enjoyed this little stroll through Angkor’s buildings. Until the next post, stay sharp and if you dare, think about if you leave a legacy that people will want to write blogs about in 800 years from today.
Yours Markus \m/