Alright dear readership, as promised the summary from the visit to the ruins of Beng Mealea And Angkor. The trip was a two-day trip – out Friday evening, back Sunday afternoon. On Saturday we drove to Beng Mealea and on Sunday morning three select sites within the city of Angkor – in order: Ta Phrom, Bayon, Angkor Wat. The idea was that by going atypical we’d avoid the crowds. It worked only or the first site – Ta Phrom.
Overall, I was surprised and shocked to see how many more visitors Siem Reap (the city tourists stay at for their visit) and the ruins are getting since 2012, when we visited first. There are many more bus groups than I remember – predominantly from China and Vietnam, with a few Japanese, Americans and Europeans sprinkled in. The state of the ruins has also significantly deteriorated since 2012, but at least there is intervention with scaffoldings and cordoning off of areas for restoration purposes and to control the flow of visitors better. In 2012, visitors could essentially still walk and climb all over the ruins.
But enough of the “critical” observations. The ruins still render me speechless for the same two reasons as before: The sheer size and engineering prowess that existed 800 years ago and secondly of the way the way nature is claiming back areas that were once built upon by man.
This is the way we were greeted as we entered the site of Beng Mealea. Lots of toppled over builds, rubble and enormous trees already in possessions for centuries. As I got used to the sight, I thought I had voices in my head singing Chinese operas. So I ignored them at first, but they kept going, which prompted me to look around. And sure enough there was Chinese lady, watching a video in her smart phone belting it out in her soprano voice. That just made the first experience at Beng Mealea that much more memorable. The first view of buildings at Beng Malea was this.
From then on the locations just overwhelm more and more.
Again and again, nature demonstrates its supremacy – its ability to outlast even the most ambitious buildings man can erect. I was somewhat reminded of a TV show that came on the discovery channel a few years ago. called “The World After Humans” or something similar. The premise was to paint a picture what major metropolitans around the globe would look like 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, 50 years all the way to 1000 years after humans were no longer part of the Earth Equation. I think for south-east Asia, the ruins around Siem Reap provide a very real glimpse.
When we visited it was already very warm, if not to say hot. The guards that were hired to usher the visitors along on the established walkways had to take a break. And while it may appear mean, that I snapped this guard, I must say I envied him for his peaceful nap.
You can find all these portals and entrances that are just astounding.
I wonder who lived in that particular house, who opened the door and what was the real purpose of this building?
Bu nature claims everything, like cobbwebs these roots consume the remains of the structure underneath.
At Angkor the sights are just as amazing, just with maybe a few more visitors and currently more cared for.
The tree roots are spreading across the out wall of Ta Phrom like a rider on a horse – a very tall and heavy rider with short legs and a freakishly long torso on a Shetland pony.
These tree roots were trimmed to maintain access to the doorway. The intricate, repeatable manmade details are competing for attention from the free-flowing shape of the spindly finger-like roots and vines.
I have shown this image in the last entry, but I reworked it a bit and thought it warrants being shown again. The site where this tree is, was completely open to visitors three years ago, not it is a big restoration site with half the area cordoned off, because of heavy equipment use to hold the buildings in place during restoration.
This image of the two heads in the baton, I have shown in the last entry. But I think the image has now a bit more punch. And besides image composition and subject accentuation, black and white photography is about punch within the black and white spectrum.
This image actually cost me money. It is the same head as seen in the previous picture of the bayon ruin. On the other side of the building i am photographing through was a sign, that proclaimed some rule. We moved the sign just out of the picture (about 87cms to the right) and that was not well received by the very eager guards. We resolved the situation with a generous hand-shake upon which the frowns were turned upside down. Of course we moved the sign back after we had finish taking our images.
And this little anecdote concludes our 48hour trip to neighboring Cambodia.
Stay sharp dudes…
Yours Markus \m/