(2009-05-14) Grand Master`s Thailand and Cambodia Travel Journal Series Report Number Two: Visiting

May 9, a weekend with abounding Sunshine, was the first day of this journey. People visited Angkor Wat know that if one does not have a good physical strength and a pair of strong legs, to see all corners of Angkor Wat is like ` halfway dying in the battle (半途陣亡)`. Early morning, after a night of rest, brightness and cheerfulness reappeared on everyone; everyone was fully prepared for this historical site tourism. Following Grand Master and ShiMu`s footsteps, tour members enormously went into battle (出征); beginning the visitation of this thrilling venture in the beautiful Angkor Wat (吳哥之美的冒險行旅)!

Underneath first picture in Chinese version: Enjoying the Carving Ornament in Angkor Wat Hotel.

Like Placing Oneself in the Animal Planet (動物星球頻道)...

Believed that everyone heard, `if one has not visiting the Angkor Wat cannot speak of Cambodia`. Here is the well known world culture inheritance, and the head of the world`s seven big wonders; attracting approximately 2,000,000 visitors every year. `Angkor Thom (Angkor Wat Dynasty,吳哥王朝)` has been covered under the hot rain forest for several hundred years until rediscovered by a French explorer after 1858; henceforth, Angkor Wat has caused the global attention, excited numerous archaeologists.

Underneath second and third picture in Chinese version: Big-Head Picture (大頭照) is Required Before Entering Angkor Wat!

Enjoying the scenery ride toward the Angkor Wat ruins, astoundingly discovered as if one has fallen into the jungle of the Animal Planet (動物星球頻道). Outside the window are groups of high trees, endless tall weeds, with several thatched huts and lake dwellings scattered in between, together with blowing sands and stones (飛沙走石), and a large surface of brown colored local custom sentiment. By chance, may discover different amusing surprises in ponds with waving rugged lights; several water lilies gracefully contented in sparkle shining water pools.

We were enjoying the local custom sentiment that has completely different character from our regular living; moreover, listening to the explanation from our tour guide in a rocking bus. Xiaolin (tour guide) said that, Cambodia suffered from the civil war about thirty years ago, the presence is like hundred ruins waiting for restoration; because the government has insufficient funds, the entire Siem Reap city has only five traffic lights. Not having the money to build roads, the road surfaces are covered only with crushed stone pothole. We sat in the bus which waves like tide, and feeling the rocking `road of a banana boat `. This rare experience is a gift from the ancient capital to our group, the abroad tourists, a very personal `in place (local) experience`!

Underneath forth picture in Chinese version: Enjoying the Beauty of Angkor`s Traditional Dance.

In addition, Xiaolin introduced Cambodia`s religious belief. As we are the True Buddha tour group, hearing the introduction of local religion, certainly raised our attention (big ear). Xiaolin said that Cambodia is the country taking seriously on beliefs, 90 percents of people have believe in two religions, one is Buddhism, another is ....... Surprisingly, the unexpected answer was `go home and take an afternoon nap!`, `Reason being is that from 12 to 3 o`clock, is the hottest time of the day. Therefore, most people carried out our country`s national custom. Everybody should follow the local custom.` Therefore, many tour groups arrived at the Angkor Wat leaving very early in the morning, returning to the hotel after lunch every day, and then restarting their afternoon venture after `lunch nap`.

Visiting Preah Khan (Holy Sword Temple, 寶劍寺), Neak Pean (Pan Dragon Temple, 磐龍寺), Ta Prohm, also known as Rajavihara, (Da Son General Temple, 達松將軍廟)

Our first stop was the Preah Khan. Passed through the gate, there is a carving statue of Shiva`s (濕婆神) sitting, the divine bird of garuda, stationed by the entrance. After Grand Master carefully examined the carving and said, this is the same Golden-Winged Garuda in Vajrayana. Preah Khan is a sanctuary dedicated to the founder of the miracle Angkor Thom, Jayavarman VII`s father, and his splendid military victory. Although this is an unrestored historical site, the once prosperous offering temple towers, main hall, and winding passageways can still be seen among the ruins. Xiaolin lead us to see the only rounded tower left in the ruins, Dharma Treasure Library (藏經閣), and thoroughly introduced the Angkor`s pyramid style of construction in architecture. The ruin`s architecture are made of stone blocks stacking on one another. Each stone can be removed and relocated. These primitive yet fine architectures gave astonishing surprise to everyone.

The group headed toward the Neak Pean (Pan Dragon Temple, 磐龍寺) and Ta Prohm, also known as Rajavihara, (Da Son General Temple, 達松將軍廟) after visiting Preah Khan. In the middle of Neak Pean is a pond. In the pond, there is treasure tower of Sumeru mountain (須彌山的寶塔); at four directions of the tower carved with animal statues representing the four elements, Earth, Water, Fire, and Wind. Ta Prohm was also built by Jayavarman VII as a memory of the close warrior, Da Son General, who under king`s command fighting for him. Mahabrahma (四面佛) located by the entrance is the most famous attraction of this temple.

Underneath fifth picture in Chinese version: Preah Khan (寶劍寺) Entrance.

The heat was extreme! Grand Master said, `Only if we can borrow the east wind from Kong Ming (孔明)~`

The most worth mentioning was the intolerable extreme weather during this trip of the historical sites! Does not matter it was at the Preah Khan, Neak Pean, or Ta Prohm, everyone were sweating like rain drops, like open faucets. The water from the sweated cloth can be used for mining salts!

The excruciating warmth was extreme for all group members; especially to a yoga master, whose body is already spreading the warmth. Besides, Grand Master was wearing the Dharma robe and Dragon Vest. Grains of crystal pearls were dripping from Grand Master`s head when the hat was taken off. Everyone hurried passing a towel or fabricating wind to help decreasing the temperature. Grand Master said that himself already experienced wet and dry, and then dray and wet? Xiaolin said that back then, men in Angkor Thom were wearing T-shaped trousers. Grand Master jokingly asked, `Where can you buy the T-shaped trousers?` and `Only if we can borrow the east wind from Kong Ming; even just few clouds!`

Underneath last picture in Chinese version: Taking a Souvenir Picture with ShiMu in Front of the Symbolizing Sumeru (須彌山) Carving in Neak Pean (磐龍寺).

It was almost 12 o`clock after completing the first three hours tours in the morning. The sun was overhead, everyone now understands the importance of following the local `National Custom`, and the essential of taking an `afternoon nap`. Anticipating a cold shower and clean set of cloth, everyone returned to the hotel. `Resting is to walk longer.` We are to be prepared for the second part of the day in the afternoon. What does it mean when Grand Master said, ` borrow the east wind from Kong Ming`? Just wait for the result next time!

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