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Cambodia Trip Report, Part 2

Dec 14, 2017

After spending some time at Angkor Wat, we moved on to see other ancient sites in the area. We were taken to this old castle, but were not led to take communion there, as this land appeared to be covered by the work we did at the previous site.

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From there we moved on to another site. The pictures below were of an old military site.

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To enter this fortress, we had to go through a narrow passage lined with carvings. S---- and his fiancé led the way.

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The young man looking at the carvings is S----’s future brother-in-law. He served as our driver during the entire trip. Most of the there were nine of us, so we took two cars with two drivers.

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At the end of the passage way was a staircase going up. At the top we emerged to view our surroundings. In times past, the elephant training grounds were in the field on the left.

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Looking to the right, we saw stones, which had been lined up for some unknown reason.

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We then took the path among many old trees for about 200 yards/meters.

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We came upon another old castle standing in the middle of a moat.

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The picture below is the view from the first level of the castle. Note the causeway on the left. We walked on it later to return to the car, but did not take it to get to the castle itself.

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The picture below is the view from the second level.

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This is a picture taken from the third level. Below, you can see that the main entrance to the first level was heavily fortified. By the time I reached that level, I was not unhappy to see the tower roped off. I think that this climb was the main reason why I gained no weight on this trip.

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From the third level we saw that the top tower was roped off, because the stone stairway was too unstable to climb. (See the picture below.) So we were unable to go further up.

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We again prayed and took communion here on the third level.

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We took the causeway back to the main road just in time to see a tourist being driven in one of the main forms of transportation in Cambodia. They are quite nice, actually.

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Also across the street, we could see the ruins of other ancient estates of wealthy government officials who had lived nearby.

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The sun was getting low by this time, but we managed to tour one more temple as the shadows lengthened. It was the Ta Promh Temple.

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The priests in this temple had planted many trees near the buildings and walls, because they revered nature. But in the end, nature took over, and because they could not bring themselves to cut down their sacred trees, they eventually had to abandon the temple and leave it in the hands of the trees.

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The picture below, showing Brad, S----, his fiance, and her mother, is just one side of the wall. The roots of the giant tree had taken over the right side as well.

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And this is the other side of the same wall, which the tree had swallowed up, slowly dislodging the stones and tearing down the wall. It was here that we prayed and took communion again.

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Here are other trees hard at work, destroying the old temple.

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This is an inner courtyard of the old temple. Notice that the old tree stump is still alive, as new growth is coming out of the top.

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We walked through the temple to its back side….

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…. And then followed the path to the outer wall on the other side of the temple grounds.

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We drank from a coconut and then chopped it open to eat the delicious meat.

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That evening we drove to Battambang, a few hours from Siem Reap. We stayed at that hotel for most of the week, where a room cost $17.50 per night.

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Brad sat in one of the chairs in the lobby.

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The wood in Cambodia is astounding, to say nothing of the carvings. Wood furniture like this would cost many thousands of dollars in the western countries, but in Cambodia it is so inexpensive that anyone can own it. I saw 5-inch thick tables made from a single tree in many restaurants and even at ordinary fuel stations.

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Brad took a selfie of his hand on the side of a table to show how thick it was.

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Of course, preserving the trees is part of Cambodia’s problem. There are many illegal logging operations there, because foreign businessmen know that they can sell this wood overseas for huge profits. Though it is illegal, many government officials have been bribed to do nothing about this, even though such logging is illegal.


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Category: Trip Reports
Blog Author: Dr. Stephen Jones