A day of reflection ~ Cambodia captures my heart

In retrospect, I see that everything afterward appeared different to me. Merrilyn continues with the tales of her journey.

Our visit to Angkor Wat followed that profound experience with the beggar woman and her son. In retrospect, I see that everything afterward appeared different to me.

The next morning, after a delicious breakfast, we stepped outside the hotel to be picked up by tuktuk and taken to the famous World Heritage Site for a day of exploring.

Before we had walked through the gates of the “official” site, we were accosted by a few children from the ages of perhaps five years to early teens. They surrounded us, cynically flattering and lying shamelessly, pitching their trinkets and bits of souvenirs.

The pressure was nearly unendurable and Paul couldn’t stand it. He caved in and bought two little bracelets from one child and then the game was on! Instantly the crowd of little folks grew and the tiniest ones were yelling, “But what about me?”

The children spoke clear, articulate English and would not be put off until Sharon got very firm, scowling at them and asking them why they weren’t in school. (Education is theoretically free for all children up to high school.) Of course the answer would have been because then they wouldn’t be earning money for the family but they knew we knew that. Gradually the little entrepreneurs dispersed and began looking around for more foreigners to bedevil as we headed toward the main entrance of the temples.

Angkor Wat is overwhelming in its complexity. It is also in a state of constant decay and when we toured, many of the walls were obscured by scaffolding or blocked right off from any exploration. The Banyan trees grow around, beside and over the structures,m pushing and raising those sandstone walls out of place. It is melancholy, with very little colour, the structures being a uniform, dark and dull gray. The original series of sandstone temples was Hindu, built in the twelfth century. Over time it had evolved into a Buddhist temple complex. History is carved in bas relief on the walls and Joseph showed us places that told of invasions and wars, activities such as fishing, dancing, building, as well as portrayals of other nations’ presence.

We pressed on after stopping for a meal of noodles and bottled water, always a safe combination. The heat and humidity were building to an intolerable level. Because we were in Cambodia in April, we were experiencing their hot, dry season which simply meant that it wasn’t pouring rain most of the time. It wasn’t doing me any good at all.

Eventually we found ourselves at the end of the long walk through the many lesser buildings. We had reached the large pool where we met our tuktuk driver who took us back to the hotel. Sharon, Wen, Joseph and Paul were a little wilted but I was quickly moving into mild heat stroke so I crawled into bed after drinking more water and eating a soda cracker and a Gravol tablet.

I slept, wrote in my journal and checked the weather on the hotel computer. It had been around 90 degrees Fahrenheit with the humidity at 90%.

The next day for me was a day of reflection. Cambodia had captured my heart. I remember reading of the horrors of torture, starvation and imprisonment that left an estimated 1.7 to 3 million people dead in the 1970’s. I could not imagine how they could bear that kind of pain. When we visited a young pastor in Siem Reap, he shared that his family, although very poor, was getting plenty of healthy fruit and vegetables to eat and that they were eager to forget the horrific past and move on with forgiveness.

And so we left Cambodia for Vietnam once again. We would be attending a concert with Maestro Simon’s youth orchestra and looked forward with great anticipation!


Just Posted

(Black Press file photo)
EDITORIAL: Curtailing attempts at scams

The true total of losses from all scams and frauds could be much higher than the figures on file

People at the beach in front of Discovery Bay Resort on Tuesday, July 14. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Heat wave forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

Temperatures are forecast to hit record breaking highs this week

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The Pierre family, an Indigenous family, once lived in what is now downtown Summerland. Today, Pierre Drive is named in honour of the family. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Pierre family played role in Summerland’s history

Downtown Summerland was once Penticton Indian Reserve #3

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Former Kamloops security gaurd wants job back after kicking incident caught on video

Rick Eldridge quit when a video surfaced of him kicking a man outside a facility for homeless

People participated in a walk to honour the 215 children found at a former Kamloops residential school, as well as residential school survivors. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna marks National Indigenous Peoples’ Day with walk to remember Kamloops 215

“Let’s speak the truth and deal with the truth, and heal.”

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

A home on Cameo Drive sustained major damage due to an early morning fire Monday, June 21. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
UPDATE: Fire sparked during Vernon home renovation

Heavy black smoke from Cameo Drive home, no one inside

The new Civic Memorial Park will incorporate pieces of the 80-year-old arena it replaces. (Artists rendering)
Pieces of Civic Arena reclaimed for new Vernon park

City centre space to incorporate wood from the historic arena

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

Most Read