(Or, Wat’ya saying!)
It is hard to describe Angkor Wat. Correction – the Angkor Wat complex, hundreds of the things once housing a 1 million strong capital of the Angkor empire, now inhabited by steadfast locals, their dogs and tourists with oversized cameras (myself inc.). Superlatives abound and this blog post could become the immediate copy of a 100 other Wat enthusiasts. Google Angkor Wat and you can see it. There it is.
Yet the scale is worth comment. Hours on a tuk tuk chasing temples and carvings through the jungle. Piles of rubbled ruin and skeletal arrangements of pillar, arch, pillar. A mind twisting complex of fallen stone to explore and goggle at. Praise be to whoever that it is not in England. No Entry. Follow this route only. Queue here. VIP tickets only. Safety Notice. The perks of corrupt Cambodian officialdom: freedom to climb and bound into any crevice that takes the fancy, save for the truly ridiculously large trees such as those growing out of the Tomb Raider Temple, Ta Prohm. They can not still be alive, they have no roots. Or the roots just go into stone. Natural wonder indeed. Shaky ladder thing up a pyramid temple. Nearly died.
Three day pass allows time to ration the temples, all of which are enchanting and magical but can quickly start to blur. *Pause in writing due to annoyance at Robin Thicke being the immediate association there.* Masterpieces of ancient architecture, hot and sweaty. It is a mission, but a mission worthy of a world wonder. It makes you work for it, work for the views, strive for the surprises and clamber for the miraculous. If you’re willing, it will deliver.
Bangkok for 4 days but couldn’t see the Kok for the Bang. Or Splash. Songkran, NY, massive water fight.
So it’s fun. You get a water pistol, put your phone into a water proof wallet and take to the streets, get soaking wet, have a beer, repeat. A spectacle, a party, a very unique event which Thai people take to with an almost unbelievable enthusiasm. But it is unrelenting and the rejection of normal etiquette regarding tourists becomes hard for such stick in ass, upright Brits. After sun down, dry clothes for dinner — ice cold bucket down the back as soon as you leave the guesthouse. They say you have to engage to enjoy it. True. We did. We tried. But waking up in Chiang Mai after the last day of festival, to walk the streets without fear, the absence of water based anarchy – guerilla armies of youths on the back of trucks with guns and bucket grenades looking almost as threatening and screwed up as in a true break down of society – the most intense relief since having to double check I hadn’t bound the wrong draft of my thesis.
But most importantly it’s becoming more intensely difficult to live without Kevin Spacey. House of Cards. I think I love him. Even watching the Last Action Hero (yep, room with a TV again), which is one of the true greats and ‘an incredibly textured use of the postmodern meta’ (I give no prizes for guessing which of us said that) can not fill the void in my heart. Youtubing videos of his impressions the nearest I can get.
Chiang Mai is very cool. Chilled. Old School. Almost Oxford, city wall and all. Beat a guy called Rudy at pool. More temples.
The search for Frank Underwood continues.