The people of Siem Reap have really captured my heart. The temples have also captured my heart. It is a place I would love to return to- perhaps my new favourite place. The people here are so warm. Next time (hopefully very soon) I will capture their smiles to share. This time, I just wished to enjoy the moments of shared smiles and laughter.
You see kids everywhere. I thought at first that there were many kids in siem reap but it clicked later that it is because kids are playing freely outside, so you see them everywhere. The fear of people is not yet present so they speak to everyone. Mostly, they want to know your name and where you are from. I had no encountered anyone begging or asking for things. Some tourists hand out sweets and toothbrushes- really hope that soon more people will understand that this does not benefit anyone. It is difficult to criticise good intention.
Anyway, we hired a bicycle for a day and decided to take another day pass around the temples. If you are visiting and have time (& don't mind the humidity, can cycle the distance, as well as walk the temples) then I recommend this highly. All the kids wave so do look out for them. Don't miss their lovely smiles when you wave back. It makes you smile. Can't think of anything better than smiling all day, just from smiling at each other.
So we had met a lady in a shop who had told us that if we had time we should visit Preah Khan temple so we did. Amazing! It had the most amazing corridor! You could not see then end of it! It was not deserted, as we thought, but there were few people here. Towards the end of the corridor, we met an elderly nun. She sat in a squat, low to the ground, had no teeth but smiled with her entire face and body. Just to add here, by this time, we had visited many temples and encountered many nuns and monks- this one was...different. I was not even in a very good mood this day lol. On the way out, I approached her and gave her some Riels for a blessing. If you've not had one, leave it till you get here. She had the gentlest voice. As she ties the bracelet on your wrist, she says a little prayer (they all do it, but her voice touches your heart), a soft touch on your forehead, she blows onto your face and then sweeps it off your hands and then giggles happily & places her hands together in front of her heart (Cambodian greeting) Maybe she said something funny hahaha It didn't matter. The exchange of energy has remained with both Steve & I. It felt like she had just married us. What made it even more special was that, we were in this beautiful ancient temple of ritual, at this time, there was no one else around us and this little ritual was being received. This was the highlight of my trip.
What is special here?
The energy is special here. The energy from the temples and from the people.
(I will blog about the 'poverty' in the next entry)