30 January 2006

Angkor - Atlantis?

There’s this theory that the Pyramids in Egypt, the Mayan Temples in Mexico, and the Temples of Angkor are all offshoots of Atlantis. I am beginning to give some credence to this hypothesis. I’ve been to them all and the similarities are stronger than the differences.

All are built in alignment to various phases of the sun, the moon, and the cosmos in general. They are all massive structures, precisely and intricately constructed. Some question how the contractors of a few thousand years ago had the knowledge to erect such edifices. If one culture alone had achieved such mastery, maybe there would be no other-worldly theories. But three such peoples, in such far flung locations, gives rise to the thought that there is a connection.

What really struck me at Angkor, was the similarity between the bas-reliefs in the temples and those in the Egyptian tombs. Both are divided into layers; the underworld or ocean, earth, and heaven. In both, a story is laid out along a long wall. The scenes depicted are intensely dense with figures of people, or plants, or animals. I especially noted the bottom layer of crocodiles and fish and other sea creatures, and how it looked so much like the Egyptian walls I’d seen.

But back to day tree of the Temple Tour, which I decided, due to my less than stellar health situation, would just be to Angkor Wat. I knew I had been there, but for the life of me, couldn’t remember what I had seen. I decided to go at noon.

When I got there it was fairly deserted and very quiet. As I walked down the causeway, it all started to come back to me. Once inside, I did remember my first time through, and recalled what my guide had told me. This visit, I really took my time. I walked around the temple, first through the corridors, then through the inner areas, and finally out onto the grounds, where I sat in a far corner under some trees. From my vantage point, I had a wonderful view of the nearly empty temple with no people or voices to intrude upon my solitude.

Walking back, this time on the grounds as far as I could get from the causeway, I got a much better sense of just how large Angkor Wat is, and how far it is from the front gate to the middle of the temple. It would really be a pain to run errands in and out of there all day. I wondered if that is what some people did back in the day.

I thought about going to a few other places I had not yet seen, but just wasn’t up to it. I had enjoyed every minute of every site I had been to, and trudging on to another temple when I felt like crap, didn’t seem to make any sense. I in no way felt cheated out of Seeing It All. As it was, my brain could barely sort out the previous few days.

The next day, my final in Siem Reap, I had the morning for last minute shopping. Much as I didn’t want to wade through the sewer-streets, I did want to get a few scarves. By noon I was packed and checked out, then took a rest in the upstairs terrace room at the Banana. It is a beautiful, tiled, rectangular area, with a roof and giant fans. I lay down on cushions and let my mind drift.

My tuk-tuk driver took me to the airport at 3:30, for my 5:20 flight. I was back in my apartment by 7pm, which was the strangest feeling. I had gone from an exotic, foreign country, to my house in a 40 minute flight. Usually, one needs to fly for twenty hours to do that. Then I remembered that I still live in an exotic, foreign country.

Sometime after returning, I realized that I had not thought of work for even one minute the entire time in Siem Reap. In fact, I really hadn’t thought about anything but the here and now. I have never been able to do that before and certainly wasn’t even aware that I had shut off the rest of my life for an entire five days. And yes, I took the wrong clothes; I didn’t need the extra sheet; I had a miserable cold; but none of that mattered. It had to be one of the best vacations of my life!

Think about that Atlantis thing.