Scott, I have my feet firmly planted in the sand, listening to the waves here in Bali. Your assignment helps me ponder this dream I am deeply involved in. The sun is setting gently, a beautiful young Balinese woman brings me a cold lime and fresh coconut drink, when this man walks by with his bass. The melody I hear being carried to me on the wind is gamalan music, so perfect here. I am captured in the breath of the moment.
Enjoy these photos.
Here’s our favorite cafe.
Cleaning the moat.
Mario – - – - !
Twenty five feet tall statue.
We took a little break from Bangkok, and flew up to Cambodia, a short 45 minute flight. We had to see Angkor Wat. This was the capital of the Khmer Empire for over 500 years, 800-1300AD. A million people lived here then, One of the great and remarkable civilizations of Asia. What makes this place so unusual is it contains the world’s largest concentration of religious monuments, over 60 square miles of religious temples and ruins, large deep moats, still with water, long narrow causeway’s in to these temple compounds. At the height of the Khmer civilization, they controlled all the way to the South China Sea, Laos, Burma, Thailand, and the Malay Peninsula. The temples were home to Hindu Gods Shiva and Vishnu, then later Buddhist kings added more elaborate architecture, some temples have both Buddhist and Hindu carvings. We both were moved by the jungle settings, the sacred feelings, the mysterious harmony, it’s surreal.
Today Cambodia is trying to inch forward after the Pol Pot years. Those times eliminated the educated, the wise, and the motivated, then it eliminated the few who were still loyal to the Khmer regime, paranoia ruled supreme. It will be a long while before this country heals. There is a Peace and Reconciliation Museum being planned with some of the people I am working with at UNESCO. I hope to be involved in a small way.
We loved the gentle open hearted people there, they have an elegance in the way they walk. The town of Siem Rep seems like a small village, compared to gritty Bangkok. We rented bikes and explored the town, small open air restaurants from the entire globe were represented. We ate Cambodia, and had the best meals of the whole trip so far. It was about 95 in the shade, we got to the ruins at 7am, the sun was already hot. Village ladies selling cut pineapples and cut up mangoes on the side of the road satisfied our thirst.
My vote is in, I vote for a true Zazen 3+ day retreat at the SE tip of Minnesota at the Zen Retreat Center. It would be a inner challenge for us all, and a unique spiritual place for the Woollies to explore.
Tonight Eliz and I went to the Foreign Correspondence Club for a lecture on Elephants. There is a problem in the city of Bangkok with mahouts and their elephants. This city is not a place to raise an elephant; many traffic accidents, begging for food, the wrong kind of work and food. There is an organization that raises money, and buys the elephants off the streets, sometimes has to rent them, and moves them to the Golden Triangle in Northern Thailand, where Burma and Cambodia all meet. There they have a large area for these domesticated elephants to work. Once a year there is an Elephant polo match, sanctioned by the King of Thailand, sponsored by IBM, it’s all a bit strange. This isn’t conservation, they are not saving wild elephants, but domesticated city elephants, and they love to play polo, they understand the game, and chase the ball and help set up the shot. Humans seem so unusual sometimes.
Long ago, Chinese ship came to Thailand, with tons of pottery in the hold has balllast. Often they arrived broken, this is a large temple complex made entirely of broken plates. It’s beautiful.