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Angkor Wat

Here are a few photos from a trip to Angkor Wat that my son Damian and I took in 2004. The town of Siem Reap was just waking up as a major tourist destination then. Ten years later, the place is up all night.

The Temples of Angkor span six centuries, from 802 CE to 1432. French explorer Henri Mouhot "rediscovered” the temples while on a National Geographic expedition in the 1860s, which aroused international curiosity. Angkor and the surrounding temples were declared a World Heritage Site in 1992.

Angkor is the heavenly representation of Mt. Meru, home of the gods. (As Mt. Olympus is to Greek mythology, Mt. Meru is to the Hindu pantheon.) With the exception of Angkor Wat, which was restored as a Buddhist shrine, most of the temples were lost to the jungle for centuries. Banyan tree roots and vines are inextricably bound with the ancient carved stones, creating a sanctuary of mystery and contemplation.

We enjoyed an evening drink in Siem Reap at the Foreign Correspondent's Club, an expansive open-air restaurant. (Although it didn't look like any foreign correspondents were there. Unless you count the couple from Wisconsin penning postcards home.)

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