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The countries we have seen

This is where we showcase the countries we've traveled to and the coolest things about them. Check back to get all the deets

The Unbelievable World We Live In

An ongoing series of informative entries 

describing our travels around this beautiful planet

Audible 

audio books 


Our Latest Blog Entry

Cambodia - Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom

When we first landed in Cambodia, I truly did not prepare myself for what I was about to experience.  The first thing I noticed immediately was the color of the sky. The bright sunlight was unlike anything I had ever seen before. It was golden.  It was spectacular.  That was just in the first five minutes! ​

Here is a brief history of Cambodia and why Angkor Wat is a wonder​

Let me say, the country of Cambodia is steeped in such horrific and brutal history that it was hard to imagine the exquisite beauty that would be presented to me in those next few weeks.  I was ready to dive in.  Dave and I had been gifted this trip of a lifetime from his mom and the fact that it was on our bucket list, is even more incredible.  We could never thank his mom enough for this opportunity.  My mind was about to be blown!  The first morning, we got together with the rest of our party to go over the itinerary.  It was going to be a busy day! We were off to Siem Reap, a resort town in northwestern Cambodia and the gateway to the temples of Angkor, the seat of the Khmer kingdom from the 9th–15th centuries. Angkor’s vast complex of intricate stone buildings includes preserved Angkor Wat, the main temple, which is currently on Cambodia’s flag. Were were able to stand amongst the giant, mysterious faces that are carved into the Bayon Temple at Angkor Thom. Angkor Wat is the world's largest religious structure, covering four hundred acres.  The religious motifs were procured from Hinduism and the temple was created for the gods Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma.  The walls of the temples are covered in the most detailed sculptures imaginable.  The faces that surround the towers are some of the largest and most beautiful carvings I have ever seen.  There are over 200 giant smiling faces covering these buildings.  It's so cool.  I felt teeny standing next to them.  The five towers atop Angkor Wat signify the peaks of Mount Meru, according to Hindu mythology, and are the dwelling of the gods.  The moat around the temple is a comparison to the ocean.  The second temple, Angkor Thom, was built by King Jayavarman VII after the Cham people of Vietnam dismissed Angkor in 1177.  This temple is strictly Buddhist and now, much of the Hindu original raised art has been replaced with Buddhist symbolism.  Our beautiful guide in Cambodia, named Lucky, was a wealth of information.  Not only did Lucky drive us around, show us the sites, recommend the best restaurants but he was also directly involved in the brutality caused by the Khmer Rouge.  The Khmer Rouge is defined as a radical communist movement that ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979 after winning power through a guerrilla war.  The outstanding thing is that Lucky  lives to talk about it.  Hence, the name Lucky.  He told us of groups of people lined up to have their fingernails inspected...dirty nails, you lived.  Clean nails, you did not.  If you had clean nails, you were probably an intellectual and were not necessary for the take over of the country. The main target was men, ethnic minorities, chinese people and muslims.  Farmers and laborers were spared more often.  The Khmer Rouge was led by Pol Pot from 1975-1979.  They eventually killed wives and children of the slain men in order to avoid revenge against them.  They forced children to turn on their own families and they destroyed the family structure.  All in the name of communism.  Whoever fought against this regime, died.  It was a massive and absolutely devastating genocide against the peaceful people of Cambodia.  This is one of the reasons that this trip changed my life. I came back to Canada with a heaviness on my heart but much more understanding. As I look back at these amazing photos, I can only imagine how many more stories are out there and need to be told.  Each part of Cambodia was very different to me and the entire nation has taught me so much.  I thought we would go to visit incredible sights. I had no idea I would get a history lesson that has resonated with me to this day.  We had the opportunity to walk through both Wat and Thom and feel the energy among the ruins.  The trees are taking over and rooting down into the stone that once held royalty.  The shrines inside are teeming with people carrying incense as they worship both the Buddhist gods as well as the Hindu gods. The sights and sounds of monks and chanting were all around us.  Now, as much as I love to advertise certain travel destinations, I feel compelled to mention that as a tourist, out of respect for the country you are choosing to vacation in, you should do some homework.  There is abject poverty in Cambodia. There are people that have survived the millions of landmines in that country but did not come out unscathed. The amount of people missing limbs is astounding. The street children are everywhere and I always wondered, if they too, lost their families and parents.  Many children beg and it is such a sickening feeling to not be able to help each and every one of them.  I suggest researching what you can do as a tourist, to help the people that you see.  We were constantly reminded that many parents keep children from school in order to work for money on the street. I did buy a flute from a beautiful little boy in Siem Reap.  I had to.  It had such a nice sound.  We saw so much more than we expected to see.  Dave and I were honored to be escorted around the ​military museum in Siem Reap.  It showed us a bit of everything.  From the machine guns and tanks used to the photos of the most horrific things being done to humans, it was all that we needed to see to understand a bit more about what happened in this beautiful country.  I believe we will return to Cambodia some day.  We will be armed with so much more knowledge the next time.  I'm looking forward to maybe seeing Lucky again.  He was a highlight on our trip. If you ever get the opportunity, see Cambodia.  Study first though. It makes things easier to understand while you are touring.   To learn more about Cambodia and the other wonders of the world, check out my link below for books and audio. You can message me if you have any questions.  Now, go out there and enjoy our amazing planet.