Anna Velas-Suarin

From Angkor Wat to Bangkok to Phnom Penh

I write this in my hotel room here in Bangkok. I just got back from a wonderful night with my boss from here. She’s smart, accomplished, beautiful, sexy, and whenever I look at her, I’d always wish that I’d be like her 5, 10 years from now! 🙂

Anyway, we had a great dinner in an Italian Restaurant called Le Casbah at the Central World Mall. We shared a yummy Cezar’s Salad and a big plate of 4 different pasta dishes…aahhh…it’s like I can still smell the Italian herbs lingering in the air. Le Casbah was also a delight – it has beautiful hanging lamps, some tables have fluffy pillows on the seats and then there are tables by the veranda. I will definitely go back there again. After dinner, we went straight to the cinema (we bought tickets before we headed for dinner) and I had my first movie after leaving Manila last June! It’s been more than 4 months since I last saw a film (in a real theater!) and so, I was like an excited child about to go to his first field trip! (Ooops, I forgot to mention that we first stopped by an ice cream stand and got ouselves yummy cups of another treat!)

Though the film we watched was a very violent one (The Kingdom), I enjoyed watching how the story unfolds, the acting of its cast, and the real emotions that you see in them even if they are not saying anything. I like the subtlety of the way their eyes moved. But it’s a very sad and tragic film and I wouldn’t recommend it for those who have faint hearts! It’s a gory film with lots of killings and blood but yes, it’s a very moving and heart-wrenching film. I don’t want to give further details so I won’t spoil your excitement if you decide to watch it. 😉

Anyway, I was in Siem Reap last week before I traveled here last Sunday. Siem Reap is where the magnificent Angkor Wat is located. Six hours by bus from Phnom Penh, it is quite a nice and cozy town. I must admit that the primary reason I went there was to see Angkor Wat. I didn’t have much expectations from the town itself. But amazingly, it captivated me. I like the “composition” of the town! It has clusters of restaurants, hotels, shops but not too overbearing. I like the stylishness of some of the hotels. While some looked too ostentatious for such a very small town, many hotels have a quaint and cozy appeal on them. I can’t put the exact words to it but I would really recommend Siem Reap as a travel destination especially for those interested in photography and simply for those wanting a peaceful vacation with still lots of opportunity to dine out or party.

The Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Of course, the most beautiful part of Siem Reap is Angkor Wat. It was said to have been built in the 12th century for King Suryavarman II. A book I briefly read at the bookshop in Phnom Penh airport said it was built by 100,000 workers over a span of 30 years. It is often referred as the largest religious monument in the whole world. Wikipedia said this about Angkor Wat: “One of the first Western visitors to the temple was Antonio da Magdalena, a Portuguese monk who visited in 1586 and said that it “is of such extraordinary construction that it is not possible to describe it with a pen, particularly since it is like no other building in the world. It has towers and decoration and all the refinements which the human genius can conceive of” [Higham, The Civilization of Angkor pp. 1-2.] I am also out of words right now. For me it is the most magical place I have ever seen so far. It is so breathtaking that it’s almost surreal, as if you’re seeing a huge painting done by God.

One thing that I just regret is that we (I went there with my good friend JR) didn’t stay long enough. We only had one day to explore Angkor Wat and the nearby temples! The rest of the time was spent traveling because the bus ride was quite long. But because of this, I promised to myself that I will go back there again…and longer! I need about 5 or even 7 days there! I missed so many of the other temples and I know I won’t pass up another opportunity to go there again. My friend Juana Banana is planning a trip to Cambodia next month and hopefully, I can join her again when she goes to Siem Reap.

These past two weeks have really been great. The week here in Bangkok was very learning (I learned so much about DHL, my new employer!), fun, and although there were some sad moments when I recalled that the last time I was here was with my ex, I also realized that I missed BIG city living so much (Manila is more or less like Bangkok) that I’d make sure I’d savor every moment here. And I am doing that right now. Bangkok rocks!

But I miss Phnom Penh now that it’s my new home. It doesn’t have the excitement, chaos and madness of cities like Bangkok and Manila, but that’s the place where I am building a new life now. It embraces me like its own daughter and I fall asleep nestled in its warmth.

Tomorrow, I’d be home again. See you soon, Phnom Penh.

[Re-post of a blog dated October 19, 2007 (from my previous site).]


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