Friday, May 08, 2015

Lost and found near Angkor Wat--dawn--by Kyi May Kaung

The guide Sok Borin knew his job well, and checked sunrise times the evening before, when I got in.
He then told me the exact time I should be ready for pickup--the van came with guide + driver, but only the guide had English.
It was still quite dark when they picked me up at the 4 star hotel, which was comfortable, but everywhere, the food was not very good.
But I did not come for the food.
At Angkor Wat it was still dark when we went up the causeway, and only the Vishnu statue in the vestibule had candle light offerings.
The guide led me to the much photographed open space with the pool on the right side of the causeway, which is usually called the Cruciform Terrace in guidebooks.

I gave the guide one of my cameras, I think the digital one, as I found out the evening before that he knew his job very well, and was also young and agile enough to climb and get me the right shot.  He knew where the only smiling apsara showing her teeth was, and he got a shot for me.
I vowed that if I ever came back, and if I was in no state to walk by then, maybe I could send someone up with a video cam.

The dawn really did come up like thunder.

Then, it all became flat and the tourists milled around in the wishy washy dawn, like the ones I see from my windows in Washington DC.

Just before it got fully light, I walked across the "lawn" to link up again with my guide, and to see the bas reliefs in the west gallery such as the Churning of the Sea of Milk, and the king's famous portrait in the parade.  Whole novels have been written based on the scenes in these reliefs.
The grass was wet with dew, on the right were some hulking trees that looked like tamarinds.

I was oddly at peace, the way I never am at any shrine in Burma.

On the grass were little white flowers, which I thought had fallen from the trees overhead.

But when I looked up, there were no flowering trees above.

I bent down to pick up one of the flowers, and found it had not fallen, it was growing there about an inch tall, and it was surprisingly difficult to yank it free.  It just did not want to be pulled from its native soil.

Only the flower came away in my hand.

I stuck it in my guidebook as a remembrance that I really had been to Angkor, had not just dreamed it.

I forgot to ask my guide what it was.

If you know anything about this small white orchid, please let me know.  It has small round green leaves.  I do believe I also saw it in a Chiangmai magazine.

In Bali I saw a white star-shaped flower I had not seen since Burma.

It's important for me to connect the dots in this diaspora of flowers.

Thank you.


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