Friday, August 15, 2008
Preah Vihear chapter didn't I. Well here's just a few more that will definitely bring it to a close for the time being, perhaps until my next visit. I met Alison Carter today, who blogs on her archaeological adventures here in Cambodia whilst she's over here for ten months completing her PhD, and she opened my eyes to the subject of ancient beads and how they can tell a heck of a lot about ancient civilizations. She also thought it was cool to see a fog-bound Preah Vihear. It is unless you are trying to take photos of the temple and your camera can't really recognize what its seeing, as in the photo above. The figure in front of the gopura is my pal Sokhom but the fog was so thick at that point, that my camera almost gave up. Nevertheless, a good example of how a lot of my photos were ruined by the weather that day. Also here are a lintel with Indra sitting astride the full-bodied elephant Airavata, slightly unusual as you normally only see the elephant's head, above the usual fierce kala; a badly-weathered lion also just about to be enveloped in mist; and the southern-face of Gopura IV which shows the Churning of the Sea of Milk pediment before the causeway leads onto Gopura III. In the photo a few ice-boxes remain, abandoned by the drinks sellers who were customer-less due to the border closure at that time.
The southern-face of Gopura IV that contains the Churning pediment
On a different topic completely, last night was the going-away party for Dougald O'Reilly, the founder and director of Heritage Watch and a staunch supporter of protecting Cambodia's heritage in all its many guises. He's off to the States to teach archaeology at Yale University for a year and will be greatly missed. He's been at the forefront of a lot of ground-breaking work to raise awareness of looting and its consequences as well as launching innovative projects at Koh Ker, TouchStone - HW's quarterly magazine, a Heritage Friendly Tourism campaign and much more since HW formed in 2003. Enjoy your new assignment Dougald but don't forget to return!