It was around four thirty in the afternoon and I was just about templed out.
Sitting in an ’83 Toyota Camry, watching the forest trees wiz by in a blur of dark green interspersed with glimpses of light, I mentally recalled my checklist of things done during our whirlwind visit to the
Ride a hot-air balloon to get an aerial shot of Angkor Wat emerging from the forest …… Check.
Pay homage to the Creator at the Gallery of a Thousand Buddhas...... Check.
Thump chest and hear the resonance in the Hall of Echoes… Check.
Strike a graceful pose in the Hall of Dancers at Preah Khan ….. Check.
Pass through the Gate of the Dead where a jumble of gods and demons stick out of the soil like victims of a horrific cosmic pile-up.…Check.
Visit Ta Prohm, home of the twisted and convoluted Tomb Raider tree… Check.
We had taken enough pictures to fill 2 memory chips, eavesdropped on numerous guided tours, and logged enough miles to get to
Two days later and I felt like a day-old birthday balloon slowly losing air. Something was missing. Maybe it was over anticipation. The mythical image that I had sketched of
All in all, a wonderful experience but still, something was missing. I was still unfulfilled.
Our patient driver must have noted our slow, inevitable descent into catatonia.
“Last one, last one. Ta Keo. Not far. ” Music to my ears. I perked up and trawled through my dog-eared secondhand guide book for a description of the place.
“It is dripping with green and crowned with trees, but is still supreme over the forest. It..shows the development of a new spirit in the people, the growth of good taste.”
We rounded a bend and behold, there was Ta Keo, “The Mountain with
Ta Keo is one of the great temple-mountains at
I grunted and groaned my way to the top. Ta Keo is a structured pyramid conforming to the usual rule of proportional reduction. As I got closer to the peak, the steps grew exceptionally narrow and muscle-punishingly steep. At one point, I was inching my way up on my hands and knees like a supplicant on pilgrimage. I reached the central tower, gingerly turned around and gasped. The sun was just beginning its descent into night - its brilliant red, orange and yellow hues setting the giant treetops before me afire.