Cambodia 1: night before the dawn

February 22, 2010

John Wyver:

Monday 22 February: Siem Reap
At least you can see what we drank with our (delicious) supper last night. This post is something of a place-holder until I can post further about filming at Angkor Wat. We’re aiming to get up at 5am Tuesday morning so that, with thousands of other tourists, we can observe the sunrise over the temple (and hopefully film it in glorious HD for Sky Arts). I think it’s fair to say that we don’t have much sense of what time it is either here, in Siem Reap, or back in London. We took a twelve hour flight from London to Singapore, hung out in the airport for some six further hours, and then crossed into another time zone in flying through to Siem Reap. Greetings, meetings, dinner and then a deep sleep of, oh, at least three hours!

What an extraordinary place — and what an extraordinary history the country has lived through over the past decades. Within five minutes of a meeting we’re being shown a colleague’s finger cut off at the first joint and a smashed bone in his leg — both, he says, the results of being tortured by the Khmer Rouge. But seemingly that’s all in the past, and the country is keen to attract tourists and to show off its extraordinary heritage. Angkor Wat is one of those places that I’ve wanted to come to for years and years. Perhaps long ago I saw a documentary about it on television. With luck, it won’t disappoint… but rest assured that I’ll blog my reactions both here and over on Art of Faith II during the next three days.

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