Hi Misadventurists – time for Part III of our serialized short, “Three Temples”!
This episode takes you through Bayon, the one-time center of Angkor Thom – and otherwise known as the Temple of Faces (you’ll soon see why…)
Shot by Stax and Beej. Edited by Stax. Narrated by Beej.
Phnom Sampeau summit.
To the south lay the remote Cardamom range, to the north Tiger Peak, and farther still the distant Thai border. Tigers reportedly still roam this border, but you’re much more likely to catch malaria than a swipe from a cat’s paw there.
Below our feet are massive caverns that practically hollow out the mountain’s core. Each night at the same time, a swarm of 2 million bats shoot out into the sky – in a twisting, unbroken stream lasting 20 minutes, appearing as one sinuous organism – to feed on the evening insects.
Closer to the where we stand here, the so-called Killing Caves bear witness to a dark Khmer Rouge era. Buddhist monks perform daily blessings at the bottom of the 70 foot deep cave for the ancestors of the local people, thousands of whom died there – most by being casually tossed into the pit along with their children and babies.
Nearby the caves stand Russian-made artillery guns used to shoot at deserters 1000 feet below who were attempting to flee across the Thai border. Later we met an ex-soldier in Phnom Penh whose sister survived that run just 40 years ago.
On a lighter note, the kid in the tree is our self-appointed guide and protector. He lived at the temple you see in the video, and is calling to his friends across the canyon. He insisted on accompanying us, then became increasingly exasperated with our slow pace and frequent photo stops. Wherever you are, kid…sorry for our clueless farang ways!
(This film is a complement to our last essay from the Transfagarasan Highway in Transylvania, a route made famous by the UK’s Top Gear. Stax shot the driving footage (GoPro Hero Black 3 and Canon 60D) and Beej shot much of the scenery with his trusty Lumix GH2. Edited by Stax, who found very cool music by Brooklyn/San Diego duo The Fucked Up Beat and Brooklyn/Los Angeles duo High Places (both used via the Free Music Archive fair use license and attributed accordingly). The video was fun to put together and made the (very) cold trip worth it. Watch below and if you like it, Subscribe to our Youtube channel to get all our new videos!
I’m quite sure that there is a fascinating cultural or folkloric root for these New Year shenanigans somewhere in the mists of Cambodian history.
But you can be sure that Beej is not contemplating this academically as he brakes, weaves, and struggles to avoid hitting these youths who seem mysteriously determined to be hit by somebody.
Before the Misadventurists visited the Hang Nga Crazy House in Dalat, we suspected it might be just another overblown tourist trap not worth the entrance fee. By way of explanation, some of subpar “attractions” exist throughout Vietnam, their reputations inflated by overzealous tour organizers who…