Appreciating Architecture + Enduring Heat

We’re staying in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, this week, and today we visited one of its star attractions – the Royal Palace. The complex includes dozens of buildings, temples, stupas, gardens, and exhibit halls. The master artisans of the 1860s carved, inlaid, sculpted, and/or painted intricate details on its every square inch. The Silver Pagoda, in particular, houses hundreds of silver Buddahs, wooden Buddhas, marble Buddhas, and ivory Buddhas. A medium-sized emerald Buddha sits in the middle of the room, at the top of an ornate pedestal.

Phnom Penh’s Heat

We enjoyed wandering among the buildings, but the heat did wear on us after awhile. The heat in Phnom Penh is manageable the vast majority of the time. Walking around in it for long periods of time, though, takes some endurance. We went around 9am to avoid the worst of it but managed to get a bit of a burn anyway.

A Welcome Refuge

Toward the end of our couple of hours at the Royal Palace, one highlight was a leafy green nook. Back in the 1860s, they built one small temple in the middle of a dense cluster of plants, with park benches for enjoying the shade. In the end, that was my favorite part of the day, sitting there re-energizing for some more overwhelmingly beautiful architecture. Also enjoyable was the exhibit halls at the very end of the day. We walked into about six of them, and all but one was heavily air conditioned. The room full of elephants entertained us the most. There were a couple of real-life sculptures and tons of small ones made of ivory, marble, wood, silver, and gold.

10 months ago

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