May 5th, 2010. Afternoon.
The weather is still muggy as we ride into Bayon.
Great black menacing clouds hover overhead. A patchy nip in the air, mostly imagined, indicates an impending downpour. Yet the clouds belligerently hold back, much like an angry child, heavily sulking yet unable to burst.
From a distance, Bayon is a mushrooming forest of black and white towers. From near, it remains exactly the same. It takes a while for me to unravel the lines that form the most complex of the Khmer temple plan.
The face bears likeliness to Jayavarman VII, prodigious builder of most grand temple complexes in Siem Reap. Jayavarman’s full lips curl in an enigmatic mysterious smile that easily rivals Mona Lisa’s if at all you find her that. If I were carrying an iota of guilt, right now right here I would breakdown into a willing confession, so knowing and patronizing is the expression.
Inside the innermost sanctorum, a Khmer priestess multiplies the mystique with just about enough candles to deepen the darkness, the smell of camphor and essence sticks bringing me to the brink of delirium.
The priestess seems to be saying, “May it rain, please!”
As I climb the down the steps, I realize, I am taking back with me a single continous rivulet of cold sweat flowing down my spine.