What if Angkor Wat sucks? (And a sexy surprise)

Be honest, though you’ve heard it all before. The Mona Lisa…looks like it’s supposed to, and is surprisingly small. The Coliseum? Sure, you feel like watching Gladiator, but mostly you’re just waiting for your next gelato. The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur? Yup, really tall, pretty. Now what’s for dinner? The Panama Canal…is impressive as hell on paper, but outside the window it’s the world’s most boring river.

 

Now that I’ve offended a few million people, I should clarify that all of these places are still worth seeing. Lordy knows I’ve sought out my share of postcard sites, and smile at my inner version every time I see their iconic images. But in the end? They can be a little underwhelming.Angkor Wat 8485 vivid

 

There are exceptions to this. Machu Picchu is stunning, even with the crowds. I hear the Grand Canyon is the same, though I shamefacedly admit I’ve never been. Which category would Angkor Wat fall into?

 

When we pulled up along the reservoir outside the iconic triple-tower-temple, there was a bit of a “Yup, there it is” first impression. But Angkor Wat is much more than a first impression.

 

Angkor Wat 8431 vividIt is cool hallways filled with the soft tranquility left by centuries of people relaxing in relief from the sun. A visceral tradition you’re now part of. Then you’re humbled by the massive stone structures, an achievement in any century. Where did they get the stone? How many people worked on this? For how many generations? My mind felt fragile with admiration already, when I noticed the carvings. Unimaginable, incredible that humans did this. The sheer volume of artistry made me want to shake the nearest Cambodian hand.

 

Angkor Wat 8453 vividEntire armies marched down walls, identical and detailed in an age before mechanized reproduction. Elephants reared and kings balanced, chariots raced while horses pranced and archers took aim. But apparently the ancient Khmer and I have something in common. Because as well and good as war is, sure, whatever, there are more beautiful things in life.

 

Namely? Boobs. Lots and lots of boobs.

 

Angkor Wat 8436 vividWomen danced on walls, watched from doorways, and made mudras in alcoves throughout the temples, hallways, and galleries of the ancient complex. Subtle smiles of feminine wiles that predated and predicted Mona Lisa’s secret by centuries, inspiring craftsmanship and care that has stood the test of time. And they all had knockers to die for.