a visit to the hospital and the Angkor temples

January 27, 2009 at 10:11 pm 1 comment

Today I donated blood to the Jayavarman VII hospital (established by the same doctor whose concert I attended on Saturday). It was my first time donating. I couldn’t donate when I was in high school because the required age was 18 and I was only 17 when I graduated; in college the blood drives always fell outside my schedule or memory; last year when I tried to donate to the Beth Israel on 1st Ave they refused to take my blood because my iron count did not meet their exceptional criteria for iron levels. I suppose they just weren’t as needy as they claimed to be on the sign outside their hospital.

Fortunately, this hospital was very honored to have my blood. The security guard enthusiastically ushered me through the building and into the b- taking station where two handsome nurses greeted me with smiles. The male nurse’s smile didn’t leave his face for a long time and it made me blush in response. Imagine, lying there on the examining table, with a needle the size of an elephant in your arm, and only 4 choices available for your eyes: look up and see the white ceiling; close your eyes and see ? ; turn left and face the wall, or turn right and see the smiling face of a handsome man? What do you choose?

Afterwards they tried to give me presents which I refused (although I accepted the vitamins they offered) According to the nurse, about 10 people donate blood every day and my kind, B+ is much needed because most of the children are B+.

Yesterday I went to the Angkor temples for the third time. When I visited the temples 2 months ago I used a guide book to guide me, but it was so hot and the directions and descriptions so dense. I decided to hire a guide this time. Not all of the information he presented was new but it made the exertion more interesting and a passive role was all I could manage in the heat of the day! I felt like this baby.


The guide asked if I was feeling sick and I told him that this is my normal reaction to hot weather. (Working at the school, I rarely do much activity outside during the heat of the day anymore so I’ve become unused to it)

First we went to Angkor Wat. I personally think the temple would be more impressive and beautiful if Cambodia wasn’t so hot. It’s the 3 towers of the temple that adorn contemporary Cambodia’s flag.


The 3 colors represent the nation (red), monarchy (blue), and Buddhism (white).


The temple was built by king Suryavarman II in the 12th century to honor the Hindu god Vishnu. Oh yes, in case you didn’t know, Cambodia was not always Buddhist. Throughout the Angkor Empire the kings alternated between Hinduism and Buddhism and it was only in 13th century that Buddhism became the official (and lasting) religion in Cambodia.



One of my favorite temples is the Bayon, located inside the fortified city of Angkor Thom. It was built by Jayavarman VII (the same king after whom the hospital is named) during the early 13th century. Jayavarman was Buddhist and the temple contains 216 coldly smiling statues of a Buddha-like figure (although they bear a very strong resemblance to the king himself). After his death, Hindu kings removed the Buddha images in the bas-reliefs throughout the temple (not the statues of the smiling faces) and replaced them with lingas (Hindu phallic symbols placed in honor of the god Shiva, the destroyer). And it wasn’t until much later when archeologists began excavating that they realized that this was a Buddhist temple after all!



The other temple I really like is Ta Prohm. Unlike the other temples at Angkor, Ta Prohm has been left almost un-renovated and the large Beng Mealea trees that seem to swallow the temples uncut. It was built by the same king as Bayon in honor of his mother. To witness stone dislodged by the roots of these huge trees is awe-inspiring.



If you’ve seen Tomb Raider this is the same temple where some of the scenes were filmed.



Entry filed under: travel.

Dancing and flesh eating fish So this is where my donation went to?

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. dina  |  January 30, 2009 at 10:11 am

    I looked at all your new pictures. Like them!

    On webcam your face is very pretty.


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