One of my favorite trips was my December visit to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. While I was only there for one day, I found the scenery, architecture, and people to be incredible. The temples were steeped in history and tradition and the citizens were jubilant and effusive.
I woke up at 3:30am to meet my guide and greet the dawn as it rose over Angkor Wat. As we walked along the ancient path with throngs of tourists (detouring to find a wild horse sitting in the darkness), I was struck by the magic of the experience. The only lights you could see were man-made cell phones and flashlights; though somehow they emitted an almost ethereal glow and felt as though they were a natural part of the landscape. As I sat down in front of the water to watch the sunrise (narrowly avoiding a hill of fire ants), the crowd was nearly silent. The velvety gold and slate blue colors of the sky slowly intensified and in that moment there was nowhere else I wanted to be.
The rest of the day consisted of exploring all of the ancient temples, conversing with friendly locals, and feeding wild monkeys. I was specifically told not to feed the monkeys prior to arrival as it could be dangerous. And yet as soon as I was asked if I wanted to do so that day, all I could do was smile and joyfully shake my head “YES”! I received a water blessing from a monk who wished me a safe and meaningful journey. It was such a beautiful custom to experience. Another moment that greatly impacted me was with a very young Cambodian girl, the daughter of one of the locals who cleaned parts of the temples. I came upon her while she was crafting an exotic headpiece out of Cambodian flowers. I mentioned how stunning her art was and her father asked if I wanted to take a picture with her. I approached cautiously and gestured to ask if I could sit next to her as she did not speak any English. She nodded, and after our picture was taken we bowed to each other out of mutual respect. I found it quite humbling that such a young child could be so sincere and content despite clearly having so few material possessions.
This child’s art and warmth helped to inspire this blog’s design. I wanted to create a master bathroom as gentle and soothing as the Angkor Wat sunrise. The soft colors of the daybreak inspired the overall palette; with frequent watercolor blue tones. The gold Phillip Jeffries vinyl wallcovering and the silk Casamance drapery evoke the hue and texture of the sun glistening over the temple. The peaks of the temple are mimicked in the shape of the Fuse Lighting sconces and angular Barclay tub. Variations in the tile and stone selections call to mind the architecture of the abundant natural stone. And the amazing Artistic Tile floral mosaic is an homage to the young Cambodian girl and her floral headpiece.
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