The Vishnu Interlude

A photo I wish I'd taken, but I left by camera in Laos.

A windy morning at Angkor Wat—leaves are rushing, and the dry fronds of the palms are whacking the treetrunks. Inside one of the gopuras a tower of golden umbrellas is dancing above the head of an eight-armed statue of Vishnu, with glittering beads hanging from its tassels, and an orange robe wrapped around his vast chest threatens to tear itself loose and blow away. The sparks at the ends of the incense sticks flare, and the blue smoke whirls in the stone chamber while the elderly adherents rush to grab the few bills of paper money left for good luck in a bowl before his feet…

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