Monday, September 22, 2014


January 13, 2014

     Today we have arranged with our hotel for a box breakfast as we are going to do sunrise at Angkor Wat.  Yes, I know it will be elbow to elbow people but.............Chhon picks us up at 5:00 am.  I have my flashlight.  Boy, it's chilly this time in the morning especially riding in a tuk tuk!

     ANGKOR WAT-SUNRISE  I'm lucky in that our spot is like the 2nd row on the left side where we hope to catch the site's reflection in the water.  It's dark, there's hundreds of people and the only thing you can see are flashlights and the only sound is of cameras clicking.  I'm thinking why are they doing that?  You can't see anything-it's pitch black.  Ok.  I take a picture and check it with my flashlight-nothing but a black space.  No more of that.  Bit by bit dawn starts to creep in and slowly you can see the outline of the iconic site.  Cameras are clicking away furiously now.  I think I got a few good shots. Maybe not as the guy in front of me has this hat on and when I move to the right of his shoulder to get a shot that's when he moves to the right also.  We keep this dance up for several minutes but I did get 1 or 2 fairly decent shots.  Was it worth it to get up this early?  I honestly don't know.  Would I do it again?  Maybe not.  We walk back and find Chhon.  We go to one of the restaurants nearby to have coffee.  Our breakfast box is shared-danishes, croissants, pineapple, dragon fruit.  Cost of coffee $6.50.

     ANGKOR WAT-BAS RELIEFS  I've been waiting for this!  One of the most famous creations in Khmer art.  Immense carved area.  Mainly from Hindu sources.  We slowly go around all 4 sides- Battle of Kurukshetra, Historic Procession, Heaven and Hells, Churning of the Sea of Milk, Victory of Vishnu over the Asuras, Victory of Krishna over Bana, Battle of Devas and Asuras, Battle of Lanka.  I wanted to take a picture of everything I saw!  This is the one time when a guide would be a good idea unless you have done tons of research on the meanings of what you are seeing.  I did a lot of research but even still maybe next time I'd have a guide with me.  We spend 3 hrs. here and I could have spent several more.  I was fascinated and loved every minute viewing the wonderful stories on the walls.
The Kaurava army advances into the Battle of Kurukshetra

Pandava warriors- Battle of Kurukshetra
Ravana shaking Mount Kailasa-SW corner pavilion

King Suryavarman II on his throne before the procession

Start of the judgment:  paths to heaven and to hell

Roasting sinners in the Hell of Avici
Yama seated on his buffalo

Churning of the Sea of Milk-Ravana holding the 5 heads of the giant naga Vasuki

Vishnu supervises the churning

Here is Vishnu as his turtle avatar Kurma supporting the rotating mountain as it threatens to sink below the      sea.    This section is directly below the pic of Vishnu supervises the churning.
Krishna on garuda during the battle with Bana

Krishna kneels before Siva at Mount Kailasa 

Battle between gods and asuras

The asura Kalanemi in the scene showing the Invitation to the Descent of Vishnu-Battle between gods and asuras

Krishna bringing back Mt. Mahaparvata-NW corner pavilion

Rama with bow and arrows, standing on the shoulders of Hanuman during the Battle of Lanka

     PRASAT KRAVAN Bas reliefs of Vishnu and Lakshmi (his consort/wife) in brick.  5 brick towers in a row on one platform.  45 minutes here.

Vishnu on garuda

Lakshmi and attendants

     SRAH SPRANG Tranquil baray.  A nice place to chill.  Few tourists.  Lions and naga balustrades.  15 minutes here.

     BANTEAY KDEI Sprawling.  Largely unrestored.  1 hr. here.
Blessing from a monk
Face tower

Dancing apsaras


     We are back to our hotel by 12ish.  Got clothes ready to drop off to the laundry.  Pool time and I write out some postcards.  Chhon is back for us at 3:00 pm.  We drop off the laundry to LAUNDRY LIKE HOME             Cost for 6.5 kilos is $13 plus $2 for delivery to our hotel tomorrow.  Chhon also takes us to several stores as I want to buy a compass.  Finally find one for $2.50 but for that price it works just like my husband thought-not very well at all.  I'll give it to my grandson later.  A compass is a good thing to bring as a lot of books will describe stuff in terms of direction-SW corner, etc.

     EAST MEBON Large temple-like mountain ruin.  3 levels, crowned by 5 towers.  Elephants, lions.  1 hr. here.
Elephant statue


Blind door showing colonettes and lintel

     Back to our hotel by 6:00 pm.  Cost for the day $23 which included extra for the laundry and compass travel.  This is our last day with Chhon.  Very sad to say goodbye as he became our friend.


     Dinner tonight is at VIVA-recommended by my daughter.  Mexican food-ole!  Veggie chimichanga, taco plate, beer, frozen margarita-what more could you ask for?  Great service and tvery asty food.  Cost under $16.  Did a bit more shopping and stopped by the BLUE PUMPKIN to buy some banana bread to go-yum!  Narak again for our tuk tuk service $6 round trip.

Frozen margarita
Taco plate-great!

Veggie chimichanga


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