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|
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 www.laundrylikehome.com 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.
|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.