Cambodia 11th April 2004
We had a late rise, and sat downstairs eating breakfast waiting for Oiyee and Guy who soon arrived in the Tuk Tuk driven by Savin. We arranged for Kong to collect us while we waited for Guy and Oiyee to get settled, and we were soon off again to the temples.
Out in the heat on the causeway walking towards to the main temple of Angkor Wat, we passed a small horse all decked out in bright colours.
We spent a lot more time exploring the bas reliefs around Angkor Wat, but still did not make it all the way around, even after an hour of exploring. We gave up on the bas reliefs and continued exploring the inner temple, climbing the near vertical steps to the centre tower.
Outside in the central courtyard a group of monks were very happy to pose for a photo, and also wanted us to take photos of them with mark and Liam, using their own cameras.
Approaching 1:00PM we started making our way across the sun scorched causeway to the stalls and restaurants. The little pony had escaped the heat under a palm tree.
The trip through the searing heat was made easy for Liam, who had two young ladies protect him from the sun with their umbrella on the walk back!
Arriving at the car park we heard "Michelle, Michelle, you buy from me"! The girls had heard me calling Michelle yesterday, and remembered her.
Lunch consisted of Luk Laks of differing varieties, noodle soups and many coconut drinks and cans of green Mirinda for Liam. We found Kong after making our way through the many children selling and were happy to get into the air conditioned car heading to the Bayon.
This time, we explored the outer walls of the Bayon, which like Angkor Wat have many bas-reliefs. We tried to find some respite from the sun in the darkened corridors beneath the ever watchful faces of the Bayon, and came across another large Cambodian family visiting and happy for a photo.
As we continued through the temple, we heard a squeal of delight, and the Temple Policewoman who had fanned and nursed him yesterday came running across the flagstones and soon had him pinned down again in the shade of an arch, fanning him in the afternoon heat. We left Liam in her care and continued exploring the dark corridors before rescuing him ten minutes later.
We stopped by the Buddha sitting on a Naga, where Liam prayed for some cooler weather and then headed across to the stalls for coconuts and cold cans of drink.
We then explored the Terrace of the Leper King, which had a wall in front of the inner wall, creating a maze to walk through with old carvings in the rock.
The young kids who had tried to sell us postcards, and had even given Liam a free postcard followed us around here.
Most people had more sense and rested under a huge tree as we continued exploring along the Elephant Terrace. It was easy to imagine sitting up on the terrace in it's hey day, and watching the processions of colourful servants and troops and elephants pass by at the foot of the King.
We drove out through the Victory Gate, and made a quick stop at Spean Thmor. It was fascinating to see how much the river had changed it's course, leaving the arches of the old bridge high and dry, and supporting a number of large trees. Or were the trees supporting the remains of the bridge?
We arrived at Ta Prohm about 4:30, and it was still hot. It was a surreal experience, having seen the temple in photos and film actually being there amongst the trees and stone was very humbling.
We spent an hour exploring through the temple, amazed by the huge Banyan Trees and Fig Trees which were interlocked with the crumbling stone walls pulling the temple apart whilst at the same time holding it together.
The light faded quickly but the heat continued and the sounds of the jungle grew louder as birds and insects filled the air with their many different songs. Finally at the back wall of the temple we came across the famous doorway enclosed with the roots of the strangler fig where we spent some time just appreciating being here.