Yesterday. A day I will never forget — for a lot of reasons. From the quiet wonder of sunrise over an ancient temple to climbing over fallen rocks and big blocks of stone from the 11 the century to the brutal heat and humidity of a vast even older temple in mid afternoon. And sharing all this with my kid. Seeing her joy in being here makes my heart so happy. 😅
We were awake a 0400 to prepare for 0440 pick up by Mr. Vantha. The hotel set out 4 boxed breakfasts to go, along with coffee. We opted to view sunset from stone steps across a small lake from the temple. Much less crowded and quiet.
Then, while about a hundred million Chinese tourists crossed the floating bridge to get in, we repaired to a table that the guide, Mr Borey, found for us nearby. The breakfast box for each of us contained 4 pastries, 2 hard boiled eggs, an apple and a banana, and assorted jellies.
The bananas here are very small but the flavor cannot be compared to what we get at our grocery stores. The fruit has a much deeper, sweeter flavor. I’m not crazy about bananas but these are a treat!
To see AngkorWat opened my eyes to the accomplishments of people so many centuries ago. I can’t imagine how many Slavens lives were lost in the construction of these massive buildings. Some have an interior structure of lava stone blocks (lighter), faced by heavy limestone blocks. This culture also figured out the vaulted ceiling.
The elaborate and detailed stone carving decorations on the wall must have taken such a long time to craft. And in this heat!!
This one below appears shinier than the others because tourists (Chinese. The Cambodians like to blame everything on the Chinese tourists.) have touched and rubbed their hands in this woman’s body.
The Buddha statues were once Hindu but by dressing them in bright”clothes” they become Buddha– depends on who’s in charge in a particular era. Now totally Buddhist.
If you wish a blessing there are monks, young and old, here to provide.
Or you can simply take time by yourself to reflect.
To reach the highest part of Angkor Wat there a very steep steps to climb. Now normally John is not allowed on a ladder (my rule) but an exception was made because this ladder (they called them steps. Ha!) John was determined to climb. Mr Borey said he would stay below with me. While we were waiting there he told me he does this 4 or 5 times a week in high season so was happy to have an excuse to sit this one out.
See the brightly colored shirts? That’s my people.
So relieved to see John come down!
Now our shirts are soaked. Really soaked. A few more pix to take though.
On the way out Steff and Phil were physically accosted by Chinese tourists to be in photos with them. They are both so distinctively tall that it was quite the attraction. They literally had to tear themselves away because more and more would try to pull them into their group. John and I were not in demand.
Oh, it felt so good to get into Mr Vantha’s old Lexus with AC all the way up. I sat in front t because “I ask better questions!” Lucky me. I just keep firing them off to earn that sacred spot in front of the AC vent!
Next stop Ta Prohm where, we were told over and over, “Tomb Raiders” was filmed. A lot of mention of Angelina Jolie, but I’m not sure of the connection.
This was my very favorite spot of the day. Jungle-y with twisty vines and roots coming from above and below. Piles of tumbled down stone blocks to climb over. And trees that have grown right over the ancient buildings for centuries.
Look at these small stone carvings that look like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or maybe they are ancient emojis.
Actually, before they eroded we think they were closed lotus flowers – a symbol of purity.
Moving along (speaking of moving along, here’s a billboard shot by Stephanie)
One last temple to see. Scheduled for two hours. I was dropping, as was John. And it wasn’t even noon yet. We convinced Mr Borey to do a shortened version. Even so, my Fitbit goal for the day was long past and I was in overtime.
This temple was a city for a king. Quite spread out. And, of course, many steps to climb.
It’s all so old! And such a wonder when you think about the engineering of these structures and the labor to make them. At this city we found a wall was in the process of being chiseled for decoration, then suddenly stopped. The king died so it appears the laborers tossed their chisels over their shoulders mid-carving and left the job!
Sort of like me in this photo.
We returned to the luxury of our hotel and headed for the shower!
Steff and I scheduled 3 pm pedicures and foot massages. A whole new pedicure experience as you see below. Yes we got the giggles. Position similar to pelvic exam. If there had been a speculum in sight I was ready to flee. See pedi lady laughing?
Naps followed. Then once again to Haven restaurant for dinner. It is so good and comfy and cheap!
We were taken there in Tuk Tuk #17 driven by Mr Mot (“moot”) who insisted on waiting for us. On the way back to the hotel in a re-creation of Mr Toad’s Wild Ride at night with thousands of motorscooters and no apparent traffic rules, Mr Mot #17 offered to drive us around today.
So he’s picking us up at 2 pm and we have him until 8 pm for a total of $18. He’ll take us shopping and to our foot-massage-with-drag-show experience.
Tomorrow we have an early flight to Kuala Lumpur where we spend the night before our evening flight on Monday back home.
My view right now from my balcony.