Girls see more temples @Angkor
Trip Start Feb 29, 2004
69Trip End Apr 12, 2005
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First on the agenda was to actually see the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King (?!?), which we missed the previous day due to rain and then scampering off to see Angkor Wat. Yup, there are a lot of ephalunts there. And garudas--the mythical Hindu human/bird that is found all over SE Asia--in fact Carmen told me the national airline in Indonesia is called Garuda.
The Leper King Terrace is a very unique little area of tight walkways between high walls that are filled with loads of interesting bas-relief carvings in the stone, mostly of kings and dancers (those apsaras are everywhere here!). We got to the top of the platform in time to see some kind of bizarre photoshoot of the Lady in Red (in dangerously high spike heels), posing seductively in front of the poor old Leper King
We then trundled off to Preah Khan, another of Jayavarman VII's constructions. It was a lot like the Bayon in terms of loads of mysterious little dark corridors and doorways and piles of huge stones from crumbled walls, but it also had one of those fabulous trees Angkor is famous for, growing over the wall on the eastern side of the main temple. We spent loads of time wandering around in there, and then we were off to little Thommanon, nice but not too remarkable after what we'd already seen in the previous day and a half.
From there we hopped over to Ta Prohm, which is probably the most famous of all the tree temples. One in particular was used in a Lara Croft film and is the current cover of the Lonely Planet Cambodia guide. It's a fabulously mysterious and atmospheric place, with trees melting all over the walls, inner courtyards are filled with the huge stones of fallen walls, moss and lichen cover everything, animal and bird noises (esp the squawking of wild parrots) echo around and there are infinite little passageways, corridors, doors and dead-ends. Another great place for Carmen and I to get separated in, which we did! We met up again in a random passage jsut as the stooped little old man from the LP cover appeared in a doorway, looking exactly as he does on the book
With the sun fading fast, we jetted over to Bantey Kdei, built by...yes, J VII again--he was a busy boy. The was an ok temple, nothing too exciting, but the prayer flags by the Buddha were interesting (isn't that more of a Tibetan Buddhist thing?) and the nice afternoon light made a good picture of a tree in the back with a looooong root reaching out to grab a few things on its way by.
We finished off the day at the old artificial royal ceremonial/bathing lake, Srah Srang. There was bathing going on that day as well, but by local kids, no princes or princesses to be found. Once again we were swarmed by kids trying to sell us stuff. After about 5 minutes of saying "I don't need one, thanks," to one girl trying to pawn off her t-shirts, bracelets, books, etc., she finally said, "You need boyfriend? I get you one, cheap cheap price for you, $1!". When I agreed (as long as she finds a tall one), we all had a good laugh. Maybe that's the way to go--using an intermediary! :)
Another nice night with Happy Hour and a conversation with the couple at the next table who'd were dying to talk about to someone about their day--they'd just gotten engaged at sunrise at Angkor Wat--all together now, "Aaaaaaawwwwwwwww, that's so sweet..." :)