Speaking of rich, our accommodations in Siem Reap turned out to be a lot fancier than we expected.
The lobby featured prominent portraits of top officials, as is common throughout Indochina.
This is the lobby of the separate building where we had our room.
An overview of the pool at night.
The next morning, our driver took us with our guide to Angkor Wat, so we could feed the monkeys.
Someone was nice enough to give Elizabeth a banana so she could Dole it out to the macaques.
Keywords Eliz, wildlife
This girl was content to roost and leave the others to their begging.
Who needs to beg? Just take on the appearance of a Buddha and worshippers will leave food at your feet. (Where are my feet?)
Eliz made a special effort to feed the shy mom with her clinging infant.
Keywords Eliz, wildlife
Keywords nice, wildlife
These were more brilliant in real life.
We missed out on the elephant rides.
But we did visit the Elephant Terrace, which was nearly as good.
Keywords Eliz, Greg, photoshop
Space enough for elephants _and_ tourists.
The ones at the top aren't statues.
Our guide (Mao) explaining some of the symbology, I think. Elizabeth learned stuff. I took pictures. The thing on the right is a sculpture thing.
Mao said the lions were frequently different and fanciful, mostly because the sculptors had never seen a real lion. Even so, this is much better than I could do from memory...
Between the temples, we would frequently be accosted (occasionally mobbed) by children selling various trinkets.
Somehow, the Cambodian children learn to identify the tourists. Is it the way we dress?
The golden dragonflies were brilliant in the sunlight.
Keywords nice, photoshop, wildlife
Mao called to this monk, asking him to stand in the doorway for our camera.
Keywords nice, photoshop
We saw several gates like this one, accompanied by a wall to control entry.
Elizabeth and I traded the camera back and forth quite a bit.
Mao chatting with a compatriot. Everyone we met was friendly and the natives seemed to have a very easy way with one another.
One of many ancient pools, or "barays."
Mao hanging out with some artifacts.
I wonder how many feet have tread these steps over the millenia?
Keywords Eliz, nice
I'm bad with names to begin with, but we saw so many temples, I would have needed a map to recall half of them.
Another common feature of many temples was a long causeway that took you up to it on a level. I presume there was water surrounding it at one time.
One of the temple crowns, which is kept on the ground during restoration.
A Buddhist nun welcomed us to this temple.
The temple at Bayon was probably my favorite in terms of the structure itself.
Four faces of Buddha on each prominence, one face in each direction. The combined effect was incredible.
The scale of the place was also spectacular.
Keywords nice, panorama
I simply cannot convey the feeling of this place with my arsenal of stupid puns and one-liners.
Gods and Goddesses were hidden in every crevice.
Symmetry made the back entrance look almost identical to the front.
This is the ceiling of the gateway to the river bridge.
A welcoming goddess.
Keywords Eliz, hdr, nice
And a scary demon.
Keywords Greg, funny
"Please Miss! Buy a scarf?"
The main temple at Angkor Wat.
Keywords hdr, nice
The north section of steps before repair.
And the south section after repair. Barays were always aligned perfectly on the Earth's axis.
We cooled off as best we could under a tree for a few minutes, while a horse grazed nearby.
Keywords hdr, nice, pets
The mural that surrounds the main temple is the longest bas relief in the known world.
One of many kings, speaking to his priests and advisors in preparation for an important battle.
We saw many of these snake (or "naga") tug-of-wars, which represented the struggle between the forces of good and evil. Mao had umbrellas on hand in case of a downpour, but we were lucky not to see any rain while we were there, even though it was monsoon season.
Many of the smaller Buddha statues were missing their heads, removed by scavangers and thieves who sell them on the black art market.
The steps leading to the gods' temples were designed such that you were made to approach on your hands and knees, and retreat just as respectively.
Keywords Eliz, hdr
Look who awaited us at the top -- and we forgot to bring any fruit to leave as an offering!
The temple roofs were lavishly decorated.
A less common reclining Buddha.
Most of the windows contained these carved gratings.
The goddesses were mostly modeled after the emperor's concubines.
Some reliefs were left only as sketches.
This part of the temple seemed designed as a pool or bath, so it may have contained water at one time.
Here we can see the causeway connecting the two temples.
This was the view we had on the climb down the front side of the gods' temples.
They had a railing to make it easier on us tourists.
Mao timed it so we were leaving just as the after-lunch crowd arrived.
We took a quick pit stop at a nearby village.
Here we see one of the modern Buddhist temples.
On the way out.
We thought about taking a balloon ride, but it basically went straight up and straight down on a cable, and we were pretty hot at that point and ready to cool down at our hotel.
On the ride home, we saw many families riding little scooters and motorbikes, often with babes in arms, and some preadolescents doing the steering.
After a shower and a nap, we headed out to dine in Siem Reap.
Here we are, waiting at a red light in our tuk-tuk -- basically a two-person trailer towed by a 100cc motorbike. Typical traffic was a mob of bikes, motorbikes, and a few autos.
Eliz indulged in a Singapore Sling (now that we were in Cambodia).
Keywords Eliz, nice
I had a 7-up with pineapple juice, as I recall.
Keywords Greg, nice
I loved our dessert -- a concoction of dragon fruit and jackfruit in the dragon fruit's shell, surrounded by fresh rambutan.
Here we see our driver, who insisted on taking us home as well. (There was a free shuttle once an hour to the hotel, but the tuk-tuk was way-way more fun!)
Next to second day in Cambodia...
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