Saturday, November 11, 2006

Visiting the temples

Angkor Wat sunrise - waiting, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Sorry, not so much time to write, as taken ages to upload the photos and study the form at Cheltenham for this afternoon's racing. (I have a small-ish bet on my favourite Take The Stand, more in the hope that he one day wins another race and I don't want to miss it).

An early start this morning, witrh the alarm going off at 05.10, in readiness for a 05.30 pick-up for the sunrise at Angkor Wat. Not so spectacular as it turns out, but fascinating to see how many people were there and also to look at the photographic equipment of the Japanese tourists, who had taken the best spots by the lake in front of the temples, had their massive Canon's supported on tripods and could be seen experimenting with the one filter after the other. Put me to shame. Interestingly enough though, by the time the first rays of sun came over the five towers of Angkor Wat, which for me was the best moment, they were already gone!

A great photo to take at Angkor Wat is a photo of saffron robed monks against the grey stone walls... works every time! The pink water lilies were also very beautiful.

Angkor Wat emptied very quickly actually and we had the place virtually to ourselves. It seems there are morning and afternoon temples and everyboidy tends to go to the same temples at the same time. We thought we would be adventurous after Angkor Wat by going to a far-off temple called Banteay Srei, for which we had to pay extra to our riders. We bargained them down a bit as Richard thought this temple was only 15 kms away. However they were more like 35 kms away, and our riders were in a sulk and started riding off far too fast. I offered them the two dollars more that they ad wanted but that did not get them out of their sulk. Fred will understand this process very well.

Anyway, we sped through some lovely countryside full pof rice paddies and sugar palms, through colourful villages of houses on stilts and so on, not meeting much traffic, so imagine our surprise when so far away, we re-found the crowds which had been at Angkor earlier and who had disappeared! It was a pretty enough temple, in red sandstone and the trip had been worth it,. although more comfortable from me than for Richard as his rider was following mine (at speed) and not looking too closely at the pot-holes in the road, leaving Richard's back to act as the suspension.

We visited another temple on the way back, quite fascinating too, but can't remember the name of it, and no guide handy, before returning to town for a delicious Cambodian lunch at the Khmer Family Restaurant, in a lovely building, well-presented, for very little money. Unfortunately we both had a beer and ended up spendinmg the afternoon asleep back at the hotel (Angkor Health Guesthouse).

We have decided that we will not use the third day of our Angkor Wat pass (40 dollars) and will take the boat to Battambang tomorrow, before ctaching a bus from there to Phnom Penh, probably stopping at Kompong Chnang, for a trip to the floating villages there, along the way.

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