More to be done

Trip Start Jan 19, 2013
Trip End Feb 02, 2013

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The alarm clock startled Carlo and I out of a deep sleep at 5:15 in the morning. We only had 15 minutes to get dressed and brush our teeth before our rickshaw driver would be there to take us back to Angkor Wat.  We hurried down the stairs of the guest house, finding our driving looking bleary eyed but ready to go.  We clambered into the rickshaw and headed out into the darkness that comes before the dawn.  It was much colder than I expected and Carlo and I huddled together as the breeze tugged at our thin cotton shirts. 

            We were dropped off right outside the gate that leads into Angkor Wat and we were not alone.  Hundreds of other people were walking the same darkness that we were, trying to get a good spot to watch the sun come up.  We went to the place that Nani had shown us before, the left corner of the nearest pond in front of the temple.  We stood there quietly as the sky began to lighten and tested our cameras against the darkness, trying to get the settings right for the sun rise.  The sky went from grey to a pink-ish blue that was difficult to capture on the screen of the camera.  People jostled slightly, trying to get their glimpse of the view that we had all come to see.  Shutters snapped all around us as more people pressed in to get their obligatory image of Angkor Wat at sunrise. 

Eventually the sky lightened enough that Carlo and I felt that we had seen enough.  We started to move in the direction of many others who were walking back towards the gate and their waiting rickshaws beyond.  Just as we were about to leave someone pointed out the sunrise and Carlo and I turned to see a massive red ball start to peek up over the trees on the far right side of the temple.  We paused on the walk way beyond the gate, taking a moment to watch the sun properly come into the sky.  Satisfied, we went back to our rickshaw and our driver took us back to the guest house for breakfast.

After breakfast Nani showed up again to take us on the second part of our tour.  We had seen the most common and popular temples on the first day, but there was still a lot left to see.  We started with Pre Rup and Eastern Mebon temples, which look similar but are still beautiful to walk around.  Nani led us up and down the steps, telling us about the construction and the restoration that were taking place at the site.  She had interesting stories to tell us about the Hindu deities that the temples were built for and we found shady spots to stand and listen to her.

We also went to Banteay Kdei and Ta Phrom, which are stunning, crouching in the jungle.  The trees grow up and around the temples, sending stones crumbling to the ground.  Moss coats many of the images, turning them various shades of green and brown.  The air is hot, but you can find patches of cool moist air deep in the halls of the temples.

Neak Pean was an interesting site that we traveled down a long walk way over murky water to get to.  At the end of the planked walk way the temple complex sat partially submerged in water.  The pools had been constructed to signify the various elements and we looked out at them from the bank as Nani explained the history to us.

Finally there was Ta Som, which our guest house was named after.  We took our time going through the temple, taking in all the details and filling our camera with pictures.  Nani stopped multiple times, telling a story or pointing out an artifact.

With all of the temples completed, I wanted to do some shopping and Carlo and Nani were willing to humor me.  Nani brought us back to a shopping complex near the Leper king terrace to allow me to buy a few things.  We wandered around a bit, looking at shirts and dresses as more and more sellers became aware of us.  I bought a tank top and dress as well as a couple of scarves and Carlo got a few shirts.  All in all it was a very successful trip and we were both content with our purchases.

With that we were both worn out and pretty hungry.  Nani loaded us back into the rickshaw and we carved our way out of the archaeological park and back through Siem Reap to our Guest House.  Carlo and I were both in desperate need of a shower and after we had both dressed in our fresh new clothes, we had a lovely late lunch at the guest house's restaurant.
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Mom on

While capturing Angkor at sunrise on the screen of the camera may be difficult, you certainly did it. The scene is absolutely breathtaking. From here to the Taj Mahal when you studied in India, you are blazing your trail around the world!

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