Monday, May 10, 2010

What a day! Up at the crack of dawn for a quick breakfast before heading out with our guide, Me-an, and our remork driver, Bo, to our first set of ruins east of Angkor Thom. Bought our three day ticket for US$40 each and made our way to our first temple ruins in the jungle at Ta Nei. Next up was the spectacular, but unfinished, ruins of the temple at Ta Keo and the nearby hospital chapel. We met up with a super little 10-year old, who was selling post cards. He was pretty clever - when Catherine said she had no money with her to buy his postcards, he told her to go get some from her husband! After Ta Keo, we went to the King’s East Gate entrance to Angkor Thom. This was spectacular with 54 statues holding a giant serpant on each side of the road leading into the walled city. After this it was time for a break from the heat and we made our way back to Amansara. After a swim in the pool and some lying in the sun, we had a remork take us to have lunch at the Hotel de la Paix. I had a traditional Kymer meal - beef curry, bbq pork ribs and sour chicken soup. One of the best meals I have ever had! Following lunch, we went to the local bookstore to buy books, pencils and crayons for under-privileged kids in a floating village we plan to visit sometime in the next few days. We got back to Amansara just in time to meet up with Me-an for our late afternoon trip back to Angkor Thom. By this time, the temperature had reached about 40 degrees celcius! We entered Angkor Thom by the south gate this time and paid a visit to the temple ruins of Preah Palilay. This was followed by a visit to the royal pond and then the ruins of Bapuon, where some major restoration work is taking place. To end the afternoon, we walked over to Bayon. This was incredible! Large smiling buddhas are the big feature at this temple as are the wall murals which depict Kymer life over 800 years ago. We ended the day with a wonderful dinner at Amansara and now its time for early bed as we plan to be on our way tomorrow morning at 5.00 am to watch the sun rise over Angkor Wat.

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