16 October 2007

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October 23rd 2007
Published: October 23rd 2007
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Bayon complex south gateBayon complex south gateBayon complex south gate

This is the non-elephant's eye view.
Today was unique with a vist to the fantastic Bayon Temple via elephant! Bayon is different from most other temples in that it has huge faces on every tower facing north, south east, & west. The faces are serene, not the usual depictions of fierce warrier faces in the carvings on the walls below. We entered the complex through the south gate to the swaying silent gait of our elephants. Once though the gate we were the object of much interest to the other tourists already inside. (Cameron and I now have a nice spot in the vacation video of a couple from Utrecht, Holland....)

About halfway to the temple (it was about a 2km trip), we heard a gibbon calling off in the forest canopy. It really gave an insight to what travelling to the temples must have been like for the elite when the were active in the 1100's. Except that we weren't worried about being attacked by a tiger....

We toured other sites in the area and ended at the Wall of the Elephants.

Because of my heat issue the day before we did this first thing in the morning and finished by noon. We
Elephant parking onlyElephant parking onlyElephant parking only

That's what the big sign to the left says, really! Ok, so maybe not, but you do have to park them somewhere.
went back into Siem Reap and met the Enslens, a LDS Missionary couple from Alabama at the Blue Pumpkin, a very european looking restaraunt that is popular with the visitors as it is air conditioned and serves guests chilled, wet, cloths to wipe their hands and faces before they order. Heavenly.....

After lunch we toured the Artisans d'Angkor center where they help local residents learn skills in traditional Khmer craft work.

Additional photos below
Photos: 30, Displayed: 23


Steering systemSteering system
Steering system

Yep, two feet & and a stick. And then the elephant still is in charge. Ours did n't want to take the same trail as Kendal & Renee's, didn't walk to walk as fast (ok by me on both counts) and felt it was neccessary to stop for an "in-flight" refueling at a tasty tree.
Big & little.Big & little.
Big & little.

Cedric the Gnome & Timba the Elephant (actually the elepphant's name was the Khmer word for Peaceful, but I cant' remember what that is now...)
Kendal, Renee, & KurtKendal, Renee, & Kurt
Kendal, Renee, & Kurt

And Peaceful the elephant.
Saddle up!Saddle up!
Saddle up!

Kendal and Renee are on their elephants, I'm just gettng on the one I shared with Cameron in the back.
Kendal & ReneeKendal & Renee
Kendal & Renee

Entering south gate to Bayon complex.
Almost thereAlmost there
Almost there

Bayon Temple complex just coming into view
Bayon faceBayon face
Bayon face

close up of the big faces found on every tower.

This is the entrance used by the tourists arriving by elephant (such as the Cooks from Utah...)
East wall muralEast wall mural
East wall mural

The big picture.
East facesEast faces
East faces

These guys have been greeting the rising sun since the 1100's. I guess they define being a "morning person"......
East wall detailEast wall detail
East wall detail

Detail from the incredible mural carved into the southeast wall.
South wallSouth wall
South wall

Scenes of every-day life.

Apsara dancers are a common motif found in almost every ruin we visited. They vary from each other from slight costume difference to multiple dancers. The detail regardless is fascinating.

More dancing.
Cam, Kendal, & Renee Cam, Kendal, & Renee
Cam, Kendal, & Renee

Cameron, Kendal, & Renee entering Bayon main tower.
Bayon-main towersBayon-main towers
Bayon-main towers

I don't know why, but Bayon has become my favorite (maybe because it was the one day I wasn't heat sick).

These temples are not just hge piles of carved stones, but labrythine buildings. Cameron is looking out one of the many windows. The lady on the left was on an annoying tour group from China. My opinion that Chinese tourists are the rudest on earth was cemented at Bayon.
Bayon towers-northBayon towers-north
Bayon towers-north

North view of the towers
Bayon north courtyardBayon north courtyard
Bayon north courtyard

Bayon temple was never finished. From all appearances it was 90%+ done when a worker was killed by a lightning strike of the main tower. According to legend it was judged as an omen fromt he dieties that the temple was not acceptable so the work was stopped and everyone just walked away from it.

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