Siem Reap - Day 7

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October 29th 2022
Published: October 31st 2022
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This morning we returned to Angkor Wat because when we were there on Monday we were not able to visit ‘Heaven’, the topmost part of the temple, due to it being a Buddhist holy day. We had Cholna drop us off at the eastern entrance so that we could do the steep climb up to ‘Heaven’ in the cool (?) of the morning and while we were feeling full of energy?? It was also interesting to see the eastern entrance which is also attractive, but not seen nearly as much as the western entrance.

We were all suitably dressed for heaven this morning. I missed out on this section of Angkor Wat when we were here in 2010 because my skirt was deemed too short. My skirt was right on knee length, which I thought was going to be OK and I had a three quarter sleeve blouse on for our last visit but, unfortunately, I was not dressed modestly enough to visit the inner sanctum. All OK this morning and we made the steep climb up to the top temple.

Our visit to ‘Heaven’ completed we returned to the galleries to view those that we didn’t see on Monday. We saw the galleries that were completed earlier in Angkor Wat’s history on Monday and, really, the bas-relief carvings in those galleries are the best and the most detailed. The galleries that we viewed this morning were not carved until the 16th-century and featured the War Between the Asuras and Lord Krishna, the War between Lord Krishna and Asura Vata and the War Between Devas and Asuras. The work lacks the depth of the earlier completed works.

Steve was keen to re-visit the Churning of the Sea of Milk Gallery, but the rest of us were flagging already in the unrelenting heat and humidity. We were all more than happy to wait for him at the western entrance while he returned to the eastern gallery to admire the carvings in that gallery again. He is unlikely to pass this way again so we all encouraged him make sure he had fill of the incredible carvings. While we waited we watched the balloon rides over Angkor Wat. This is a bit of a misnomer because you don’t actually go for a balloon ride as such. The balloon is tethered and all you do is ascend and descend on a rope!! We have no idea what you pay for that experience, but pretty certain that it must be exorbitant?!

We met Cholna at the western entrance, where he greeted us with lovely cold bottles of water. So cold, in fact, that we were getting ice-cream headaches! His tuk tuk is amazing. Somehow, after hours of waiting for us, he produces ice cold water from the cooler under the seat for us and, when Cathy broke her sunglasses at the ticket office car park on Sunday, Cholna effected a repair while we were in buying our tickets with a piece of wire that he found under the seat. That repair is still holding firmly a week later!

Back at the Baby Elephant we enjoyed our last lunch in the courtyard by the pool before spending the afternoon lazing in and by the pool. This really has been a pleasant oasis in which to seek some respite from the heat during the afternoons. Bernie and I had mid-afternoon massages which were very relaxing. Once again we booked Swedish massages, but what we got was more like a Khmer (Thai) style massage with a token bit of oil used on our backs only. Fortunately, we’re not fussy about what style of massage we have.

I think that the Sugar Spa attached to the Baby Elephant Hotel is not back in full swing yet following the Covid hiatus. I imagine when their occupancy rate is closer to 100% that the spa will be correspondingly busier and more fully staffed. At the moment you have to book at least an hour in advance and they call the masseurs to come in.

After buying my krama the other night I have been thinking that it is actually a decent length of 100% cotton fabric. This got me hatching the idea that I could buy some more kramas and make myself a fugly shirt (with mismatched fronts and sleeves) out of several different kramas. To this end we returned to the market on our way to Pub Street tonight to buy more kramas. The stated price for the wider krama was US$6.00. I (eventually) chose five kramas and asked if she would do five for US$20.00. She quickly countered with ‘choose one more and I’ll do six for US$30.00’. Hmmn, my aim was to get the price down to US$4.00 each. I guess we met in the middle doing them for US$5.00 a piece.

From the market we walked to Pub Street planning to dine again at Paper Tiger. We turned the corner to be confronted with an arch decorated with ghosts and skulls and doof, doof music emanating from the Temple Club which was hosting an early Halloween night. Initially we were seated out the front of Paper Tiger, but had to ask to be moved inside because of the spotlights shining right onto our table. It was still loud inside, but at least the lighting situation was improved.

Back in our room it was time to re-pack the bags ready for our on-bound journey to Singapore tomorrow. Phew, I managed to cram all of those kramas into my suitcase. If I don’t get around to making a shirt from them I can always gift them to people or, worst case scenario, use them as hand towels or tea towels??!

Steps for the day: 10,062 (6.32km)

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