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Published: December 19th 2013
On Tuesday we arose very early and took chilly tuk-tuk rides to Angkor Wat, where we watched the sky lighten (though there was no formal sunrise as it was overcast). We started at Angkor Wat, then moved on to the Bayon and Angkor Thom, then ended with Ta Prohm. Though the colors weren't as brilliant, it was certainly more temperate at the temple complex than on my previous 4 visits. I walked around in the main area for awhile, but took the opportunity to do something I rarely have time for and sat by the moat outside the temple looking for birds. I'm pretty sure I saw a black-naped oriole, which is a new bird for me, as well as several black bazas and both common parakeets. (I have neglected to mention the other new birds for the trip, one to be more positively identified in a better manual at home, and a pair of pied kingfishers on the road to Siem Reap, as well as a blue-tailed bee eater, any number of Chinese pond herons, and, I think, a common kingfisher).
At the Bayon we watched a woman on a bicycle get clambered on by a monkey that wanted
her barrette. Not my idea of fun. The figures on either side of the road are being restored by Artisans d'Angkor, a big and meaningful project. All of my students rode elephants, though I passed this time and instead focused on lining up my photo angles.
Ta Prohm is much less under construction than when I visited with N last December. It's fascinating to see the progress of the work over a year.
In the evening we explored the Angkor Night Market, which is always fun.
Wednesday people did their own thing, some visiting Senteurs d'Angkor and touring their production facility, others going to a Thai kickboxing match. After several conversations, K and I received an invitation from the hotel restaurant manager to visit her house and meet her daughter. This was a 45-minute tuk-tuk ride down a main road, then through the village. There we met her father, mother, daughter, and some neighbors or family members (I'm a little unclear on this) and were given a snack prepared by her mother (to which we added Imodium when nobody was looking). Chickens strutted about the small house, the banana trees rustled in the light breeze, and brother
or cousin or neighbor hauled water from an open pit well, though not using the large boom over it. After about an hour, we rode back to the hotel together. It was a special experience and we felt honored to be invited.
We all met up for an Apsara dance show at The Temple restaurant, after which K, G, and I got hour-long foot massages at Baray spa in the Night Market.
Several photos on this one--see below.
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