Angkor Wat (Day 2)

My second day started a lot more relaxed than my first. I had breakfast at my guesthouse and had a coffee in the morning. Therefore a 7:30 pickup was quite alright. We wouldn’t be the masses but there weren’t masses expected anyway. It was monsoon season after all.

Today we had the big round planned and it was called thus because the temples are a bit further apart. The first one for today was Preah Khan. The temple had its own driveway leading up to it, beautifully lined with statues left and right.

  

  

     
        
  

I have noticed that I was taking quite a lot of pictures at the first temple. Something that had to change when going to the second one which was to be Neak Pean. To get there I had to walk over a long wood boardwalk and the temple itself couldn’t be visited, not even surrounded. You could just walk a bit to the left and the right of it.

The whole temple tour might sound rather boring but it was not. At every temple I had to fight off legions of vendors with pants, scarves, books, postcards, paintings etc. and more often than not I lost. I just bought something to be left alone for a while. The temple though were wonderful if not a bit much after a time. Temple number three for the day was Ta Som.

  
Number four was Eastern Mebon. I can’t really say much to the temples, I bought a book about them though and will read up later. Most of them were from the 10-12th century and looked quite similar or so it started to feel by then. It was definitely hotter than the day before because we started later. And my attention span was after one and a half days on half mast. IMG_5981 IMG_5983
  

After the fourth temple one I had a short coffee break before going to Pr. Prerup. Here I also saw a huge black and white spider which made an interesting web.

        
  
By now it was noon and I was exhausted again from the heat and the constant walking up and down. But the day was far from over because now we cam to the most famous of landmarks, Angkor Wat. Maybe it was the heat or the lateness of seeing it after all the other temples, but Angkor Wat didn’t impress me that much. It was probably best renovated compared to the other temples and it had beautiful Bas Relief Galleries but that’s about it. Of course it was built surrounded by water but still, there were others more impressive. To get to it I had to cross a long paved walk which was guarded at the beginning by seven-headed snakes and lions on each side.

  
Once I exited the first building I saw that another paved road lay ahead. Actually make that a huge park like area with ‘libraries’ left and right and still far ahead the main building structure.

  
  
  
  
  

The rest of the buildings was sparse, especially compared to the reliefs which were mind-blowing all things considered. So maybe I judged to harsh. Looking at the pictures now makes me see Angkor Wat in a different light. It was impressive after all. Here some more pictures from inside.

  
  

And that was it for the day then. When I walked back to Mara and his tuk-tuk I saw a horse, a rare sight so far on this trip.

The rest of the afternoon was spent napping and swimming. For dinner I didn’t even make it as far as the main street but stayed close to the hotel. I met some cows on the road and had another boring dinner although the fresh green pepper was very tasty. It didn’t matter since I was bone tired and ready to call it a night. Yours, Pollybert

  

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More of Lhasa

The next day started a bit slower and we only met at 9:30. I enjoyed my Chinese breakfast with stuffed baozi and some spicy vegetables.IMG_1593Today we had more monasteries on our program and thus fortified we were on the way. The first one was the  Drepung Monastery.

After a short drive we saw first of all some dogs.IMG_1596 IMG_1602 IMG_1603 IMG_1700 IMG_1609 IMG_1612
Here the Buddhists paint the stones surrounding the monastery every September when there is a big religious festival.IMG_1614
There we also found the most astonishing toilets (and relatively clean compared to some others that we saw on this trip). IMG_1631

The monastery of course was beautiful too, more from the outside than the inside. Inside in the little side temples and nooks it felt more like a creepy place than a religious temple. The protectors next to the Buddha statues looked like demons (which they actually were before the got vanquished).IMG_1615 IMG_1617 IMG_1619 IMG_1623 IMG_1626 IMG_1627
As usual there were no pictures allowed inside but I sneaked one in of the stairs. They were always super steep and dangerous.
In front of the prayer halls there were always huge pillars with prayer flags. Visiting all these places I felt really calm and at peace while Sylvia disliked the disturbing images inside.IMG_1635 IMG_1637 IMG_1638 IMG_1639 IMG_1641IMG_1653IMG_1656

For lunch we went to a little tea house and had some simple Tibetan fare. Rice with vegetables and some yak meat for me and the same for Sylvia without the yak.

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After lunch the next monastery, now the Sera Monastery. After the third one it felt like more of the same. Still, we had to show a certain interest because our guide was so clearly into it. Sylvia bought herself a little prayer, you never know it might help.IMG_1664 IMG_1667 IMG_1668 IMG_1670

 

From there we were driven downtown again to go shopping but eventually just stopped by at our guide’s tea house, enjoyed some teaIMG_1673
and then ended up in a shopping mall in search of a washroom. My little dictionary from Vienna for Chinese came in very handy again.

At the mall we bought some ‘juice’ by tapping our finger at the right drink. Clearly there are not a lot of English speaking people in this country.IMG_1675

I also bought myself a pair of shoes and a long-sleeved shirt. The mall was definitely a success. To top it all we managed to get on the right bus and were back in our area no time.IMG_1683IMG_1684 IMG_1685
But on the short walk back to the hotel we were drawn into a Chinese restaurant with the words ‘Come in, come in’. But that was the extent of the English words of the owner. From then on it was looking at the pics in the menus and using the dictionary again.

We managed to order though we apparently made a mess of things because what we got was enough dinner for 10 people. Please note that the dishes were individually plastic wrapped for each customer.IMG_1689IMG_1695
Also they didn’t seem to understand that when Sylvia means no meat then there should be no meat. Meaning even though there was no meat in the soup, it counts as meat when it is a chicken soup base and a little worm on top of some green leave. So that was it for Sylvia with the Chinese food, we didn’t go again together.
Yours, Pollybert