Wednesday, November 11, 2015

History, Heat, Humidity and HILARITY!!!

Sorry, thought I posted this yesterday....

Monday, November 9, 2015
Today we decided to go to some of the temples on the outer edges.  It was a long drive though the countryside and much of it was quite beautiful.

It is amazing what can be carried with a tuk-tuk!

The monks sometimes need a ride somewhere!

Our first stop was Pre Rup.  Pre Rup temple was built in second half of the tenth century (961)by the King Rajendraman II dedicated to the god Siva (Hindi), replica to Pre Rup style of art.

It was a very steep walk up to the top!

The boldness of the architectural design of Pre Rup is superb and give the temple fine balance, scale and proportion. The temple is almost identical in style to the East Mebon, although it was built several yeas later. It is the last real 'temple-mountain '

East Mebon was our next site to visit.  It was built in the second half of the tenth century (952) by king Rajendravarman II, dedicated to Siva (Hindu), an ancestor temple in memory of the parents of the king with following the Pre Rup style art.

The Mebon stands on a small island in the middle of the Eastern Baray, which was a large body of water fed by the Siem Reap River. The temple was accessible only by boat. Today the baray, once a source of water for irrigation, is a plain of rice fields and the visitor is left to imagine the original majesty of this temple in the middle of a large lake.

Ta Som Temple was built in the end of the 12th century, dedicated to the father of the king (Buddhist).

It is a small quiet temple that has not been restored.  In the past one of the significant features of Ta Som was the growth of fig trees at the faces of the entrance towers. These have been cut from the east tower but they are still visible at the west one.

Saw this beautiful dragonfly on the way to the lake.  

Neak Pean was built in second half of the 12th century by king Jayavarman VII and dedicated to Buddhist. Although Neak Pean is small and a collection of five ponds, it is worth a visit for its unique features. It is believed to have been consecrated to Buddha coming to the glory of Nivana.

The central pond is a replica of Lake Anavatapta in the Himalayas, situated at the top of the universe. The lake gives birth to the four great rivers of the earth. These rivers are represented at Neak Pean by sculpted gargoyles corresponding to the four cardinal points.  Lake Anavatapta was fed by hot springs and venerated in India for the curative powers of its waters. The orientation of the ponds at Neak Pean ensured that the water was always fresh.

Scenes along the way as we drove back to the hotel.

Michelle eating some Dragon Fruit!

The Banteay Samre temple is worth the extra effort to experience the elaborate architecture, and fine carvings, although theft has mutilated many of the temple's treasures.  Banteay Samre is one of the most complete complexes at Angkor due to restoration using the method of anastylosis. Unfortunately, the absence of maintenance over the past 20 years is evident.

The name Samre refers to an ethnic group of mountain people, who inhabited the regions at the base of Phnom Kulen and were probably related to the Khmers.

.  No inscription has been found for this temple, but the style of most of the architecture is of the classic art of the middle period similar to Angkor Wat. The monument most likely dates from the same period, or, perhaps, slightly later, although there are additions attributed to the Bayon style.

The detail of the carvings was mind boggling!

The proportions of Banteay Samre are splendid. A unique feature is an interior moat with laterite paving, which when filled with water must have given an ethereal atmosphere to the temple. All of the buildings around the moat are on a raised base with horizontal mouldings, decorated in some areas with figures framed by lotus buds.

The heat and humidity and beating sunshine was almost more than we could handle!  The sweat was literally pouring off of us.  Thankfully we are here during the “cool” season!  Many of the locals are wearing scarves, long sleeves and long pants!  Whew, I would melt away during the hot season!

There are little "markets" everywhere in front of people's homes.  They may have fresh produce, snacks, trinkets, eatery... but most have these bottles of yellow fluid.  Turns out they are litter bottles filled with gas!!!  The yellow is for motor bikes, there is also red and blue.  One for cars and one for newer vehicles.

Actual gas stations are few and far between, so this is how tuk-tuk and motor bike drivers get fuel!!  No government regulation here!!  Cost is about 90 cents/liter, under $4/gallon.  The motor bikes get a lot of miles/gallon, but these drivers are often only making $15-20 dollars a day!

That said, we took our hot, sweaty and tired bodies back to the hotel (after stopping at the artisan shop to look around!), cooled off in the pool (heavenly!), showered (necessary!!), a short team meeting, then off to town for dinner.

Sandy, Michelle and I went to a Cambodian Barbeque restaurant.  It was choices of meat and lots of vegies and noodles that we cook ourselves.  The big pot is placed in (literally) the center of the table and we cook and eat.  Very delicious!

Michelle went first and was shrieking with laughter!

I was pooped, actually falling asleep at the table.  So we decided to go back to the hotel instead of touring around.  That is, until we saw… the “fish massage”!!!  For only $3 we could put our feet in a tank of fish and have them nibble on our feet! 

The goddesses once again!

  OMG!!!  LOL!!!  We were in HYSTERICS!!!  The first tank has tiny fish that tickle like CRAZY!  We could hardly stop squealing and shrieking with laughter!  The second tank has much larger fish.  Yikes!  What a hoot!  

Well, I was certainly wide awake after that!  So Sandy and I had foot massages (not by fish!) $4 for 30 minutes.  Pure bliss!
We finally went back to the hotel.  Our feet felt wonderful.  I think I will sleep very well tonight!
Clinics start tomorrow!!  Yippee!

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