Day 2 (24/9) - Siem Reap: Angkor Wat (Part 1)
We left the hotel really early, before 5, to get to Angkor Wat, supposedly in time to catch the sunrise. However, by the time we arrived the sky was already a dark blue colour.
Wearing a hat - at 5:30am (it was left behind in Cambodge - boo!)
Causeway at Dawn
A steady stream of tourists
The complex has been rehabilitated for modern worship
The horde of tourists there just before 6am was amazing. It was almost as wondrous a sight as Angkor Wat itself.
Restored by the Japs (one of the many different teams working on the place, each with different restoration philosophies), it was the only building to have an information panel. I'm sure a lot of people think everything they see is original. Indeed, the guide said in a few years the new sandstone would wear out, making it the same colour as the original and it would look the same; he seemed to think this was a good thing.
Grazing horse at the side of the causeway.
Most of the horde seemed content to watch from a distance instead of venturing into the ruins. It must've been the bloody conducted tours restraining them. Bah.
Chairs for the nua. They were a very seasonal fixture, disappearing once the horde had scattered with the emergence of the sun from behind the horizon.
Deep in conference
Mortal Kombat battle pit
(What looks like a) Sacrificial Altar
More contemporary worship. The big Buddha statue dates from the 16th century. The Rouge tried to destroy it but they failed. The offerings to the statue aren't strictly Buddhist but come from a tradition of Hindu syncretism.
Another library. I mounted this one.
At this point I was called back. Apparently we were not supposed to wander off, but stay behind appreciating the sun's splendor before heading in together.
Ramayana monkey tale. I would say that this is the most chaotic and overcrowded relief I've ever seen, but then that's just my ethnocentric and racist self speaking. Luckily they didn't carry out human sacrifice here, or I would've imposed my bigoted prejudices in judging this practise.
View of approach
Monkeys humping on the roof
Me on the library steps. Unfortunately I forgot to reset the exposure adjustment so these 2 are stuck at +2/3. Oh well.
The Angkor civilization didn't have the true arch, they only had the false arch, which was why many of their structures collapsed.
Spanner in the concrete. Tsk - shoddy restoration!
There was an Echo Chamber at one side, where we were invited to go in, stand with our backs to the wall and thump our chests as loud as we could. Like similar examples in other guided tours, although this was a packaged experience it was what people wanted and was meant to give us an interactive experience and give us personal associations with the place.
Reconstruction is supposedly problematic because it's not authentic, but leaving everything as a pile of stones and unstable structures is even more problematic.
Climbing to the top
Naturally, I followed the intrepid mountaineers and mounted the structure as well.
[Me: *** just asked me for a hairtie. Lucky I brought some spares.] She doesn't have one? But she's a girl. [Me: See, this is how they can bring less than 4kg.]
[Guide on the Ramayana reliefs: If you walk fast you won't be able to understand it] If I walk slow[ly] I won't be able to understand it. (them)