My guide came back for the sunrise visit. The day before I had wondered about getting up at 3:30 to set off at 4:30 (LONG before sunrise), but I had gone to bed early and woke up happily before the alarm. The guide said,"you don't have any heart problems, do you:" I could imagine he was worrying about my collapssing on him. I assured him I did indeed, but well controlled, and I hope he felt better. This time I did want to go a short way up--to the first level with preserved relief, more or less the third level depending on how you count. He enlisted two very hefty men to stand on either side and help--really a good idea on the high steps, but somewhat annoying when we were all four walking around the corridor in front of the reliefs (clockwise). There are so many narrative reliefs, in such good condition, with such elaborate detail. For centuries this whole complex was abandoned and embedded in jungle: not forgotten, but attracting little attention until the nineteenth century. When it became known again, much free standing sculpture was taken, but wonderfully the reliefs remained in place and basically undamaged. This first level tells the story of the Buddha's life--and other things. We spent some hours there, watching the sun emerge and give colorto the stone, and finally feeling the heat of the day.
The hotel serves a simple breakfast for the sunrise excursion people, which I later followed up with the regular breakfast: buffet of four dishes besides soup, shrimp crackers, tea (omelettes available, but I preferred the local choices.) Rest, trip into town, visit to the museum. Downpour. Watched the splendid video about the temple reliefs on the television set in my room.