I decided to try the sunrise tour again IF the guide thought I could go up two more levels, so looking at all the reliefs. The hotel staff arranged that, but when he turned up he said he thought we should compromise on just one more level. That's not how it turned out. This time the sun never showed itself: by eleven or so you could see a circle dimly through the mist The heat developed just the same. When we got to the temple the guide enlisted a friend to help me get up to the fourth level, where I sat and rested a bit before persisting in climbing on up rather than circling around to look at the reliefs. He was doubtful, then determined. His friend had gone, so he had to try to help me alone, but once committed he drew on his fund of American popular culture to keep saying, "Obama says, 'Yes we can'!"And we did. Fortunately, becaue the upper levels are completely unlike the lower ones: circles of stupas formed with a lattice-like stone work, each with a seated Buddha inside, the whole crowned by a large central stupa with nothing inside. Austere after the rich detail of the reliefs. (lots of photographs, probably too many, in the "album" here).
The step climbing took a while and attracted some attention from above, which most of the visitors had gotten to long before. I was surprised to look up ans=d see people giving me a thumbs up, and when I got t othe top they were very congratulatory--quite rightly, I thought.
People queried my travelling alone, and I said I couldn't travel with friends because I would hold them back: my guide nicely translated this to tell people that my friends would hold me back, which delighted them so I didn't contradict him, but it's far from the truth. He told tham too that he had quoted Obama. And I said, as I had to him, "but Obama couldn't." At which one man--from the Netherlands, but he'd lived a long time inthe United States--said '"Oh dear, a Republican." I corrected him.
Back for our sunrise breakfast (LONG after the non-existent sunrise), and getting ready to leave.