Very early start - our Tuk-Tuk driver picked us up at 4:45 to see the stunning sunrise at Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is a huge complex of temples and other buildings covering an area of 3,000 square km. It dates back to 9th century and was modified and added to up until the 15th Century. It has swung between the Hindu and Buddhist religions, which is evident from the beheading of many statues. Around its peak Angkor had a population of 1 million, when London's was 50,000.
It was beautifully cool at that time of the morning, 25 degrees. We waited eagerly for the sunrise, the sky was clear and it was going to be a good one. The Japanese were in force taking their usual photos 1) balancing the 'wonder' on their hand 2) smiling, head tilted doing a peace sign in front of the 'wonder'. After a 30 minute wait it became evident that the sun was going to rise some distance away from behind Angkor Wat. We laughed at this and moved on to get some other shots as did the 170 or so other bewildered tourists. I think it rises behind it at other times of the year - never mind. Paul took over 300 photos just of AW. The hindu reliefs were the most distinctive part of the temple. Next we tuk the tuk-tuk to Ta Prohm, this was amazing, a partially renovated temple, the other part having been left to show how the jungle has engulfed it. Have a look at Paul's stunning photos of this. The next complex was Angkor Thom with its multi-faced towers. Another temple of note was Preah Khan with its vaulted corridors looking like they went on forever. There were many children around throughout the day selling trinkets to tourists, a seven year old selling flutes haggling masterfully with the Japanese, and two girls about four years of age selling postcards.Their angle was to count to 10 in Cambodian, then in English and say "10 postcards for $1". Paul gave them his business card, he could do with good sales staff. The cooling breeze was welcome with every tuk-tuk ride between temples as the temperature soared to 35 degrees. Just to reassure Jan that we are not actually doing this blog from home - downloading pictures from the internet - we have included a photo of us outside our hotel. Just to add an additional tempter, we had a blow-out this evening at the India Gate restaurant, fried paneer (Indian cheese), tandoori poppadom,garlic naans, dahl, curried chicken, rice and vegetables, Paul also had a platter of tandoori meats. Followed by a mango lassi and a Massala tea. A day off from templing tomorrow...