Like Matt mentioned, one of my favorite things I saw yesterday were the wall carvings depicting everyday life. I can’t remember if I read it on an info board or just overheard a guide mention it (on occasion we stand within earshot of other people’s guides for some brief tidbits of information), but somehow I found out that there was a depiction of women BBQing fish at Bayon, and I was determined to find it. When I did find it, not only was there a sense of accomplishment, but also delight to discover that the way they BBQed those fish so long ago looks the same as it does today! North of the Bayon temple there is a long wall with elephants carved over it, the Terrace of Elephants. This had interesting carvings, plus it was nice to walk along something rather than climb up and down for a change. We saw a snake slither from the grass up along the rock wall. It was amazing to watch, both of us wondered, “how is it doing that?” Something such as a snake moving along rock does not sound amazing, but to see it in front of you move over a surface which it does not seem to actually touch is a marvel. No wonder it is written in the book of Proverbs: There are three things that are too amazing for me…the way of a snake on a rock (30:18).
snake on stone
Matt at Angkor Wat
Reliefs of people BBQing animals and selling sticks of meat- just like today!
checking out the reliefs on the Terrace of Elephants
yup, that’s Matt
Overall yesterday felt a little bit more relaxed than the first day, as we knew whatever we didn’t have time for we could see today—a day for which we had no set plans. Matt and I took our time meandering through some of the structures, and others we just took a quick look at. However, despite not being rushed as we completed the “mini tour” of the more centrally located structures, I found myself growing weary of seeing yet another temple. So today we took it easy, and after some failed attempts at visiting a couple museums (one was way more expensive than it was worth, though the lobby was pretty impressive, and the other had moved to another location), we spent most of the day resting from the previous two days and getting some “errands” done on-line. The day ended perfectly as we casually decided to go hangout at our favorite temple before the sun went down. Perhaps on one of your own travels you have experienced the “Well, as long as we’re here we should…” syndrome. But sometimes that isn’t fun. Our final day of ticket-validity we felt no pressure to go see more ruins. And it was great. After two full days of pushing through the ruins (it was a little tiring but definitely enjoyable), a mellow revisit to Preah Khan was a perfect way to cap off our time at the temples of Angkor.
My concluding thoughts on the temples of Angkor is that: yes, it really is one of those places you should see, if you’re into that type of thing (ruins, that is…you know, impressively large structures made from oafishly big rocks, these ones with intricate carvings) and Angkor Wat is really really huge. Angkor was one of the few places that I actually was looking forward to exploring before the trip started (many of the other places I only learned about after starting the trip), and it has definitely met all my expectations for greatness.