After lunch of the third day, I had asked my driver Saren to let me get some souvenir shopping done, then I wanted to go to Banteay Srei in the afternoon. He had misunderstood that I wanted to go there on Day three and since Banteay Srei is so much further away than the other temples, Saren thought it would be better to go there on Day four and visit some closer temples after shopping instead. I gave him carte blanche to pick the temples I'd see and he initially suggested Ta Prohm. Since I was already going to take part in a photo tour on Days 5 and 6 and knew that we'd go to Ta Prohm, he took me to three nearby sights that are all close together: Srah Srang, Banteay Kdei and Prasat Kravan.
The pool at my hotel, the Frangipani Villa. Originally, I was going to stay at another hotel (the one the photographer suggested for his tour participants) but I could never get excited about it. At the last minute, I booked the Frangipani Villa instead and never once regretted it. I loved the location and the architecture and design of the hotel. Plus, the staff there were very friendly and that's where I met Saren. It looks like tuk tuk drivers are pretty loyal to the same hotels - in addition to Saren, I saw several other drivers there on multiple occasions
Poolside plumeria flowers - the word frangipani literally means "a perfume prepared from or imitating the odor of the flower of a tropical American tree or shrub, Plumeria rubra" (www.dictionary.com). Now we know why the place is called the Frangipani
Srah Srang - this was the bathing pool of the king. There used to be a small wooden tower in the middle of the pool - if you look closely on the right, you can see some birds resting on the few remnants of the tower. During the rainy season, these remnants are under water
Borramey, whom I met just inside the gate of Banteay Kdei. Her name means "full moon," which her family chose since she was born on a full moon. She currently lives near Banteay Kdei with her grandparents. Apparently, she's the only grandchild living with them since there are 11 children in her family (she's #7. She said #1 is a boy and all of the others are girls). Her grandma picked her specifically since a "borramey" is supposed to be lucky
"Jenga" column - I'm not sure what the red color is from, maybe paint?
The main structure of Banteay Kdei
A now dry pond - it seems the ancient Khmers were fond of symmetrical ponds at their temples, one for men and the other for women. Most of the ones I saw are long dried out
Going back out of Banteay Kdei - looking across the road to Srah Srang
An adorable little girl outside the shopping stalls at Prasat Kravan
Sunset's light on Prasat Kravan's western face
A beautiful tree shades an old foundation
Stay tuned for Day Four!