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Day Four

Banteay Srei, Eastern Mebon

sunny 72 °F

After lunch on day four (I spent most mornings trying to upload pictures to the website - look how well that turned out! I've been back home for a week now and I'm still working on day four), Saren took me to Banteay Srei. I knew it was supposed to be pretty far out, but I had no idea that I'd be riding in a tuk tuk for about an hour and a half! By the time we got to Banteay Srei, the back of my skirt was soaked through. Fortunately, it dried pretty quickly. Banteay Srei is a bit unique among Cambodia's temples because it was the only major temple not built by a monarch. It was also mostly built of sandstone, so it was a good choice of material to showcase such intricate carvings.

Upon getting to the site, the first place I hit was the bathroom (I was still drinking tons of water each day, after having learned my lesson on day one) and then the temple. Even though it's the only thing to see there, it was a bit confusing figuring out which pathway to take to the temple. Normally I wouldn't have worried so much about that since I had plenty of time, but because the pathway was long and mostly unshaded, I didn't want to spend too much time directly under the sun. Fortunately, I found that I had headed in the right direction, so it only took a few minutes to get to the temple site itself.

Banteay Srei

Banteay Srei

I've appreciated the detailed carvings on the temples in Cambodia, but the carvings here are even more intricate than the others.  People guess that only women's delicate hands could produce such beauty, so this temple is known as "Citadel of the Women"

I've appreciated the detailed carvings on the temples in Cambodia, but the carvings here are even more intricate than the others. People guess that only women's delicate hands could produce such beauty, so this temple is known as "Citadel of the Women"

More incredible details above a doorway

More incredible details above a doorway

Just beautiful!  There were signs everywhere reminding people not to touch the carvings here.  I'm not sure what the sign on the left is for

Just beautiful! There were signs everywhere reminding people not to touch the carvings here. I'm not sure what the sign on the left is for

Four local kids who ran up to me asking for candy - sadly, I had none to give them

Four local kids who ran up to me asking for candy - sadly, I had none to give them

A partially filled moat

A partially filled moat

Still in great shape for a 1045 year-old temple

Still in great shape for a 1045 year-old temple

Although many of the walls of the temple are gone (as well as the head of the animal in the foreground), what's left is still breathtaking

Although many of the walls of the temple are gone (as well as the head of the animal in the foreground), what's left is still breathtaking

I like all the different colors here

I like all the different colors here

Like at Chau Say Thevoda, here's another door that's not a door

Like at Chau Say Thevoda, here's another door that's not a door

Finally, a picture showing the beautiful sky

Finally, a picture showing the beautiful sky

Guardians at the central "door"

Guardians at the central "door"

A last look at Banteay Srei

A last look at Banteay Srei

I probably stayed at the temple for about an hour, then headed back to Saren's tuk tuk and went to Eastern Mebon, which we had passed on the way to Banteay Srei. I wasn't incredibly impressed with Eastern Mebon, but I suppose most of the temples would be a letdown after seeing the beauty of Banteay Srei.

Eastern Mebon

Eastern Mebon

Another tower I did not climb.  Interestingly, at the base of these steps, a policeman tried to sell me his badge as a souvenir.  One of my colleagues said the same thing happened to him when he visited Cambodia years ago.  I wonder how many people actually take them up on their offer?  Maybe I should have gotten it after all, it could have been a cool gift for my dad

Another tower I did not climb. Interestingly, at the base of these steps, a policeman tried to sell me his badge as a souvenir. One of my colleagues said the same thing happened to him when he visited Cambodia years ago. I wonder how many people actually take them up on their offer? Maybe I should have gotten it after all, it could have been a cool gift for my dad

It was pretty much the same scenery here, no matter which way you looked

It was pretty much the same scenery here, no matter which way you looked

Protectors at the highest point.  The temples in Cambodia mostly consist of three levels.  The bottom level signifies hell, the middle is earth and the top is heaven.  I think I only made it to heaven in one of the temples I visited (Bayon)

Protectors at the highest point. The temples in Cambodia mostly consist of three levels. The bottom level signifies hell, the middle is earth and the top is heaven. I think I only made it to heaven in one of the temples I visited (Bayon)

This was one of the towers on the first (or second?) level

This was one of the towers on the first (or second?) level

There were quite a few of these wildflowers here

There were quite a few of these wildflowers here

After dinner at a Mexican place in town, I headed straight for the swimming pool at the hotel. I love to swim and only got to take advantage of the pool once. I probably would have tried to swim again on Day 5, but for reasons which will become obvious later, (day six) I didn't. Stay tuned for day five!

Posted by feiheli 08:02 Archived in China

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