Sunday, 18 September – Siem Reap/Angkor Thom

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At Angkor Thom this morning we entered through one of the many gates, across a causeway with a depiction of the churning of the Milk Sea. Many of the statues have been restored, after losing their heads. At the gate itself there are elephants with trunks to the ground. 

We passed several smaller shrines, but only went into the Bayon. Climbing the steep narrow stairs was a bit of a challenge but once up there we were rewarded by many many Buddhas smiling down from the towers. 
This temple was built specifically to be used by both Buddhists and Hindus since both religions were popular when it was built, about 800-900 years ago. We all agreed that it is a favourite among those we’ve seen. 

As we left, we met a marriage couple in traditional dress and they allowed us to take their photos. We were happy to get back to the cool bus since the heat & humidity were really getting us down. We passed many interesting sites along the road, all part of Angkor Thom, and ancient city 9 sq km in size. 
Monkeys frolicked along the roadsides; vendors sold food and souvenirs; drivers and others dozed in hammocks. On the way back to the hotel, the other 7 ladies asked to be dropped off for shopping, while Larry, Brock and I returned to the hotel to put our feet up and enjoy convenience store beer ($.79 a can). Midafternoon found four of us gathered at the spa for quite wonderful massages. We were treated very well – given tea before and tea, yogurt, fruit and small cakes afterward. Of course, I wanted to use the last of our Cambodian currency, and didn’t have enough to cover the whole bill. There was great confusion over the conversion and the adding and subtracting between the two currencies, and I’m pretty sure the final result was wildly wrong, but was just glad to see the last of those bills leave my hands. I guess I should have emulated the more conscientious members of the group and carried a calculator to do my own conversions. They usually had to negotiate corrections. I am perhaps too trusting, but it does usually seem to be honest error. Not even the locals “get” Cambodian money! While we waited for our bus, everyone shared their adventures, including Tuk-tuk rides (fun, cheap, convenient); Shopping (great bargains at the market and amazing scarves at the bigger stores); and of course our massages (bliss). Dinner was at a local Cambodian/French restaurant. 
They were very careful of our food, to make sure none of us were served something to which we are allergic or sensitive. It was delicious and fun. We were all ready to crash by the time we got back to the hotel.
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