The Aspara dancers were indeed beautiful. At the end of the show we went home by tuk-tuk, the young driver (Bol) responding with the Cambodian standard of "no problem" when we asked if he would be OK for a 5:00am start the next day. This allowed us to go went back to Angkor Wat at sunrise for a closer look. Although it was a bit ridiculous with about a thousand other tourists, camera flashes, noise, silly poses and the like, you could see how it could be a serene and spiritually uplifting experience. The sun rises directly behind the temples and makes an impressive sight.
After some breakfast and some more bartering, we checked out the relief carvings in more detail and then visited Ta Phrom which is the famous site where the ruins have fichus growing over, through and from them. Later in the day, we went and had lunch at Bol's mum's food stall near the Bayon and met various members of the extended family. Bol's mum is a great cook.
The people here are friendly, humorous, graceful and endearing. It makes you wonder what in the hell was going on when they were being murdered for a decade or so. Sonia remarked that there didn't seem to be many older people. There seems to a generation that is eerily absent.
Today we ventured back onto the Cambodian roads for a bus ride down to Phnom Penh. The trip started with us all being given a complimentary cake, bottle of water, napkin and toothpick. I think that all British B&B operators should be sent on three weeks compulsory work experience over here to learn the art of customer service. the trip down was fascinating with many sights of rice fields, oxen, villages and people going about their daily business. The best Cambodian roads have a lane on the right that is for people heading forward and one on the left for people heading the other way (like continental Europe). It is, however, far more complex than that.
The slowest vehicle always has the far right and then the others overtake on the left (well, most of the time). This means that the hand-held tractor towing firewood overtakes the ox-cart carrying rice (much the same as shown on the walls 1000 years ago). The tuk-tuk overtakes the tractor and the scooter carrying two adults, three kids and a pig overtakes the tuk-tuk. The buses and cars tend to overtake all of these. This all works quite well except when the oxcart, the tractor, the tuk-tuk , the scooter and the bus all happen to need the single lane at the same time. This is further complicated when the overtaking car meets a large bus or truck coming in the opposite direction. I don't know what happens then as I had my eyes closed.
The horn seems to play an important role in all of this. A small beep to let the others know you are there, a larger one for the possibility of collision and a really large one often. Fortunately, the bus had a loud horn that was used often.
We are now safely in Phnom Penh which also seems to be a fascinating place. I will close this entry now as the letters on this keyboard are not really visible and I am starting to forget where the keys might be. Merry Christmas.