It's Christmas Eve! We started the day by waking early to see the sun rise over Angkor Wat. Although this was not part of the Viking agenda, they helped us hire tuk tuks for the ride out to the temple. Our driver even provided us with a flashlight!
We spent a long time in a huge crowd waiting for the sun to rise:
We joked that we came the one day the sun did not rise, as we walked back along the causeway. Which segued into talk of the end of the Mayan calendar.
Ran into some of Santa's helpers:
After breakfast we headed again into the jungles of Cambodia. First we went to Bantãy Srĕi, which means Women's Citadel, although the reason for this name is unknown. It is about 32 km/24 miles farther north than Angkor Wat. Bantãy Srĕi is the only building made with a red-pink sandstone and the only one not built by a king. It was consecrated in the year 967 CE. It is almost miniature in scale and has been called the "gem of Angkor."
We started at the gopura (entrance enclosure) of the eastern gate, all that remains of an outer wall:
Beyond the gate:
The first wall had a double gate. As you can see, Bantãy Srĕi is known for its fine pediment carvings:
ng depicting the duel of the monkey princes Vāli and Sugrīva with Rāma intervening:
The central sanctuary has a corbelled brick roof:
In the rear of the temple are three towers:
A youngster waits in a doorway:
estern gate has brothers Sunda and Upasunda fighting over an apsara:
Everywhere, even where we took a break for a "happy room" (as the Program Directors called the restroom), there were signs of mourning for the former King Norodom Sihanouk:
Our Program Director Thien made sure that every family had a turn in the front seat of the motorcoach; now it was our turn:
We see very little statuary:
Can you see a face peeking through the tree?
This tree appears to be a Tetrameles nudiflora.
These trees are so tall!
y be the Diospyros decandra/Gold Apple Tree.
A tree growing from the top of a structure: