Monday, January 31, 2011

Preah Vihear Trip in Photos

The bus left at 5am.  We were awake before 4.

Our friends, Yan and Chandy on the bus.
They arranged for us to join their university field trip.

The bus was equipped with a TV monitor
Cambodian Karaoke played the entire trip
All the songs are tear-jerkers

Teacher of Khmer Studies giving trip details
All in Khmer.  I had no clue what he was saying, but it sounded important

Pit stop.  Guys & gals got out to pee in the bushes...
And we got to watch the sunrise.  Awesome

Singing songs on the bus

The class 'entertainer' - plays flute, sings, tells jokes

Huts like these dotted the countryside on the way to the temple
No electricity, no running water.

Nearing the mountain.  Preah Vihear is on top

The bus only goes to the base of the mountain.
We took 4WD trucks up the slope.  15 people per truck
Gordon & I sat in the truck bed.  Very bumpy ride

Also a very STEEP ride!

Near the top is an army encampment
We gave food & treats to the soldiers


First set of stairs up to Preah Vihear
Try to imagine these are about 1000 years old!

Amazing carvings on the lintels

The roof would probably have been made of wood

Lintel carving of 'The Churning of the Sea of Milk'

No Graffiti

But there was lots anyway

An exquisitely carved doorway

The temple was scattered with soldiers

An ancient 'soldier' guarding the temple doorway

Soldiers in one of the doorways

Vaulted ceiling all made of stone
How did they ever do that?

Monks bestowing a blessing on a petitioner
The soft drinks and cigarettes behind belong to them
I didn't know that monks smoked...

This is where the stone for the temple was quarried
right out of the mountain side
Hard to imagine the manpower it took to build these temples...

A soldier stands guard with his gun
The Thais are only a few hundred yards away
and conduct military 'exercises' regularly

A small temple with a tree growing out the top
The root system was all along the insides of the temple

Spetacular view from the mountain top

Most members of the group posing outside the temple
Can you pick out Gordon and me?

At the army base below, there were warnings for landmines 

Gordon with the Colonel
He painted his beard with shoe polish! (honestly)
Cracked me up!

Reservoir at the temple
Dry season, so the water level is low
Soldiers are using this as a water source

Road construction going on up the mountain
Many hairpin turns - quite a hairy ride
Not for sissies....

On the return trip, we stopped at Tamok House
Tamok was a Khmer Rouge commander
Read about it here:

Many intricate murals on the walls of the house
Note the mural is painted right around the wood pillar

Beautiful view from the 2nd floor of Tamok House

The bus trip back was a riot
Singing, drinking beer, karaoke, jokes
All in Khmer.
I had no idea what they were saying, but I laughed at their antics

Singing the 'girl's part' of the song

A good time was had by all!

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