January 3, 2013
We couldn’t bring ourselves to wake up early enough to see the sunrise over Angkor Wat. We had a leisurely breakfast instead and headed to the temples around 9am. Without Seyha’s guidance, we stuck to the main road.
A Japanese NGO team restoring Bayon set up an exhibit with all sorts of information and displays. The team is currently restoring the south library component of the Bayon complex, which should take 5 years. They are using mostly traditional methods, with the assistance of cranes and safety equipment. Originally, restoration methods relied on reinforced concrete and other “modern” technology to support the crumbling and sinking ruins. Now, the foundation is being restored using hand rammed sand to rebuild the core of the library foundation, which is then covered in laterite stone which protects the sand and provides structural strength. The laterite is overlaid with original carved sandstone mixed with sections of newly carved stone where the original stone was missing or destroyed.
We spent part of the afternoon reading in a small, quiet area of a larger temple. Nobody but a guard walked through the area, and that was probably due to our bikes left out front. The area was covered in spider webs and had clearly not been visited much. The webs that the spiders made were fascinating. They made little tubes in the middle of their webs which they would crawl into when I came too close to them.
As we were leaving the temples, something darted across the road. Monkeys! They were being fed by someone with fruit, just hanging out and eating bugs off of each other.
I finally built up enough courage to do a fish pedicure. At first it felt like hundreds of little fingers tickling my feet, but after a few minutes it felt kind of nice. I took my feet out after 20 or so minutes and they felt very exfoliated. It was an fun experience, but I don’t think I would pay top dollar in the states to do it again.