I woke up not so early today, and ambled out to meet Phirun only after taking a civilized cup of coffee. Today was to be another Temple day, a day spent amongst Apsara and Assei (dancing girls and wise men, respectively)  We headed out, stopping for gas, then leaving Siem Reap first heading east, then north.  The chuff and clang of the city quickly gave way to rice paddies and stilt houses. We stopped first at Pre Rup, lovely in the morning light.

Then it was northeast through the village of Phom Pradak and out to the somewhat more remote site of Banteay Srei.  This temple is home to some of the best carvings to be seen at Angkor, if not the world. No surface is left undecorated. Banteay Srei translates to "Citadel of the Woman" and popular lore has it that a woman must have built it as the carvings are too fine to have been executed by a man. Whatever the case may be, it is a lovely, lovely place and shouldn't be missed, no matter how templed-out one might feel.  Dedicated to Shiva, contruction began in 967.  The temple complex sits under tall trees and there are a few ponds filled with water lily blooms.

Copyright Estate of Anthony Vail Sloan 2009