Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Its 6.30am and the early morning sun shows our safari tent and last night's fire
Beautiful early morning light on the moat and trees surrounding Prasat Samnang Tasok
In a precursor to my pictures from my recent visit to Banteay Chhmar, I need to provide some context. I was travelling with my brother Tim and two drivers in a 4WD and after leaving Anlong Veng, which I've covered in previous postings, we arrived at our camp-site at 6pm. The site wasn't inside the main body of the central complex, instead it was right next to the moat surrounding one of the nine satellite temples that orbit around Banteay Chhmar. The temple name was Prasat Samnang Tasok. Our crew had arrived before us and set up the camp. A large safari-style double tent for Tim and myself, with a shower and toilet tent nearby. The rest of the crew would sleep in small individual tents closeby but out of sight. We'd called into the market near the main temple for some water supplies before we settled down onto our comfy beds to discuss the day's adventures, before a nice warm shower and a dinner that would not have been out of place at a city restaurant. Three excellent courses, followed by dessert, eaten in a clearing next to a water-filled moat surrounding a 12th century gateway - does it get better than this? After chewing the fat for a couple more hours, we switched off the fans and fell asleep to the occasional howl in the distance - wild dog, monkey, tiger, we didn't know. Up and showered by 7am, it was time for another food extravaganza, this time a hearty breakfast to set us up for the rest of the day. Then it was time to explore. Prasat Samnang Tasok was less than fifty metres away and it was a temple that I'd experienced before. More later.