May 21, 2006 - Sunday
Around Nang Rong
Prasat Hin Khao Phanom Rung Historical Park (Phanom Rung)

An easy day - slept in a bit, stayed in and worked on some photos [note: while it was nice outside], headed over to Phanom Rung Historical Park - and got rained on for the trip back. After that I took a nap while my clothes dried with the fan [and there was no rain for the rest of the day....].

Phanom Rung is a restored temple complex. The ruins were photographed, mapped, documented and then the place was disassembled. A stronger foundation was added and the pieces moved back into their proper places. Some job. It took 17 years.

I "met" three different ladies here - all with a varying degree of interest and enjoyment. The first, an older lady, came walking up to a doorway that I was sitting in. I was getting ready to head down / out and was waiting for the rain shower to stop or to let up. This was not the main entrance and was more of an odd side-door location - but on the front face nonetheless. She started talking and I could only shrug my shoulders and try to say "I don't understand". She started to count on her fingers - 1 through 10 is what I got out of it - but I'm not sure that was her intent. She stayed for maybe 3 minutes chatting most of the time. I couldn't tell if she was drunk or if this was just the way she was. She even wanted to give me a hug - no harm there. Eventually she went walking back into the structure and I figured - it wasn't raining hard enough to stay put. Odd.

Walking partway down was another lady - one that had a little boy with her. We approached one set of steps at the same time (I'm to feel this was of her timing). She asked where I was from in broken English and I said my typical first response "Chicago". She held out her hand at the steps and I obliged in the assist down - except after the last step she wished to keep holding my hand. This isn't going in the right direction but she semed to be having fun with it. She asked if I came via automobile and I said, no, motorbike - figuring that would end the issue. She seemed to think the three of us could fit just fine on a motorbike (and by the standards of the area it would be perfectly fine - but my intent is that only one of us would be on it).

I then motioned that I wanted (or should it be needed!) to stop and take some photos of the complex. With that she kept walking and I became thankful. I stopped for a few photos - I don't think any of them made the page as they weren't any good but it was a reasonable diversion.

On the promenade there was another group taking photos - a guy with a camera and two gals - one sitting to the side, one in the middle of the walkway. I walked to the side, to get out of their way, and then offered to take a photo of all three of them together. This is where it got a twist - the seated gal didn't want to get up for a photo and the guy didn't care to be in a photo either - but he motioned for me to get into the photo with the one gal. Hmmm - well, OK. They were all giggling and one photo with their camera and one with mine. I was off again.

Off again, that is, until I "catch up" to the gal with the kid. She "waited" for me. Great. I quietly shook my head "no" and gently kept walking. I was nearing the bike and had put enough space between us so that I could be gone before they arrived at the entrance area. No need to dally and put in ear plugs or fasten the helmet (maybe this is why so many ride about w/o fastening the helmet strap???). With that I was moving - only to hear some words being spoken. No yelling but I think it was her talking to me - I didn't look and easily motored out of the parking lot.

A mile or so away - heading down what might have been a "back road" to the place - I figured it would be good to stop, fasten the helmet and put on the rain coat. It was then I noticed my wallet was missing. Crap! Who could it have been? Most likely would be the girl in the photo. Maybe the little kid with the other gal? Perhaps the old lady was giving me a warning - stay away from them, they are trouble and will keep you from your goal of riding about my wonderful countryside. Just kidding - the wallet's fine. They would have been good theft opportunities to which I didn't give it the thought until I started to type this up. I have a general sense that theft issues are minimal - maybe I'm ignorant. Hopefully I won't be proven so. If the wallet were to be stolen it would not be the end of the trip. Now, if the passport or airplane tickets were - that might be a bit of a hassle.

The way back was rainy. I had the rain jacket on but not the pants - I was wearing jeans. They're soaked.  The upside is that since I headed out the back road I really appreciated having the GPS. With the breadcrumb trail listed on the screen (no roads though) I knew where I wanted to go and that I was headed in the wrong direction. I figured, from the trip odomenter on the gps, that I had about 100 kilometers before hitting reserve on the bike so fuel was OK. I would just wander my way taking whatever road ended up moving me back to the north and highway 24. Once on 24 I could just take a left/west and get back to the hotel. Done deal.

Petrol / Fuel / Gas stations are frequent enough. The Frog Trog rain jacket isn't working. My cotton t-shirt was wet on the front when I arrived back at the hotel. It works decently when over the leather jacket - maybe there's an interaction with the cotton t-shirt? If I see a conventional rain poncho for sale I might pick one of those up.

Back at the hotel I snoozed a bit, worked on the laptop a bit, and scanned the maps and LP book a bit looking for a next stop: Roi Et, Sakon Nahkon, or Mukdahan. Not sure where I'll end as I still wish to address the chain / sound issue either here in town or in the next large town (Buri Ram).

Nong Rung and the temple is in the top right circle. Bangkok, for relation, circled to the left.

The little jutting line in the bottom left of this is where I was walking about the temple - GPS in my shirt pocket.

Cattle on the roadway.

The camera, when turning on, does not always open the lens covers. When that happens I get photos like this - looking through the two partailly opened covers. I can either gently nudge them and they will open or a suble jolt to the camera will pop them open. One of the issues....

A 3-D map showing the hill (old volcano) that the temple is built on.

There was a nice visitors center before entering the complex. I walked about and snapped some pix.

A representation.

A model of the complex. I would be starting at the series of steps in the bottom right, walking up the promenade, climbing more steps to the temple area. The building area that is "hanging off" to the right side of this photo I did not visit.

The first set of steps. These are the ones at the far right in the overview photo above.

At the top of those we can see the promenade.

A few steps at the other end.

I found that by walking up/down at an angle they were easier to process.

Looking back at the entrance area

Just a few steps to process

And at the top. Three of the four "ponds" visible.

Looking out over the flat lands - looks like some rain out there.

A couple ponds.

The "library" is partially visible to the right. I will walk through the doorway at the center of the photo and sit at the other exit awaiting for rain to stop - and spending time with the old lady.

Looking through the main portion of the temple.

One building that was not reconstructed.

Signs of reconstruction. Much of the interior roof structure was concrete.

This was a back hole to the naked eye. It is looking straight up the main portion of the temple.

Yea, Jim at work again. Do we have a photo of the intricate stone carvings. No - we have a photo of the "lightning rod" grounding cables. The grounding cables I've seen on some buildings is a 'hollow' mesh cable. Not here. It doesn't even connect to a grounding rod - just hanging about a foot above the ground. Perhaps that's "good enough"?

And picking up the grounding cables - conventional four conductor electrical wiring cable.

Ok, back to our regularly scheduled topic

This was another "flash used as a flash-light" photo. Standing in one portion of the temple I could just barely make out that there were "doors" and possibly "rooms" a few feet away. I could see a spec of light a distance away. It was too black for my eyes though - until I took a flash photo and reviewed it.

This shot shows where the black hole went to - down that wing.

The "Library"

Re-assembly markings remain on some of the stones

A little walked down hallway. I entered on the photo's immediate right and will sit in the doorway immediately to the left - waiting for the rain to let up..


The photo op. "Hi, my name is Jim - nice to meet you."
If you wish, contact me
blue and white "website card" in her left hand.

A shot showing some rain. Notice the horizon extends farther back in the right portion of the photo - the left portion is shrouded in rain.

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