Siem Reap – Angkor Wat

March 20, 2008   

20th – Bleary eyed we awoke at 4am to be picked up at 5am by our remorque (a chariot type trailer that attaches to a motorbike) driver. We sped through the surprisingly busy streets of Siem Reap in the dark and stopped at the entrance to Ankor Wat to purchase a 3 day ticket armed with our passport photos that we were told we needed – not anymore. They take a picture of you looking your 5am best with a camera and it is printed onto your ticket. 50 yards down the road is the first ticket checkpoint you have to show it at every temple.

We hired our man for the 26km long trip around the complex. Starting with sunrise over Angkor Wat which was  shared with a few thousand Korean tourists on a tour group and unfortunately wasn’t a great one due to the cloud cover. Angkor Wat really does blow the mind with its pure scale. Next up was Angkor Thom a walled city that held an estimated 1 million inhabitants. The Bayon at the geographical center was Jessie’s (a girl from Quebec who is being a tourist with us) favorite I have to admit that  the King’s face on each side of the ‘towers’ was amazing but I really liked the second to last one we went to which has elephants at all corners. Annabelle’s favorite was a very simple temple that had a smiley face carved over the entrance, some cute kids (once they stopped trying to sell to us) and a large tree with it’s roots entwined with the entrance archway.

 Something happened to blow my mind – at one of the temples I was about to take a picture of Annabelle when a nice older lady and gentleman were passing and she asked if we would like her husband to take a picture of us together. The gentleman took the picture, she asked where we were from. Annabelle said UK but told her that I am living in San Francisco and her in NZ. We reciprocated with a question of where they were from – they said US – that was obvious! Where in the US – Michigan – where in Michigan – Grosse Pointe. Oh I said I knew Grosse Pointe I knew a family there. Who? Well it turns out the gentleman has dinner monthly with the older gentleman that I know! Pretty amazing coincidence.

So basically a very long and hot day climbing up and down temple complexes and trying to sound polite when we wanted to scream at the various vendors.  The temples are indeed an amazing and awe inspiring site tomorrow we are going to take in the sunset in the complex hopefully we will find one not crawling with tourists!

This evening we walked along bar street and then down one of the alleys that had lots of resturants spilling onto the pavement. We picked a place to eat that was expensive but looked nice. It was the most expensive meal we have had in Asia (besides Hong Kong) and we were all disappointed. The presentation was beautiful and Annabelle took a picture of her Amok (khmer specialty) which is fish in banana leaves.

A land mine victim tugged at Annabelle and my heart strings and we ended up buying two books from him for three times what we could have got them for in the store. We bargained him down to $12 for two but didn’t have the heart to go further. So we will read the books and exchange them. It really is still a good deal 🙂

We than celebrated easter by going to Blue Pumpkin an expensive pastry shop and had an ice cream that is home made at there shop. Very tasty. Next stop the night market where Annabelle told me she wasn’t to by anything and if she looked like she might remind her she had a backpack to carry – so I did – to her annoyance.

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