So much love..
Siem Reap Travel Blog› entry 13 of 22 › view all entries
I am loving this place. It's so different from PP.. more laid back, casual.. relaxing almost. I reckon I could buy a holiday home here and happily come several times a year! It feels safe, welcoming and friendly and I feel almost completely at home here..
We started our week pass at Angkor yesterday and it is SO FREAKING AMAZING!
we, of course, began at Angkor Wat, the best known of all the structures, and the largest religious structure in the world. Built in AD 112-52 by Suryavarman II. Just spectacular and in such good nick too.. You can see the amount of painstaking work that has gone into its preservation.. I'm still a bit bummed that the Greater Angkor Project (GAP) has been delayed by a few months, as I won't be able to go in June/July. Kind of sucks.. It would have been such an amazing career opportunity for me to have done archaeological work at Angkor, but I guess ancient monument preservation isn't a big calling in Australian archaeology. oh well.
anyhow, I digress.
we then moved onto Angkor Thom and the Bayon, a fortified city built by Jayavarman VII from 1181-218AD, and spent most of the afternoon there.. Then onto Ta Keo, a beautiful but undecorated and unfinished temple of Jayavarman V (968-1001). Then back to the hotel for a swim and rest as James and Whit were very tired. I guess they don't really have the same kind of stamina as my parents and I do when it comes to travelling, so I went back with them while mum and dad stayed longer at Angkor. So while Whit and James napped I went back to the markets and picked up some lunchy supplies for today.. I think I often forget how difficult it is to travel with other people, but I'm hoping that they'll be able to pick up the pace easier later on in the trip. I've already done two half days and I'm itching to do more than just sitting in the hotel pool for half a day.
Today we visited Ta Prohm, with it's jungle covered ruins.. nice, but COMPLETELY overrun by tourists.. The big Japanese and Taiwanese tour groups in particular. They are everywhere and so damn inconsiderate towards other tourists. They have no qualms in elbowing or pushing their way past you so that they don't lose their group, which really is a non-issue anyway as they're all wearing ridiculously ugly hats or umbrllas or coats that distinguish one group from the next anyway. You'll be taking aphotograph of your friend and they will push your friend aside so that they can have their photos done first. It's so infuriating!
Sorry for ranting. They just really really tested my tolerance today.. I did kind of get my own back by attempting wherever possibly to push back just as hard if they pushed me, or deliberately getting in the way of their photographs by walking through their frame if they just ruined my photo. I know it's petty and juvenile, but quite frankly, I don't give a damn. They can get as good as they give as far as I'm concerned.
We were told by one of the local Khmer fruit sellers that we should go back during lunchtime later on in the week as it's completely empty of tour groups then.. I got the impression that the locals aren't impressed by the big tour groups either.
Anyhow.. then onto Bantey Kdei (SO much quieter) and Prasat Kravan. Finished early again, but I managed to convince Whit and James to come with me on a tuktuk tour of rural Siem Reap.. It really is such a beautiful country, so otherworldly in its charm, the people are so wonderfully friendly that you just cna't help but love the place!
These past few evenings we've been going to this little place on Bar St after dinner. It's across from a game resteraunt (I can't remember what it's called), but it's so charming and has the best and cheapest alcohol around! :D $3 cocktails, with a 3 for the price of 2 happy hour going from 2pm to midnight! We met a girl from Brisbane the other night when we were there, called Tash, and we've all resolved to try every single cocktail on the very extensive two page menu during our time in SR. Last night between the four of us we polished off 16 cocktails. It might not sound like a huge amount, but the bar-lady (A really nice Chinese-Khmer lady) is very heavy-handed with her shots, so each cocktail is a good 2-3 times stronger than anything you'll get in Aus!
Needless to say, it was VERY entertaining trying to get back to our hotel at midnight last night!
more Angkor tomorrow!