On my own - ignoring all the advice that lone women are ever given travelling!
Angkor Travel Blog› entry 8 of 22 › view all entries
September 5th, 2009 – by: sarahelaine
The first temple we went to was Bang Melea. Bang Melea is incredibly atmospheric, and exactly the sort of place they would never let you into in the UK in case you twisted your ankle. Missing Iain a little, I set off up the path into the ruins, past a happy looking cow and a sign that stated that the mine fields had been cleared. I don't think the cow could read, so don't think I am linking the two things. A state tour guide showed me round the ruins, and I was too thick to cotton on he wanted a tip until he had walked over to some richer, less thick looking travellers and it was too late to tip him.
Of course, at the time, I was not thinking that. As the tuk tuk driver got more fuel, stopped to ask for directions several times, and bumped along the dirt tracks, I was feeling increasingly tuktuk sick and bruised (I'm sure it was worse for him) and worse, eyeing the storm clouds warily. If the storm had broken on the dirt roads, I couldn't imagine getting it free and was thinking how on earth we would get home. It was an eormous relief when we got to Kbal Sprean.
Kbal Sprean may be my favourite of the temples.
The rock carvings are mostly of lingas and yoni, which were meant to ensure fertility. You have to use a little imagination when you look at them, but this might be the most symbolic river I've ever been to. there were also a great number of sleeping Gods. This time I was smart enough to cotton on that the guide wanted a tip, and in return he told me which of the carvings were sleeping Shivas (the world will end when he wakes up), which one was Hannuman - and that one was so wrn that I wouldn't have seen it on my own - and which ones were just toads and crocodiles.
I walked back down the path on my own. I watched some children playing in the falls, and washed some of the sweat off my head. I was also starting to get a bit burned, despite my sunblock. I thought, if there was anything actually fatal in the water, there probably wouldn't be quite so many local tourists paddling about. Now, this may not be a wise decision, especially as by now one of the bites on my arm was itching like fury and starting to swell. I certainbly wouldn't have drunk the water, but paddling seemed fine. So having eaten breakfast in a local garden, including offal that had only really been put in hot water, I was alone in a jungle paddling in water that I didn't know was safe. If I have a daughter and she does that I will have hysterics.
Back down the moutnain, I grabbed some food and the skies opened. the pictures here show a cow sheltering. It was that bad.
Once it had dried off we went to Bantea Srea. I was very glad to be back on tarmac roads, after that rain, but now it started getting hot so it might not have mattered. Bantea Srea is gorgeous. It's actually tiny by the standards of Angkor, but has the most incredible carvings. I spent a very long time admising the demons and Garudas, the monkeys having battles, and a battle scene with some elephants that looked frankly more amused than anything else. It seems to have survived more intact than many ofthe other temples, and the pink stone was stunning.
I was horribly overheated by this point, but deeply reluctant to slow down long enough to buy a bottle of water because I was getting overwhelemed with all the people trying to sell me things.
I was glad to get back to the hotel to tell iain about my adventures. He was still asleep, and felt delicate enough that night to want to go for western food in a nearby diner rather than into town as we'd planned.
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