Day 3!

Siem Reap Travel Blog

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Yesterday ended up being another VERY long day of travelling! It took us about 3-ish hours to get to the Cambodia/Thailand border, about an hour to cross the border, then another 3-ish hours to get to Siem Reap. On first glance at the Siem Reap shops, it basically looks like cell phone stores and shoe stores dominate around here, which I'm definitely not complaining about! We arrived at Popular Guesthouse around 7, showered etc and then went for dinner as a group to the Guesthouse restaurant/bar. I had a delicious curry dish while our leaders, Jeff Emmet and Kevin Bernardin, talked about our trip, what to expect, etc. Very exciting! Jaeda and I both decided to call it a night after that since we were still probably a bit jet legged and super exhausted from lack of sleep! In bed by 930, ready for the long, but awesome day that was today!

We met in the lobby at 830 and headed out to the temples. We started at Bayon, then went to Ta Prohm, the temple where Tomb Raider was filmed, then went for lunch just outside of Angkor Wat. Lunch was quite an experience! The child beggers here are relentless! One little girl gave me a cute little note saying nice to meet you with a picture of a flower - so obviously I ended up buying some bracelets from her. Some of these kids are just so cute I want to take them home! Some of them are really vicious though! One of the guys in the group, Jeff, lost the note that was given to him, so after he was guilt tripped and went to go find it, the little girl who gave it to him ripped it up and told him to f-off! Jaeda also got told to where to go, and was called a dirty tourist because she mistakenly agreed to buy a book from a little boy, and then didn't want to buy it, and his sister got seriously offended!

After that we went on to Angkor Wat, and spent about 3-4 hours wandering through there. There is a top tier level thats been closed for the last 3 years because a tourist died, but they reopened it and we were able to go explore, so that was pretty awesome! I'm pretty sure they fixed a few things since that person died too, thankfully:)

The temples were all amazing. Its fascinating how intricate so many of the pictures carved into the wall are, and how they tell stories through the artwork. They were very spritual too - at Bayon and at Angkor Wat there were old Khmer people sitting right near a buddhist type shrine, where you would light incense, then they tied red bracelets on you that are supposed to give Good Luck and a long life. They take donations which went to the temples, monks, and things like that. Alyson and I both lit the incense and got bracelets at both places - very cool! We also learned that, in different leaders taking over at the temples, from different Hindu deity's to Buddhists, many of the statues were changed to reflect the current leaders religious beliefs. There are also many heads missing off these statues - some from from Thailand and Laos stealing htem and then selling them as Thai/Laos artifacts, and some from the leaders themselves taking them off.

Once we got back from the temples, we had 45 min to a ready for dinner, then we took tuk-tuks out to dinner at a place that had a buffet and had a show of traditional Cambodian dancing. Tuk tuks are a pretty scary mode of transportation, since there is no '”right of way", and everyone drives within inches of each other! Yikes. The buffet dinner was really good, with tons of variety which was an awesome way to try out some new things. The dancing we saw is the same that is carved on a ton of the walls at the temples, considered to be done by the most beautiful women, and is considered the most beautiful type of dancing.

After dinner we took tuk tuks over to the Angkor Night Market, which was pretty awesome. A lot of repetitive things - sunglasses, clothes, watches... but its fun to walk around! They also have "Fish massages" which are these big tubs people sit around with your feet in, while the fish in them swim around and nibble at your feet. I haven't tried it since it seems kinda gross to me. After the night market, a bunch of us from our group - Alyson, Kevin, Andrea, Lisa, Jeff, other Jeff, Harrison, Kyle, and a bunch more who joined afterwards, went out to Pub Street, to a laid back place called Khmer Idea, and had a few drinks there - actually Alyson and i shared a Whiskey bucket and a vodka bucket. Basically they dump half a mickey (or a full one �" or a 2-6, though I'm not sure what that's dependent on:)) , red bull, and pop of your choice, into a big bucket with a bunch of straws. It is ridiculously cheap - $4.25 for vodka and $3.25 for Whiskey - in US dollars since thats used just as much as the Cambodians Riel is, because it is devalued so much (4000 Riel = 1 Canadian dollar.)

Alyson and I called it a night at around 12:30, and walked back to our guesthouse, where, again, we were hounded by children, one little boy who follows us almost all the way back to our guesthouse. It was really sad!

Everyone in the group seems really cool - really looking forward to the rest of the trip! Its a nice mix because some people are from the 40 day Thailand trip that just ended, some are going on to the 20 day Thailand trip with a bunch of us, and there's some random followers who have been on Free and Easy trips and just sort of follow the groups around and hang out!

Tomorrows agenda is to check out a cool bakery in town, then go to a local hotel pool for some sun!
hdao74 says:
Try not to deal with "solicitors" until you're about to leave a restaurant. If you do, others will see you as an opportunity, and you'll have to deal with them throughout your meal. =)
Posted on: Mar 06, 2010
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