Saturday June 16, 2007
Today we had our flight from Phnom Penh, Cambodia to Siem Reap, Cambodia home to the Angkor Wat complex and all those pesky famous temples surrounding Siem Reap. There are something like 168 temples in all, and would probably be quite difficult to do them all in the three days we have, but I will definitely try to visit as many as I can without really missing out on the experience.
We had to be downstairs by 8am, not too bad. Since our earlier flight was cancelled, we were able to get on a later flight which meant more sleep, woohoo. I packed up all my stuff, schlepped it down stairs and to the bus. The bus ride to the airport wasn’t bad at all, the airport was actually larger than most of the ones we had been too. Ho Chi Minh City’s airport was quite large, but this airport just had a bunch of airlines fly here because of the Angkor Wat complex being so close. We had to board the plane from the tarmac and again had to take a propeller plane. That would be two on this trip, two more than I had taken in about 13 years, since I was ten in Tennessee. The plane ride would only be 45 minutes and went fairly quickly. I made Elizabeth take a few quick photos of me on the tarmac and in front of the plane and we were off. Lucky for me (of course) I got an aisle seat and was all straight. I was sitting next to Penny, who remained fairly quiet during the flight. I couldn’t tell if that was just her personality to be quiet like that, or was just taking sides in the ongoing scuffle between Deb and me? I think it is probably the latter of the two.
When we landed we landed and we at another teeny tiny airport. This airport was so small that there was no baggage conveyor belt. It was simple a few guys actually delivering the luggage and putting them on this metal platform! It was really cool. But I was too lazy to take a photo and I think Morrie got one. My plan is to just upload all of his photos from the trip on to my external hard drive and should be set with photos from the trip. I think my total has now eclipsed the 7000 picture mark and after these next three days, if I don’t take 2000 photos or more I will be upset with myself.
When we arrived at the hotel we had a bit of a break. People went swimming I relaxed and walked around a bit. The hotel had a pool which was kept secret from us by Andy until last night. People were excited to have a chance to swim, but personally I was here to see some temples. At around 12pm I rounded up the troops and said lets go see some temples! People wanted to stay in the pool but kept at it and got people to go. While I wanted to initially go by myself, going with the group would be easier and cheaper when hiring the tuk tuk. The group of temples we were off to see were the Roulos Group. They were considered “major ruins,” but not “must sees,” which is the highest rating given in the local Siem Reap guidebook. The temples were about 12 kilometers away from our hotel so we had to bargain with the two tuk tuk driver. Eventually we agreed on 2 dollars each back and forth and to all three temples and back home. Not too bad, Andy had done well for us. The temples were really cool. These group of temples were one of the oldest, dating back to about the 8th or 9th century! I ended up taking about 300 photos just at these three temples and they were not even the big ones! I expect to take loads more and will fire up the batteries tonight and download the photos to make sure I am good to go for the big day tomorrow. Tomorrow we are off at 430am to see sunrise over the famous Angkor Wat Complex and temples. It should be good. Who knows at this point, because right now it is lighting and thundering out? I hope it just passes and is not raining tomorrow. I don’t care if it is sunny or not, just not raining would be nice. I have waited the whole month for this part of the trip and too rain at the end would really suck considering the pictures would be crap and it would be hard to photograph with your camera getting soaked.
After seeing the temples, Meredith, Elizabeth and I bought some crap from the local girls selling. I bought a scarf which I am using as a head wrap the next few days to absorb the sweat. It is a really thin synthetic fibered scarf, so it should be fine. I also bought this bag for someone in the family (not to be revealed till I return home). We told the driver we wanted food and negotiated a price to do so. It would add an extra dollar for him to take us to get food and wait. A dollar each that is. We ended up eating at a really good Indian restaurant that made north Indian style food. Basically the guy told us that North Indian food is different from South Indian in that it is no where near as spicy as the South Indians eat there food. Also some of the local dishes are cooked differently. The food was fantastic but did take a while to come. I was thirsty and hungry and again was getting a bit cranky.
From the restaurant located in the town of Siem Reap we had the tuk tuk driver take us back to the hotel, I changed in to my boxers to go for a swim (I left my bathing suit in Saigon), and enjoyed the pool. The temperature of the water was like bath water and really did not cool me down, but I have been on a bit of a swimming binge lately and have really enjoyed it the whole trip. Also it helps working on my tan!
In the evening the rest of the gang went off to see some concert put on at a children’s hospital. I really was not interested in being put in a really awkward situation of having to donate or buy something I really didn’t want, and then feel guilty about not buying it, so I chose not to go. Instead I just chilled out in the hotel room, with my air conditioning of full blast, writing in my blog. At around 745 I attempted to use the hotel computers downstairs to try and upload my blog, but that didn’t work so I took my hard drive and my bag and walked down the road about 1 kilometer to meet the gang for dinner after their concert. I arrived a little early and had to just sit outside with lots of local young adults till eventually I went in to the hospital and waited for the gang there. I had thought Andy said it was over at 815 but I think she said 830PM so I had a little while to wait. I was getting tired of waiting but just as I was about to throw in the towel and walk back to the hotel they appeared and it was all good. From the hospital we got a minibus to the restaurant in the center of Siem Rep town and had some food. I just ordered some small appetizer type dishes and an Asahi Super Dry in the bottle; hmmm lovely.
So here I am up to date finally with the blog. Sorry for the delay but as you can see I have been