Well sta couldn't help inthe way i had ...
Trip Start Jun 03, 2001
63Trip End ??? ??, 2002
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I decided to push ahead and see the one sight i had promised myself i would visit in S.E.Asia, Angkor Wat in Cambodia. I had read so much about it and had to go. The price for a bus trip was a very reasonable 150bht (just over two quid) and i checked this price a few times to make sure he had not left a few zeros off the end. Convinced, I left to pack and had an early night.
Next day i made the early rise for the bus to the border at 6.30 only to wait til 8.30 for it to leave, this was quite lucky as it turned out because i had managed to leave my travellers cheques in the hotel with my large bag
The trip from the border to Siem Reap was a different story, we got through customs ok and the walk to the minibus was interuppted only by a little kid trying to steal my camera from my bag as i walked with it ove my shoulder. The first taste of Cambodia was not good. The roads told a new tale, how to describe them is not an easy task, but try to imagine this...the question, "what side of the road do they drive in that country?" is usually an easy one to answer wherever you are in the world, here though the answer is "Both, depending on where the oncomming traffic is" We also noted the condition of the potholes, which started out as the size of a dinner plate and progressed quickly through the size of dustbin lids, to the size of the dustbins themselves. A german guy in ouy van was ill aswell so his repeated groans from the back made it a hard journey. We stopped a few times for him and then arrived at a bridge that had collapsed minutes earlier and we had to detour through a field. at the other ebd of the field we found the re-entry to the "road" blocked by a truck carring barrels of rubber
four hours later and my internal organs rearranged inside my body, and a few dents in the roof courtesy of my head, we arrived at the drivers brothers guest house! normally backpackers would run a mile from such obvious tactics but given the journey we had just taken, they had the upper hand so we stayed. $5 a night was not bad and it was very clean. he saidit was a new guest house open a few months hence not in the Lonely planet book, the photo's on the restaraunt wall told a different story as they were of New Year 2000??? Anyway, Angkor Wat... I started out later than i wanted and bargained that on my budget i could not afford a motorbike driver at $20 a day s i haggled for a lift there and back for $3. He chattd on the way and after a detour to change money (they work in $us more than their own Reil???) i decided he had earned a $1 tip if i got home safe. when we arrived he had talked me into him being my guide for the day and all for $2 extra. so from $20 it was now $5. The entrance fee was an extortinate $20, because not a penny goes to the preservation of the temples and all to the poloticians and an Oil company.
I paid and arranged to meet the guide outside Angkor Wat at 2pm
It takes a bitof getting used to being in a place like that, you can't quite believe you are there and it takes a while to start appreciating it. I wandered around for ages staring at the carvings drawins and Buddah shrines and realised it was around 42 degrees and i had already drunk 2l of water. I sat for a bit watching the kids dupe tourists into a tour of the "real temples" and watched fat americans nearly pass out in the heat. and i finally got a good feeling about the place. It was from the 9th century after all and the character had to shine through eventually. I walked through it all again and found little rooms where Buddist Monks were paying and getting their fortune told it seemed by a kind of tarot reader who placed cards above their heads and made them insert a pind into the oile and read from where they had chosen.
I met the driver again and bought water litre number three, and headed to Ta Prohm. This turned out to b the best of the day. It was in ruins and untouched for centuries and had been overun by the jungle, you had to walk over the bricks that were once walls and through windows to find the centre of the temple, it was amazing, all the trees of the jungle (thousands of years old) had grown through and over and round the walls and into all the cracks of the temple. it made you stare for ages, open mouthed truing to comprehend how a tree so old could survive like this and how it all must have looked when being built, not to mention the technology used to build it all those centuries ago. I was staring so much some people had to ask me to move so they could get a photo minus the gormless sweating Irishman in stupid trousers standing in shot. Time to move on.
Litre of water four and five followed (and I didn't need the loo, an idea of how much you sweat here) and i made my way to Angkor Thom, billed as the better of the three main sites but i was still blown away with Ta Prohm i wandered to the summit and sat in a shaded alcove for an hour and read. A canadian girl took my photo bizaarly (sp?) and we chatted for a while about the temples etc, till it was time to head for the sunset point.
This was a hike up a 60 degree fleet of steps to a temple at the top where yopu got an arial view of Angkor wat and the surrounding jungle. The fact there was a little smog or thin cloud covermade it a dissapointing sunset, and combined with the face i had a black and white film in my camear i left to beat the crowds of Japanese tourists down the risky steps.
I managed to avoid the encouragement of my driver to visit his brothers resturant to see "alternative dancing" and paid him his $5.
We decided to skip the third night at the hotel and found a cheaper nicer place closer to the town for $4 a night. before i head back the pothole route to Bangkok.
It was worth the hassle of the journey and the expensive entrance fee by a long way and i would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone heading this side of the world, just get a guide bargain and don't back down, bring loads of water and a camera and sit down every now and then to let it all soak in! I did and was glad i took the time.
Now it's back to Bangkok and then Kho Phi Phi.
take care peoples! AB