Angkor

Trip Start Mar 10, 2007
1
46
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Trip End Jan 01, 2007


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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Arrived in Siam reap off of what has now taken first place as the world's worst bus. Were in Cambodia, one of the poorest, and because of that dirtiest, places in the world, in the rainy season, and this bus was dirtier inside than the surroundings outside were. Touching any surface left you covered in an unrecogniseable brown scum, and the bus itself was falling apart; i reckon if Taylor had punched a wall he could have punched straight through it.
         First day was a late start, followed by a trip to the landmine museum (Pia and Simon, thanks for the tip on going here, well worth a visit.) This is a very informative museum describing the life and work of Aki Ra, a former Khmer rouge child soldier who was laying mines in the war when he was only 5 years old. Since the fighting ended, he has dedicated his life to making Cambodia a safer place by removing the land mines he placed himself, along with thousands of others, using only a knife and stick. Heres a fact for you:- it cost only $1 to make one of these land mines, however the government now charges as much as $1000 dollars to remove one mine safely. As i quite often find myself saying in this blog, ridiculous. Aki has removed over 50,000 mines himself to date, with no injuries to himself so far. This includes 20% of all the mines removed in the Siam reap province, a rather impressive feat i think. One of his friends also helps him do this, though his friend lost a leg during his efforts, and has since had his wooden leg blown off six more times (harsh as it is, i found that part extremely funny!) Since being trained by Aki though he has, touch wood, had no more accidents (sorry, horrible pun!) I even bought a t shirt from here, and being the tight ass i am, thats saying something.
        Next we used the travelers tip we got off of several people and went to the temples at 5pm, as at this time you can buy your ticket for the next day, but you can still go in for sunset that evening. Obviously for our first temple experience had to go to Angkor Wat itself. By the way, Angkor Wat is not the whole complex, but is just the name of one of the temples. Sorry if I'm stating the obvious, but i met many people there who were unaware of this fact, so if you were too don't feel too bad.
        Cloud spoiled any chance of a sunset photo (a feat to be repeated over the next few days), but just to wander round part of Angkor Wat was magnificent, and any words again won't do any of the temples justice, you have to see them! Unfortunately the bastard internet won't let me upload my photos at the moment, so you won't yet be seeing them courtesy of me!
       I usually use my diary to help me write these entries, but i got bored in a cafe and wrote a ludicrous amount on the temples, so I'll try to be brief here on my escapades. Basically all the temples are amazing, though the weather spoiled all our attempts at sunrise's and sunsets. My favourite temple is Bayon, the one with all the faces of the Boddhisattva Buddha on the towers inside, though Ta Prohm (the tomb raider temple) is very impressive, with huge tree roots snaking their way through the structure. Angkor Wat isn't quite as impressive as I'd expected but is fantastic all the same. If anyone is coming and is wondering how long to spend there, my advice is this:- if your interested but not really into temples you should do the sunset tip i mentioned before, then one full day will definitely be enough to see the best of the temples. You wouldn't be missing out on too much that way and would save some money.
    We all went out in the evening of our last day to see each other off, Louise's mum got quite drunk (rather funny), and i got on my bus after 3 hours sleep, very hungover, for Sihanoukville.
 
(I could have written loads about the temples, but i think you'd get bored and if you are interested a guidebook will be more interesting than what i write)
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