The Awe

Trip Start Oct 23, 2006
1
45
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Trip End May 08, 2007


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Flag of Cambodia  ,
Friday, January 12, 2007

I'm completing my time in Cambodia with having visited only two cities. While the first city was a trial of my faith in humanity, the second reaffirmed it. Where Phnom Penh exhibited our destructive capability, Siem Riep testified to the power of our creation with its proximity to nearby Angkor Wat.
Yet another UNESCO World Heritage site, Angkor Wat is the crown jewel of the Angkor area which is home to thousands of different temple structures. Angkor Wat itself is the best preserved of them and is lauded as the world's largest single religious monument. It's damn impressive. Jon and I bought a three day pass for $40 each, which brings me to another discovery about Cambodia: this place is f**king expensive.
It doesn't have to be. I'm sure someone travelling on a strict budget could come here and spend far less than we have, but they'd be missing out. The temples and palaces at Angkor require a minimum of three days. (Part of me wishes that we'd sprung for the week pass, but my exhaustion says otherwise). Also, the food in Siem Riep is phenominal, and anyone who visits here shouldn't skimp on their dining budget. This city has shifted my view on southeast Asian food. My favorite Khmer foods are better than any Vietnamese food. Shocking, no? Maybe I missed some of the best food Vietnam had to offer (though I doubt it) but the Lohk Lak and Amock I've had in Cambodia eclipse it all. If any of you readers know of a Cambodian restaurant in the bay area, let me know for when I get home.
But back to Angkor as that is undoubtedly the highlight of my time here. Jon and I hired a Tuk Tuk to take us around to the different temples. We'd met a driver named Jackie who was young, knowlegable about Angkor, and spoke flawless English. (Tough combo to come by). He brought us to Angkor Wat first. I swear I could spend years exploring that site alone. The buildings are massively impressive. So are the walls. So are the bridges and the moat. It's all so grand. And yet, when I looked more closely, they're also so intricately detailed with etchings, carvings, and statues.
That's the case with all the sites we visited over our three days at Angkor. I won't bog you down by writing too much detail, especially since I've uploaded 50 pictures for this entry. (Considering I took about 1,000 pics consider yourselves lucky I didn't upload more). On our first day at Angkor, Jackie drove us around to all the "must see" sites. On the second day, Jon and I got up at 4:00 am and caught sunrise over Angkor Wat. We were among the first 5 people there. By the time the sun was risen, we were surrounded by several hundred people. We camped out at the best spot by the lily pond the whole time. I think the shots turned out well. That day included several more temples and culminated in a long trip to the northern extreme of Angkor. We'd spent those two days limited by our Tuk Tuk, so we said farewell to Jackie and rented bicycles for our third and last day.
The bikes were of POS status, but they held up. We were able to go at our own pace and stop on any whim. It made for a much better experience, though it was a lot of riding. Our third day at Angkor ended at Bayon (which we'd already seen on our first day). We returned to Bayon to catch a sunset. Little did we know that our pass required us to leave before sunset actually took place. We were able to delay long enough to catch a couple shots.
 
Other than Angkor, our time was spent in Siem Riep eating, playing pool, and listening to a Phillipino cover band do everything from Blu Cantrell to Korean songs to Russian songs to Toto. They were great. Alright, I'm exhausted and that catches us up. Enjoy the pics. I'll write soon from Thailand.
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Comments

sarahlevine
sarahlevine on

monkeys on cars
so so so pretty! wish i was there to see it in person...

sarahlevine
sarahlevine on

holy sweat, batman
aaaaaaand i just watched the video. Two things: one, you look like you're totally in shape which is awesome, and B, you fucking look like Borat. Jon needs to loose the mustache chicken NOW. for real.

parents2
parents2 on

They Exist!
We found a bunch of Cambodian restaurants listed in SF and in Oakland. All of them seem to be rated highly by customers. We will have to try some before you get home so we aren't total rookies. Great pix and the video of you was a bonus treat. Take more in Thailand.

hbomb1
hbomb1 on

No Laos?
You decided to skip Laos huh? Oh well. By the way, when did your sister get really funny? She is right though, lose the mustache. Jon's mexistache is nothing compared to the roadkill you are carrying around on your upper lip. Lose it.

hbomb1
hbomb1 on

P.S.
So fast... great stuff. Just wanted to say the pics are awesome.

hidreoloicnm
hidreoloicnm on

hi
I love Lohk Lak too but it's actually both a vietnamese and cambodian dish. it's known as bo luc lac in viet. it's due to the french influence on both countries, as it's a french-inspired dish

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