Trip Start Aug 25, 2003
38Trip End Jul 23, 2004
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Our trip to Cambodia was memorable. It was the first time we got "scammed". Apparently, the 45 baht ($1.05) ticket from Bangkok to Siem Reap (location of the Angkor temple complex) was too good to be true. We left the first mini-bus, crossed the border, and found at the second bus that our Thailand-issued tickets "didn't work" in Cambodia, and so we had to buy another ticket for the rest of the ride. A minor insult, only $5, but the bus company owner's rudeness was a sour introduction to Cambodia. The roads to Siem Reap, as in much of Cambodia, are astoundingly bad. Many are laterite and dirt, which devolves into a rut-field after the rainy season. I almost broke Phil's jaw with my head when I naively thought I could lean onto his shoulder, and the bus launched into mid-air. Fortunately, he has lightning-fast reflexes and elbowed me in the ear first. He said it was an accident...
The bus pulled into Siem Reap at midnight, 17 hours after leaving Bangkok. It is common practice for hotel owners to delay bus trips so that tourists are too tired to look for another hotel when the bus finally arrives, but that manipulation is a big irritant for Phil; despite the hotel tout's dire warning that the next guesthouse was 4 km away, we found a great place right around the corner
Besides, the two days we spent exploring Angkor were more than enough to erase the spider from our thoughts. (Mostly.) It is truly an amazing place. The most famous structure, Angkor Wat, is impressive for it's size, and for the vast beautiful moat that surrounds it, but my favorites are the less preserved temples, like Banteay Kdei and Preah Khan. We walked the 17 km "Little Circuit" on our first day. Motos and tuk-tuks are easy to hail and cheap to hire, but I always like walking in a new place first. The second day we hired a tuk-tuk (motorcycle front, rickshaw back) for the "Big Circuit", a 26 km loop of more of the area north of Angkor Wat. Once again, I wish that our photos could do justice to what we see; it is kind of frustrating to want to encompass this huge amazing experience as a kind of chronicle, and the photo looks like a gray stone wall. Oh, the life of the artiste...
Next up, the search for the elusive Vietnamese visa...