Entering a 'war zone' - sort of ?

Trip Start Aug 30, 2012
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Trip End Mar 21, 2013


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Flag of Thailand  , Surin,
Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Up at ourusual timeof 6:30 and am greeted with a large frothy mug of great coffee and a fried breakfast to set me upfor the day.  Max expects customers in the morning so we spend most of the time sat around the shop chatting with Jai helping out in the ceramic shop and actually reading a book !
After lunch we drove about 30km towards the Dangkrek mountains to the old Khmer temple complex of Prasat Ta Muen.  This sits right on the disputed border between Thailandand Cambodia and was the scene of heavy fighting early last year.  12 Thai soldiers were killed here and how many Cambodians ?  There is still a heavy military presence at the site, we were told over 100 soldiers were in the area and high green netting closed off certain areas that we were not allowed to see - just camps or artillery ?  At the temple site itself agroup of senior Thai officers were on a visit photographing each other in front of the ruinsand many other soldiers were milling around.  We were also told that three of the soldiers we spoke to were Cambodian, also here on a visit so they all seem to be friends at the moment- watch this space !  The ruin itself was nice although all of the good carvings had been broken off, some by gunfire and some by explosives, by the Khmer Rouge many years ago.
Leaving the first site we retraced our steps a few miles to the next site of Prasat Ta Muen Toch. This is believed to have been a hospital chapel on the oldKhmer highway between Phimai, Thailand, and Angkor, Cambodia.  The hospitals themselves were constructed of wood and therefore none remain but the simple chapel was reasonably well preserved.
A further coupleof milesdown the road is Prasat Ta Muen which is believed to have also been a chapel associated with a lodging house associated with the previous two sites.  From the outside it looked more like a fort and inside more like a Christian church.
Leaving the Khmer sites we drove towards Ban Kruat along an awful road to visit the current Thai temple there.It is home to a 102 year old monkfrom whom it is especially lucky to receieve a blessing.  Unfortunately he was asleep when we got there !!
Taking a long route backtoavoidthe awful road we return to Kap Choeng for a beer or two and something to eat before retiring for the night.
We were planning on returning to Khamnadie tomorrow morning but Dave and Max have organised another visit for us in themorning so we will be staying another night.
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