Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cambodia part two: Siem Reap

part two of my cambodian adventure continues...

date: 7 December 2010
When we arrived off the plane, the beautiful fresh air welcomed us to Siem Reap. The terminal looked like a glorified hut!
{no special treatment here - just straight out to the tarmac!}

We made our way easily through the visa application, immigration and the non-existent customs. Once we collected our luggage, the group was met by the ever smiling Tira who drove us to our hotel: Green Village Palace. Driving through the streets, you realise that you really are in a whole other world.  Basic houses all had a small shop out the front selling what ever the can. Plenty of people riding motorbikes and bicycles. I saw a few skinny cows grazing  in rice paddocks and even tied up like a dog outside a shop! There was so much to see, people, animals, houses and more. And that was only the transfer to the hotel!
Once the van rocked into the city you could really start to feel the organised chaos of the roads. As far as I could tell, the rules of the road are: stay to the right as much as possible, keeping a slow steady pace  if you like. Answering phones is fine, as is carrying 3 or more passengers of any age, or you are welcome to use your moto to transport what you will. If need be, feel free to breast feed your child, if you are actually talented enough to do it. Now that's what I call parenting!

{The beautiful green hotel and pool}

After the group settled into the hotel and freshened up, a few of us headed off to the bargain markets for some souvenirs. We wandered the streets and markets while Roger went in search of a mobile phone 'up near the hospital' somewhere. When we returned, our hostess Somaly had organised a temple tour guide, Aaron, for us to show us through the temples of Angkor over the next few days. A van and a tuk-tuk  drove us to the famous Angkor Wat to see the sunset over the temple. The ride there was fun and our driver managed the streets easily and without fault.

We stopped on the way and paid our $40USD for a three day pass and had some quality photos taken to be printed on them. When we arrived at Angkor Wat, there were so many people waiting for us! Plenty of stalls, beggars and people (mostly children) trying to sell you something; temple books, postcards, drinks, bracelets, hats, or anything else you might need. 
{Angkor Wat with visiting monks}
{An 1866 photo of Ankor Wat - cool huh!}

The temple was busy, but most were leaving as it started to rain. We went to the main terrace to watch the sunset which was quite peaceful, but very brief due to the rain clouds.
Aaron took us to a beautiful place for dinner Kitchen Angkor Chey- a traditional Khmer wooden house renovated into a restaurant, serving real Khmer food. I had the fish amok - just delicious.  It was heaven in a banana leaf cup. We all shared our tasty dishes as we got to know each other in our first night in Cambodia. In true Khmer style, the power went out half way through the meal! Not to worry, it came on a few minutes later when the manager found the loose power point and plugged it back in. 

{Kitchen Angkor Chey entrance}

Feeling full and satisfied, we headed off to the night garden for a little more shopping and I picked up a few more goodies. As I write this, I am falling asleep, I can hear sandman calling. I can't wait for tomorrow.....zzzzzzz.....

Crystal x

PS I am missing many photos from today, as they are lost somewhere between my dropped camera, a full memory card, dads computer and the photo black hole... :)

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