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WT09 your two favourite gap-yearers make their way around the world armed only with a sense of adventure and a photocopied lonely planet guide to the mekong. wish us luck!

temples of angkor + iona's 18th

CAMBODIA | Friday, 12 June 2009 | Views [646] | Comments [1]

angkor wat, photo taken by a hilarious german guy

angkor wat, photo taken by a hilarious german guy

SO we are no longer in cambodia but it seemed like we would be missing a fairly important part of the trip if we didn't tell all about siem reap in cambodia- home of angkor wat and various other ancient and photogenic temples.

we made ourselves at home at the Popular Guesthouse, 'popular by name and popular by nature' according to Lonely Planet (our photocopied version of the Mekong Delta guidebook already worth well more than the $3.50 we paid for it). the staff were almost suspiciously friendly but after a few days when we both still had our passports and both kidneys we decided they're just a nice bunch.

wednesday thursday and friday we did our best to cover the temples- angkor wat is obviously pretty cool but i preferred ta prohm (with all the trees, made famous by lara croft) and vivienne liked the bayon (with all the faces looking down at you). we spent one day on bikes (it seemed like a good idea at the time) but having braved the daily downpour at about 4pm and a ride home in the dark having seeing the sun set, we felt we deserved the multiple cocktails consumed that evening. in any case, bikes are dirt cheap to rent and it's a really fun way to get around (for the first 8 hours, then it's a little less enjoyable), although we got a few stares from people in a kind of 'white people can ride bikes?' way that just shows how many tourists get around in tuk tuk (like a motorbike with a chariot thing attached on the back).

THEN on saturday we celebrated my birthday with balloons strewn around our room (vivienne had surreptitiously blown them up the night before as i was sleeping, 'such a good friend' she says over my shoulder), chocolate banana pancakes for breakfast (with liam gibson, who we improbably ran into in an internet cafe, small world), massage and facials all afternoon (a very kind gift from my lovely parents) and then a night on the appropriately named Pub St, Siem Reap.

all in all, a very good birthday :)

sunday we woke up at lunchtime and headed out to lake tonle sap, with a tuk tuk driver who was attempting to break the land-speed record so as to prove to us that the trip would take 20 minutes, not 30 as liam had said. on tonle sap there's a floating village, complete with a church, two schools, shops and a basketball court, which was pretty cool. we visited a primary school where i embarrassed myself by attempting to speak khmer with the teacher, who only speaks vietnamese (apparently most of the villagers are vietnamese refugees. so now we know). we went to some floating tourist cafe (far too expensive for us to eat or drink anything) where they had a pen full of crocodiles, completely inexplicably, apparently for 'tourists'. we impressed the boat driver with our khmer skillz and he joined the large collection of people who have incredulously said 'you speak khmer?' after we've said something really simple like 'thanks' or 'hi' in cambodian. it seems a little effort goes a long way!

then on monday, we thought we'd get a bit intrepid and visit some really far-flung temples called koh ker (apparently it's pronounced ka kay, der). a guy from the guesthouse appointed himself our moto driver for the occasion (the only criteria for being a moto driver seems to be owning a motorbike, so we were in the clear) so we squeezed the three of us plus our backpacks and 5L of petrol onto the little Honda Dream, vivienne managing to keep her ankle clear of the muffler this time around. yay!

3 hours later we were still bumping along the worst road in cambodia (and apparently they can get pretty bad), which we later found out is meant to be impassable in the wet season. we don't know what all the fuss was about because we made it in the end, and were rewarded with some amazing and completely deserted temples dating back to a time when the king decided he was over the temples at angkor and wanted some new ones, please. as you do.

it seems koh ker doesn't get a lot of white visitors, because we may as well have had green skin for how much they stared!

anyway, it was a really good day even if we were a tad sore at the end.

tuesday we headed to bangkok, but that's another story!




majorly exciting stuff, even if i was only there for 1 hr.


  FHK Jun 13, 2009 1:12 AM

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