Indiana Jones

Trip Start Jan 19, 2006
Trip End Jan 19, 2007

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Flag of Cambodia  ,
Monday, March 13, 2006

Have a bit of a lie in (out by 08.00) and get Sari to take us to 'Beng Melea' a ruined temple about 80km away from SR. It takes quite a while on a tuk tuk and is very dusty but interesting to pass through the villages on the way where children wave and say 'hello' to us (without the incessant 'want to buy a postcard?'). 'Beng Melea' was built in the 12th century and is termed the Indiana Jones experience as it is covered in the jungle and is virtually collapsed. It has recently had a wooden walkway put in around some of the temple - this was constructed during the filming of 'Two Brothers' ( a kids film about 2 tigers I think) and helps to navigate some of it whilst still being in the thick of it. It also appears a lot of the vines and plants have been cut back too - which is a bit of a shame. For the first time we allow a local man to show us round the ruins where you actually have to clamber up and down pretty dangerous looking piles of huge stones and through alleys. It was actually pretty good fun and definitely worth doing with a guide to see more of it and know what is safe. After an hour or so tiring ourselves out and pretending to be intrepid explorers we headed back to the tuk tuk. Sari took us to the nearby river where the rocks were cut and transported for the temples in Siem Reap. It appears that very few tourists come here and we were joined by about 20 kids who came to see us and say hello and follow us around. They didn't ask for anything but fortunately we had a massive bunch of bananas left from breakfast (about 30 on a bunch for about 30p) so we gave them one each and they all thanked us by bowing their heads and putting their hands together as if in prayer. Some of the smaller kids have no clothes as their parents can't afford them and many don't go to school as they have to pay. They all look pretty happy though and spend their days playing and helping at home. Although you feel sad it was nice to have close contact with them and be able to show them a bit of respect and attention.

On the way back to SR we run out of petrol; Fortunately about 30m away from a 'petrol station' which are basically wooden stands with about 20 glass bottles (usually old whisky 2 litre ones) full of fuel. We fill up and head off again into town to see 'Bakong' one of the Roluos group temples on the east side of SR which is again very nice and punctuated by sightings of the local monks. We then head back up to the main group of temples to catch the late afternoon light and have a puncture on the way! This time are about 700m away from the nearest 'garage' where we have it fixed. Get back up to 'Ta Prom' (tree covered temple) for photos in the nice light and find the bit with a huge tree route that is virtually horizontal along the temple walls. We then go to our other favourite which is Bayon (faces temple) where the sun is less harsh after about 16.00 and there is virtually noone here. Outside the temple there are a few monkeys around playing and the locals get pretty close to them.

We decide to give sunset a miss tonight but actually catch sight of it as we drive pass Angkor Wat and it is brilliant. The sun looks like a huge orange suspended in the sky and there is a lake behind the foodstalls here so Dave gets some great shots of it.

Back into town for dinner and have a Cambodian meal at the Khmer Kitchen which is v popular and good - great mussaman curries (quite hot with potato in too) and off to bed early again ready for another early start.
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