Angkor Wat....$1 lady, you buy? $1 sir, you buy?

Trip Start Nov 20, 2010
Trip End Dec 01, 2011

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Where I stayed
Backpackers Hostel

Flag of Cambodia  ,
Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dec 14,15 & 16th were our designated Angkor Wat days.

Dec 14th- We got up at 9am to set out on our first day of exploring this massive complex. We had hired a tuk tuk from our hostel for the three days as this comlpex is stretched out for miles and miles and so it is very necessary. As soon as we pulled up and were going to get out of our tuk tuk people were all over us trying to sell books, coffee, fruit, bracelets, water, etc. all for $1....we soon learned that would be a theme of the day!
When we got to the first temple complex it was a bit disheartening to see the green tarps and scafolding covering the front as a result of the restorations but the huge moat and intricate details of the whole place definately made up for it. Every wall floor to ceiling had some sort of carving on it. Because of how ancient this place is they were a bit faded in places but you could still tell they had existed. At most of the temples there were piles of rocks/peices of sculptings laying either in a big mound yet untouched or lying out with white numbers written on them so people no in what order they need to be placed back together in (what a tedious and slow job that would be).
Immediately we were hot and sweaty from climbing over the entrances, climbing up the stone steps three levels to get to the tops of some temples, and just simpley from walking around the huge grounds of each temple.
And at every entrance and exit it was garaunteed there were ladies or kids standing there waiting with there braceltes and cold water shouting (even if we weren't yet close) "Sir you need cold drink?" "lady you buy bracelet 3 for $1? ok lady you buy bracelet 5 for $1? ok lady you buy bracelet 10 for $1?" "sir you hungry? you eat at my stand?, ok you no hungry noww but maybe you hungry when you done at temple? ok sir I remember you.". We mostly just laughed it of and took it in good humour; at one temple we even made a game out of getting away. We each had a girl at our side all the way to the temple opening trying to sell us stuff and get us to eat at their place when we were done, "ok I remember you"; so when we were done they were bugging someone else and when they had their heads turned we dashed behind the stalls and walked around unnoticed, victory! haha
We were going to stay for the sunset but we were completely worn out by 3:00pm that we just went back to the hostel had a nap and at about 4:30pm our tuk tuk driver came and took us to the roof of the hostel to enjoy it from there. It was so romantic, we threw a couple plastic chairs to the top level, climbed up a thin metal ladder, and with laundry on our right and the hostel employee's outdoor shower on our left we enjoyed the sunset from a heightened view of the city (mostly blocked by smog and the big batch of tall trees in front of us! haha). The effort was appreciated though and he even brought up beer from downstairs.

Dec 15- This morning we woke up at about 5:00am to get to Angkor Wat to enjoy the sunrise. There was already hoards of people there, which we fully expected. The sunrise was a bit disappointing though because it was foggy and rainy a bit so the sun didn't shine through very well and instead of the distinct orange ball rising up it kind of just got brighter out without us really being able to distinguish where the sun was. Oh well, not everything is gonna work out perfectly.
We pretty much did the same thing as the day before and walked around from temple to temple (which was starting to all look the same a bit). We got to see the Tomb Raider Temple, Ta Phrom though and it was pretty cool as it had massive trees growing all through the temple. Another memorable temple was the one with two VERY young girls with babies on their hips that came up to us and tried to sell me (Jackie) the babies for $1!!! "Hey lady, you buy baby, $1? Ok lady you buy baby $1...." and they just repeated it over and over until we finally got through (there were also other small kids swarming us at the same time; I couldn't make I contact and felt so horrible, until we got through and then all I could do was laugh in astonishment!).
We also went to more far away temples, that was kind of a blessing since that meant more time in the tuk tuk with wind blowing at us to cool us down. Our guide took us to a land mine museum as well which had just a very small portion of the millions of land mines that a cambodian guy has disarmed himself. It also had some horrible stories about how him and other kids would be given massive guns and go out to hunt their food with them and would find other kids hunting and would stop to play, then the next day those would be the same kids they would be shooting at. So sad. Another story was about how he was shooting at some enemy and noticed the guy he was about to shoot was his uncle (who didn't notice him an kept shooting) and he had to pretend he had a headache or something and couldn't aim right; then years later when he was reunited with his uncle he told him and they had a good laugh over it....not sure I could be able to laugh about something like that.
We ended the day with another long afternoon nap and then went to a buffet and cambodian dance show for supper. The food was good (well, it seemed good anyway) and the dances were pretty cool. They each told a story and a girl would come out before each set and read the story, the thing was though that we couldn't hear anything she was saying! Oh well.

Dec 16th-  Jackie was very ill so I (James) ventured out on my own with our tuk-tuk driver to see the rest of the temples. It was a very uneventful day considering all the smaller temples look pretty much the same as the rest after seeing dozens of them. It seemed to go by faster considering i didn't have to wait for Jackies little legs to keep up, so I (James) was able to set my own pace.
The driver took me to the killing fields where they constructed a memorial for the people killed during Pol-Pot's regime, it was essentially just pictures and personal stories on several walls, and a square monument with glass walls that were filled with human skulls!
After returning to the hotel I (James) was on servent duties to the sickly body formally known as Jackie; the next two days consisted of leaving the room only to try to find her appropriate food that she could actually stomach.
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Joan on

Oh, James, you sweetheart, you! Thank you for taking care of my girl.

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