Trip Start Jun 25, 2011
85Trip End Dec 24, 2011
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Today we leave Bangkok for our 4 hour private bus journey to Poipet where we cross into Cambodia, passing nothing but rice paddies along the way. The border itself is massive and the 'no man's land' between the two countries is vast and bizarre; complete with its own casino. The smell of sewage is pretty intense and whilst in the queue to have our visa's checked the humidity is stifling. There is a tree in the middle of the immigration hut, growing out through the roof, and 2 Japanese tourists behind Jo in the queue asking a Buddhist monk who is leaning through the window if he has facebook. He seems to say yes. Fucking weird.
After boarding another bus we finally make it into Siem Reap and that evening venture out to 'Pub Street' in the city's centre for dinner and drinks
The jet lag and the air con have taken its tole on Jo's throat and on Claire's brain and we leave early, getting a tuk tuk back for an early (ish) night.
The following day, the 2nd, marks our big trip to Angkor Wat. Jo and Claire are not popular as they refuse to get up at 4.30am to catch the 'sunrise' (i.e. slightly brighter patch of cloud) of the famous temples and instead opt to meet our group for the start of the day tour later on.
Our very funny Kmer guide is a cheeky chappy who urges us to use the 'Happy Room' (toilet) before heading out (although we guess its often more like the 'stinking sweaty and damn angry' room).
Our first stop is the main Angkor Wat temple which is, as expected, stunning. From there we venture on to the Jungle temple, where the stone carvings and decorative turrets have been slowly broken down by the hundreds of roots of the surrounding Banyan trees
It eases off for our trip onto the Mountain temple where the steps are so steep so that anyone climbing towards the gods is forced into a 'humble' position (i.e. on all fours). On the way down we have a collective holding of breath as Susannah misfires a step and tumbles about 6 steps down; once everyone sees that she is alright shouts of 'enjoy your trip' and 'see you next fall' ring out for a good 10 minutes. What a supportive family we are.
In the evening after dinner the group splits between those willing to walk to the night market and those willing to take a tuk tuk; we walkers do not see the tutktukers for the rest of the eve and we see only a slice of the market on the way to the the Island Bar, bang in its centre, for cocktails. On the journey there kids try to accost us on the streets shouting 'don't want money, want food!'. We all manage to bypass them except for Livia; her soft heart results in here being dragged by a little girl into a shop where she is asked to buy formula milk for $12
When we leave, Marcus bargains with a tuk tuk driver for our journey home:
Marcus: No no no I you say $4, then I say $2 and then you know how it works!
Mr Tuk Tuk: Hahahahaha... ok.