Angkor What?

Trip Start Jul 29, 2009
Trip End Jan 23, 2010

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Flag of Cambodia  ,
Saturday, October 17, 2009

We finally arrived in Siem Reap after a very long day of traveling by bus. It turned into a 14 hour bus ride, including the few hours that we stopped in Phnom Penh. It was mostly a pretty smooth sail, except for at one point the bus driver stopped on the side of the road to pick up a bunch of his friends that apparently needed a ride. At one point, the driver's friend sitting behind him with his very young son, thought that it would be a good idea to pick up his son and drop him on the bus driver's lap so he could steer the busload of tourists. So we flew down the road going much faster than we should have been going, on an infant-navigated bus, while the driver hardly paid any attention to make sure the toddler was keeping us on the road. The driver laughed with his friends, "Hahaha!" telling tales of their Cambodian lives and paid very little attention to his job. I think I speak for all of the tourists on the bus when I say that none of us were laughing with them, we were all too busy writing our wills and wishing we had seat belts. Luckily for us, the 2 year old must have had a part-time job driving a bus, because he got us there relatively quickly and safely. 
The first day in Siem Reap, we cruised around the town, trying to get familiarized with the area. We spent several hours in the newly opened museum, which could have been a much shorter trip if Tara didn't have to read every word in the museum... Since she is a certified speed-reader (thanks UCSB!), I basically had my own tour guide when we went to see the temples the next day, so I guess I can't really complain. Also, we found that there is an awesome area downtown on Pub Street and Restaurant Street. There, we were able to gather our bearings and have a couple beers with the hundreds of other travelers from all over the world. We also found a Mexican Restaurant and when we found it we thought that we were hallucinating, we gorged ourselves into a coma with delicious food that we have not been able to eat for 3 months of traveling. I have never been so happy with food before. We also met a number of travelers from Germany, Ireland, the US and New Zealand, at one of the local pubs called Angkor What?, where we drank a couple of towers of Angkor Beer. So we had a couple of good nights there.
The next two days we spent most of our day at the temples of Angkor. We got there by hiring a tuk-tuk driven by Mr. Jeat, who took us both days all around Angkor to see the temples including Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, The Women's Temple (Banteay Srey), Pre Rup, Ta Prohm (from the movie Tombraider), Chau Say Thevada, Ta Keo, Thommanom, and the Terrace of the Elephants. We also hiked to the top of a mountain to see the sunset from Phnom Bakheng Temple, which is a must-do for anyone who wants to see Angkor.The temples were some of the most awesome archaeological sites either of us had ever seen. They are just amazing! There is no need to look at all of the pictures that we have posted because, we know, there are a lot of them. I went a little bit picture-happy with my camera.
So, tomorrow we are taking a bus back to Phnom Penh, because Air Asia sucks and won't let us change our flight. We had a really great time in both Cambodia and Vietnam, but we are definitely ready to go back to Thailand, where we can wash our toothbrushes with tap water instead of bottled water and not have to shower standing on top of our toilet. Hopefully we will get a bus driver who knows his ABCs and was born BEFORE the year 2007 for the ride back to Phnom Penh.

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