before we left for cambodia, we had heard many contradicting stories about the place, some really good, and some really bad, so we were nervous as to what to expect
. from the moment you cross the border, the road unfortunatly takes a down turn of massive proportions, and the area becomes noticably poorer. instantly we are reminded of india, than of thailand. we wait at the bus station for two hours for our bus to show up, to be told it is stranded, because of a broken bridge, we are then heared on to a much smaller bus, aquired somehow, shoved in tight, our bags line the main aisle up to shoulder height (see photo), mind says 'health and safty, health and safty'. finally at least we're moving. the journey is 120m, and takes 6 hours, (you do the maths on the speed we were doing) the roads, were maybe even 5 times worse than india. unfortunatly the recently fixed bridge was down still, and people had already been waiting for 4 hours, trucks were lined all the way back, and as riduclous as is, every one started using the other lane to get closer to the bridge, of course when the bridge did get fixed, both sides were jammed solid. anyway 4 or 5 hours stood still in the dark, 1km from the bridge, was not the ideal way to spend the end of the day of travelling, so we made the most of it, got a few cans in, and got friendly. once the bridge was finally fixed, and cleared with continued for the 4 hours afterwars, the roads were even worse, and every bridge involoved a sudden drop, and a high ramp, waking you from your slumber with a jolt, increasing the already ubearable back pain. we arrive about 5am, take any bed, and fall in to a dark sleep. today i found out that the reason this road is so bad, is because the cambodian goverment have a deal with a bangkok airline, so the road will never be built to encorage the not so expensive flights, and i'm sure it works a treat, at least a few of our new found companions took that option
Angkor Wat temples,
Kate here continuing the entry hope you are settling into 2006 and planning your summer vacations already!
After the eventful bus trip across the border into Cambodia and after only 3 hours sleep we headed straight to the Angkor temples (nursing slept funny on the bus necks!). There are over 100 temples both Hindu and Buddhist there so to get a sense of them without climbing them all we went for a three day pass to the ground. The pass was very expensive and the sick thing is the temples are now owned by a petrolium company and so nearly all of the money goes off shore and not to Cambodia. The temples were built by King's of the Khmer Empire between the 9th and 13th centuries and the ruins are amazing (check out the many pics). After the beach and bus journeys it was great to stretch legs and mind alike.
To increase the impression of grandure the temples were built with a few similarities. All the steps are twice a normal human step and very narrow. This with the small doorways at the top of the stairs makes them appear bigger and also much harder to climb!
In between all the temples it is very hectic with tourists, stalls selling food, clothes, statues, everything you could ever want and all for 1 US dollar
. Also little children from the local villages selling flutes and drums and you cant step anywhere without being offered a cold drink! Amoung the hussel and bussle there are also musical bands by victims of land mines, a very stark reminder of Cambodia's history that still treatens today. In all the guide books and from other travellers you hear never walk off the main paths due to the very real threat of mines.
So far Cambodia feels somewhere in between India and Thailand and not what we were expecting. We had heard some very negative things about it but so far poeple have been very friendly and welcoming. We were surrounded yesterday by heaps of street children not begging but smiling, dancing, doing gymnastics and wanting to climb over you and swing between your arms!
Stay in touch :)
waking up early at 6 am, we embark on what turns out to be a very eventful bus jouney to combodia, or not so eventful, depending which wy you look at it. we got up at 6am and was waiting for our guy to pick us up outside the place for a good 40 mins, before he strolled up and showed us were the bus was (hearded). then we wait for an hour on the bus (don't know why, it was full!), and finally get rolling. we arrived at the cambodian border before luchtime, where there was alot of waiting about, before and during the crossing. in between the borders there are maybe 3 or 4 casinos, and high class hotels, i'm sure to do with taxes or something. anyway across the border, and we breath sweet dusty cambodian.