Birthday at the Temples

Trip Start Mar 17, 2008
Trip End Mar 29, 2008

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Well Happy Birthday to me in Cambodia...The weather today looked a little iffy...possible rain..After breakfast at the hotel we loaded up in the car and headed for Banteay Srey; a temple complex located about 37km from Siem Reap..shortly after leaving town it started raining and by looking outside it was getting muddy fast.

The trip took close to an hour to arrive at the temple complex, we had a couple checkpoints to go through and the road didn't have the best grade to it..This temple was very small in size compared to what we have seen so far, but it is built with pink sandstone and has very ornate carvings. Being small in size, it was hard to get around since it was also very busy. We arrived just behind 2 large tour for us! By this time the rain had stopped and the famous Cambodian heat was appearing once again. After finishing our tour we headed back stopping by just for photos at some smaller temples back towards Ta Prohm.

About 1 and half hours later from Banteay Srey we arrived at Ta Prohm; the temple complex I looked forward to seeing the most. By looking at the roadside out the temple it looked like we would have alot of company here also. It was about a quarter mile walk in from the road were we saw a group of landmine victims playing music. I took in the scene and gave them a donation. Unfortunately Cambodia still has hordes of land mines in and around the jungle where locals get killed and maimed. They are slowly being removed...but it's a very slow process.
Ta Prohm is a temple that literally being taken over from the giant Ficus Trees..does make for some great photos..If you are lucky enough to get the right light..the moss really makes a great contrast also. Other than Angkor Wat..this temple is a must see when in this area..
Lunch was just down the road at a cafe were we had beef stir-fry and vegetables..All over the top was some small green berry looking things still on the stems. Being adventurous I dug right in...I wasn't expecting pepper...Wow!..I shouldn't have stuck all of it in my mouth..Live and learn I guess. The food as usual was very good indeed.
The highlight of the day was next we were going to see a local village with a cruise to the water village on Tonle Sap Lake. The drive getting there was slow due to road conditions. We were able to get a glimpse of daily life for the people here that live on or near the Siem River. The homes were built on stilts and were very simple. They do not have electricity, but do have batteries they use for power. We saw many countries represented here for well construction and anti-poverty education centers within the area.

Once we arrived on the water, we boarded a long-narrow wooded boat and headed down the muddy water towards the lake. Many photo ops here, between the kids pulling along side the boat and jumping on to sell you drinks to fisherman casting nets in the was a good experience. Once we enter the lake we could see hundreds of homes...some of which I couldn't see why they were still floating. More photo ops here...Large pigs in stalls on the deck of the houseboat, kids playing...some with small Crocodiles- others with snakes (photos coming soon). Was well worth the long trip here..

Back to the hotel around 6pm we set out for downtown to finish up on more shopping. Came back with a couple t-shirts, but none form Dead Fish Cafe.. they only had size medium. By the time we got back to the hotel we were pretty beat from the heat of the day, so we ordered in room service and a chocolate brownie dessert for my birthday...all was good as usual. Cambodia has been a great experience...It has exceeded all expectations we had. The people are gracious and the scenery is beautiful!
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