Tomb Raiding

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Cambodia  ,
Monday, December 12, 2005

Alarm went off at 5:45 for the second successive day which wasn't to my liking! However I was ready and raring to go by 6:10. Was informed last night that the kitchen opened at 6, it didn't, so it was the second day with no breakfast!

Moto driver was waiting outside and we were soon off to Angkor. Paid the extortionate fee of $20 for a one day pass. The LP says its criminal to have only one day but screw them, it can easily be done!

Started off by heading to the Bayon. I was probably looking forward to seeing this temple more than the famous Angkor Wat so I was pretty happy. It was an amazing temple. There are 216 giant faces all starring at you so it was pretty unnerving. I was also the only person there! I hoped it would stay that way all day as it would mean great pictures with no randoms in the way.....but of course it didn't. More about that later.

I was then supposed to meet my moto driver 30 minutes later by the temple of the leper king so after emerging from the other side I assumed it was straight on. Obviously not as I walked into a village and got chased away by the owners dogs. Totally lost I wandered round for 20 minutes before finally stumbling upon someone to ask and was pointed vaguely in the right direction. Honestly some signs pointing wouldn't go amiss!

Spotted my driver and we moved onto the next stop. I'm not really going to go into detail on every temple as I saw loads, and honestly they all started to look the same. After seeing a couple more temples we stopped for breakfast, at his partners place of course, for some ridiculously priced food but I was hungry and thirsty so had to get something. The bottle of water was $2! 4 times what it was in the shops! Chicken sandwich was the same price but at least it was a huge baguette. Probably riddled with H5N1 like the ones walking around the table.

After brekkie I went over the road to see Ta Prohm temple, another I had looked forward to. This temple was recently used for the Tomb Raider and Two Brothers movies. The temple has been completely overrun by nature and huge tree roots are engulfing the side of the buildings. I spent a good 40 minutes here, patiently waiting for the hordes of Japanese tourists to move out the way before getting back on the bike.

Saw a couple more smaller temples before embarking on the epic, well 16km, journey to Banteay Srei. This temple is a bit out the way but it is supposed to be worth it. I groaned when I arrived as I saw a fleet of at least 10 buses, big buses not minibuses, covered with Japanese writing. The temple is tiny so it was going to be a nightmare getting around! As I had guessed it was. There were at least 200 Japanese tourists there, all waiting to get their picture taken. I just had to use my height as an advantage and take photos over their heads.

one girl turned around and I was shocked at how white she was but then remembered why. At that precise moment the sun made it's first appearance of the day, which was promptly followed by 100 umbrellas being unfolded. Fantastic. Still the temple was worth the trip as it was the most intricately carved of all the temples I visited, although they had a barrier in place so you couldn't walk around as freely as the others which was a shame.

Back on the bike and off on the "Grand Tour". Basically around all the other smaller temples before finally arriving at the big cheese. The LP mentions about the hassling fro the street sellers but it was incredible. The second you step off the bike you get bombarded with shouts of "you want cold drink/something to eat/t-shirt/postcard etc". You also get loads of kids, who all seemed to speak impeccable English , trying to sell you some crappy whistles that you'll never need at 2 for $1. Some cheeky git tried to get me to change 2000 dong for $1! Now, having been to Vietnam only 2 weeks ago I know there are 16,000 dong to $1 so I laughed in his face and told him where to go.

By the time I arrived at Angkor Wat I was pretty much templed out but still eager to see the big one. Well it wasn't really that big and I have to admit I was slightly disappointed. Sure the Bas Relief carvings around the ground floor were fantastic and sort of told the story of the kings life but the rest was quite dull. There was pretty much nothing to it. Just a couple more floors with empty rooms, save for a few carvings on the walls that I had seen at every other temple.

It most have been quite engrossing though as I was looking at the roof, or was it the 4 Korean girls in front?, when I should have been looking where I was going and walked straight into a knee high solid stone lump at walking pace. Going to leave a nice bruise in the morning!

Slightly dejected but it had still been a great day, seeing as I took 337 pictures! But I had 1 more errand to run before I let my driver go. I needed to get some Thai Baht so I told him to take me to the bank. Asked for the equivalent of $200 in Baht but got $200US. No Baht apparently so I'll have to take my chance on the bus or at the border. Paid the driver and thanked him for his service.

Decided that there was no further need for me to stay here for another day so booked my bus to Bangkok for tomorrow morning, a day earlier than planned. I've heard nightmare stories about the journey, and it will last 10-15 hours, but I want to be able to say I've done it!

I'll also be able to see Dave as he's currently living it up, read resting in bed, at the Holiday Inn, Bangkok. The doctor in Phnom Penh actually knew what he was doing and diagnosed Dengue Fever, not typhoid, something I had suspected from the start and the reason I refrained from giving him aspirin. As a result he is going to take slightly longer than expected until he is back to full health so is heading home, back to England, until we fly from Singapore which is currently January 17th. Looks like I'm flying solo for a while longer yet! Oh well loads of people to catch up with in Thailand!
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