Monday, December 30, 2013

Cambodia Trip 1.5

Yesterday, after my tuk-tuk driver Bunleng dropped me off at Popular Guesthouse, I cleaned-up and then went to a local Internet café to check on email and my bank balance.

Coming back, it started to rain, so I got some outdoor vendor BBQ chicken; two liter bottles of Angkor beer at the local mini market; and settled in for an evening watching TV. Really, I was pretty exhausted.

The guys at the front desk are always curious about what I bring in. I wonder what they would say if I had a girl in tow?

It rained, along with thunder and lightning, all night long. So, when I woke up and it was still lightly raining, I cancelled the day’s planned tour of the temples. However, about 9 a.m., the rain stopped and Bunleng and I got back on the temples tour.

In the morning, I visited Banteay Kdei:

Here are some pictures of Banteay Kdei that I feel are representative:

Then, we went to Sra Srang:

… and me at Sra Srang.

We then headed to Ta Prohm:

Here are some more images of Ta Prohm

… and then we went to Ta Keo:

… and here are some more pictures of Ta Keo.

When we broke for a late lunch, I finally gave in to some of the little girl hawkers, but that only gave an opening for the hard core sellers and problems the following day.

I visited the Preah Palilay (Pali Lai) temple area again and then we went to see the sundown at the southern gate of Angkor Thom, at the bridge. I was too tired to climb up the hill where most all the other tourists watched sundown. Anyway, judging by the weather and my knowledge of Southeast Asia, I knew the sunset would not be that great. After all, I’ve seen some of the greatest sunsets you can get on the planet, back in my old town and area of Santa Barbara. My oldest son, Das, and I have even seen the Green Flash more than once!

After Bunleng dropped me off at the guesthouse, I washed my clothes, showered and tried to call Thip.

When it grew dark, I headed over to the Night Market in Psar Chaa to buy some souvenirs, presents for Thip and my family back in the United States. In addition, I bought a cheap Casio watch (recommend Casio’s to everyone) and bought some dried mango and nuts for the trip back to Thailand.

After shopping, I stopped at the “7 Corners Seafood BBQ” for some BBQ crocodile and a beer. The croc was actually pretty good and it went well with the beer. It tasted somewhere between beef and cardboard – not that I’ve eaten that much cardboard, just when times got tough… “I joke you!”

On the way back to the guesthouse, numerous massage girls literally tried to drag me into their Houses of Some Repute, but I laughingly waved them off with the Cambodian equivalent of “No Thank You”. It’s times like these that I’m glad I have zippered pockets.

I grabbed some Angkor beer and chips at the local mini-market and then settled down to some television before cashing it in.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Cambodia Trip 1.4f

On that first day visiting the temples in and around Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, Bunleng and I had a late lunch. While we ate, I tried a “Bayon” beer in honor of the temple I had visited hours before. Then, we headed back towards Siem Reap. Man, was I tired! Not sure of how many miles I walked that day, but it felt like around ten; it could have been more...

... But, Bunleng had one more stop in store for me. Unannounced he stopped at a relatively small temple not far from Wat Kesaranam. He explained that the temple had a little monument for the local people in that area who had fallen victims to “the Pol Pot Regime” and that I could visit or not.

Of course I visited. It was right before us. There was a glassed-in monument filled with bones and skulls of local people who had been dug up out of the local “Killing Fields.” You know, it’s one thing to see a picture of a bunch of bones, but it’s another thing to see them in real time with your own eyes. It was very moving and made the tragedy of the Kampuchean Revolution so much more tangible. Not far away was a glassed-in bulletin board of pictures and captions from the Khmer Rouge period, some of which I’d seen before in books and many of which I had not.

I never got around to asking Bunleng about his always referring to “the Pol Pot Regime” rather than “Khmer Rouge,” “Democratic Kampuchea,” “DK” or even “the tme of the Killing Fields.” I thought it curious, but accurate.

You KNOW I made a donation at that temple.

(The below is slightly off topic, though contains similar elements. See Wiki explanation of the song below the video...)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Cambodia Trip 1.4e

After about three hours at Angkor Wat, I was ready for breakfast. So was Bunleng! Throughout the three days, he would drive me to a different temple, wait for me in a parking area. When I rejoined him, we would go on to another temple.

My Cambodian friend had a deal with the Angkor Reach restaurant within sight of the south gate of Angkor Wat. I think he gets a free meal each time he brings in a tourist for theirs. Although the food wasn’t anything to rave about, it wasn’t expensive. Consequently, I didn’t do my usual of eating from roadside vendors throughout the three days visiting the Angkor temples.

After breakfast, Bunleng took me to the temples within the immense Ankor Thom complex, starting with the enigmatic Bayon, inspiration for the first “Tomb Raider” movie:

Much etter pictures of Bayon can be viewed by searching on "Bayon images".

Then, it was on to Baphuon, where I really had to watch my footing (as, indeed, I had to – to some degree – at each and every temple, as the irregular sandstone flagstones tended to hold wet, slippery mud in depressions – while I was at Angkor Wat, one guy had to be carried out due to a fall):

Here's a link to better Baphuon images.

We then went to Phimeanakas:

 Here's more and better images of Phimeanakas.

… and then, lastly, the Royal Palace and Pools area and Preah Palilay:

 Here are some much better shots of Palilay, many taken before the trees were cut (in order to preserve the ruins).

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Cambodia Trip 1.4d

My favorite part of Angkor Wat (the left side), which seemed to be the least frequented, also:

Angkor Wat 3 from Malcolm Gault-Williams on Vimeo.

… and here’s a map of the area of Khmer temples I visited in the Angkor Wat area:

… and some more images:

... and one of me!