Even from such a fleeting trip it was hard not to be struck by the hardships caused mainly by war that this Country has gone through in fairly recent times. We saw some really sad things, kids begging in the streets and desperately selling trinkets at the temples for one. Yet, the people are so gentle, kind and humble.
We also were amazed at the every day life we saw in Siem Reap. The main mode of transport is the motorbike and the tuk tuk, making moving around on the roads let me just say "interesting"! We knew we were in for a few wild rides when on our first tuk tuk trip out from our Hotel, the driver pulls into the road going against the traffic!! He just kept ringing his bell and eventually just worked his way onto the right side of the road - phew!!! We also kept an eye out to see if we could spot the most people on one bike - sometimes whole families were piled on, amazing!
THE TEMPLES ARE COMING, BUT FIRST SOME FOOD
The Cambodian BBQ we saw looked really good so we gave it a go. They bring you a metal domed BBQ which sits over coals and it has a well or trough which they put stock into and add vegetables and noodles to cook. We had onions, peppers and basil but you can essentially choose whatever combination you like. Next you pick your meat or shrimp which they bring and you place onto the metal dome to cook. You will see in the pictures that they placed a chunk of pig fat on the top of the dome which greases the dome and helps to stop the meat sticking. The whole thing is served with rice so you spoon the broth with the veg and noodles over your rice and add the meat. It was really delicious and so cheap, only $10 US dollars for enough for 2 people. All washed down with a 50c local Angkor beer! Can't be beat.
THE IMPOSING ANGKOR WAT
It is a short drive to Angkor Wat from the town of Siem Reap where we were staying, by the time we got there around 8am it was already packed with tourists and tour groups and heartbreakingly, lots of kids selling trinkets and souvenirs.
I was stunned at how big the complex was. Built in the 12th Century during the heyday of the Khmer it is surrounded by a moat and it's five towers are surrounded by a maze of walls, walkways and statues all with amazing symmetry, astrological and religious significance.
It was fantastic (and hot!) walking around the complex thinking about how long those stones have been standing there and admiring the amazing feat of engineering.
THE TEMPLE OF TA PROHM
The roots of trees growing into and over the stones made the place really interesting and gave an almost etherial feel to the place. Whilst we were there they were actually doing some renovations. As with most of the temples there are so many doorways, walkways and ins and outs, just incredible. For more pics please go to the menu at the left side of the page where you can scroll down to Cambodia and then Tah Prom. I got some really good photos though I do say so myself.
LET'S TAKE A TUK TUK!
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QUAD BIKES ARE FUN
It took me a while to get the hang of it and so of course I was at the back, eating everyone's dust ha ha! We were out for about 3 hours and rode through some of the outlying villages and rice paddies. It was quite heart wrenching in places seeing how these people live. We had some candy with us and stopped every now and again to hand it out to the kids we passed (which were many). Again this was pretty heart wrenching and in some ways I felt a bit patronizing. The kids faces lit up though and if we stopped too long there would be swarms of kids heading towards us so we had to set off again pretty quick. We got to stop for a little break at a small village store which was very interesting too.
KIDS NOT IN SCHOOL
This picture I took is rather poignant I think, you have the tuk tuk decorated with a symbol of wealth and prestige and right next to it the sad reminder of what Cambodia has gone through and the dangers still lurking in the ground there. Still nearly 3 million land mines remain unexploded in Cambodia. A reminder of how far they still have to go.