Sunday, 3 June 2007

2nd June – Angkor Wat & Ta Phrom (Tomb Raider)

2nd June – Angkor Wat & Ta Phrom (Tomb Raider)
Up early again and off by 9am to visit Angkor Wat properly. It was a perfect day for photos, being blue sky with just a few clouds, so we took full advantage of it. First we walked around the walls with all the many detailed carvings on them before heading to the centre where we climbed the steepest steps I have ever climbed in my life. When I got to the top, gasping for breath the thought of having to come down again was extremely daunting. There is a very good reason why this is one of the most photographed places in the world as we saw from the top. It was amazing! I didn’t think we would see anything better than we saw yesterday but the sights just get more and more impressive. After a few hours exploring we head over to the Angkor Cafe for a cool air conditioned lunch as we have all sweated a few pints and are hotter than we thought it possible to be.
As Vandy pulls into the parking lot in front of the cafe we are surrounded by children selling stuff. One little girl tells me she will be waiting for me when we have eaten, so I promise to buy some bangles from her when we come out. The cool air hits us as we walk in but it still takes us a long time to cool down, we are helped by the lovely iced towels they bring us – nothing has ever been more welcome!
As we step outside the cafe about 20 -30 children surround us like ants. I have promised to buy from the little girl so get a set of ten bangles for $1. No sooner have I handed her the dollar than at least ten more kids are clamouring for me to buy from them, postcards, bracelets, scarves and more. I changed a $10 note into ones but it is soon gone. Nick is not faring any better and Candace has soon spent her $5 too. The children hand us notes they have written wishing us good luck and telling us they are very happy to meet us – obviously phrases they have learnt in school. The lovely thing we notice about these kids is that they look out for each other. One older girl points Nick to a young boy and says we should buy from him as he really needs help. We finally extricate ourselves from the group with far more scarves and postcard than we will ever need (guess what y’all will be getting for presents!!) not to mention about 70 bracelets!! I think we all had a big lump in our throats as we got back into our tuk tuk.
On to Ta Phrom and the setting for the tomb raider film. Again an unforgettable place with sights we will never forget with or without photos to remind us. We are constantly amazed at things we are seeing here whether the ancient sights of the Angkor temples or the heartbreaking everyday sights you see just driving down the road.
Dinner tonight was at the Red Piano where Angelina Jolie (apparently) invented the Tomb Raider cocktail that is their speciality. We passed on that but the meal was fantastic and it was lovely to relax for a while on their balcony and watch the sun go down over Siem Reap town. This is the poorest place we have been to but it is actually the nicest looking in some ways. There are many beautiful colonial style buildings and nicer houses than we saw in Taiwan, which is ironic really.
Again we all went to bed absolutely exhausted and rather sobered by things we had seen that day.

1 comment:

Kev Hunt said...

I bet Nick was looking for Lara Croft everywhere......hmmm more likely looking for the Land Rover she drove LOL

Good to see you having a good time, keep the blog going

Kev Sue Mill and Jem xx