Published: July 16th 2012July 16th 2012
Today we were on our way to the temples by 8.30am. Our driver, Preuk, told us today we would do, 'the Grand Tour', named so because the temples we would see were further away. We saw five temples in total, all were much smaller than Angkor Wat but still varied in size. After viewing a few our driver invited us to see his village, meet his family and cook us lunch!! On the way we passed rice paddies and livestock and it was obvious that this rural route was not visited by tourists. His wife and three young children live at his mother-in-laws house which was a wooden stilt house structure with an outdoor cooking hut. They also had several cows and chickens and grew their own beans and watermelon! We sat down outside and were soon surrounded by not only his children but many from the village primary school. Due to their young age they could not speak English so we entertained them by playing games such as the hokey-cokey and letting them play with our cameras which fascinated them!! Preuk sent his wife off on a 2km round trip for some pork and a 5 year old off to get us some beer!! He cooked up a great lunch and afterwards showed us around some of the land behind the house. This included a collapsed tiny wooden stilt hut that he wishes to repair as this and the surrounding land had been given to him by his brother-in-law. Currently he stays at his fathers house as he cannot afford the $200/300 it would take to rebuild the hut. We were very grateful that despite their poor financial state they were still so welcoming and willing to buy ingredients for our lunch. After about two hours we set off to see the last couple of temples. He had worked on the partial restoration of one of these for four years yet due to no more funding it couldn't be completed. As a result he was very knowledgable and led us around showing us tiny details and explaining about the restoration process. He seemed very proud.
After the temples, Preuk drove us to a photo shop to develop some photos of his family we had promised to send him yet due to his location and the postal service he wasn't confident it would arrive. We arrived back at the hotel around 4.30 and after spending a particularly hot day mostly in the sun we cooled down before heading out for dinner along the Pub Street. Following our meal we wandered through the Night Market, an ideal souvenir oppurtunity!! (Our haggling skills are definitely improving!!) Tomorrow is our last day in Siem Reap so Preuk is taking us to the Cambodian Cultural Village before our night bus taking us to Sihanoukville, an 11 hour drive!