Published: January 21st 2013January 21st 2013
A weekend ride
Taken on Sunday on the way back from Angkor Wat.
It's the weekend in Siem Reap and we have no school. The kids aren't so lucky, I'm afraid, because it's just another school day for them. ABC's & Rice is closed but the State schools are open and the kids are expected to attend.
We got off to a slow start this morning, in weekend mode already. Ginny had a few things to sort/purchase so we rode our bikes to Pub Street to get our errands done. The quickest route there takes us down a side street which follows the walls of Wat Preah Prom Rath for part of the way, 'wat' meaning temple in Cambodian. This is the oldest, continuously operating monastery in Siem Reap, with a history dating back 500 years.
The day didn't get off to a good start, when we witnessed a dog being run over by a van right outside the temple entrance. Poor Ginny was almost in tears, no doubt thinking about her own dogs, safely at home in Sydney. If you're a dog lover, don't come to Cambodia. The neglect of domestic animals here will rip your heart out. The dog wasn't killed but I think a hind leg was broken, and
Saw this cat peering through the window bars. Couldn't resist snapping his photo.
he raced, yelping, into the temple grounds. We saw him later under one if the buildings, but didn't approach him.
We walked around the beautifully kept grounds of the temple, took some photos and continued on to Pub Street. After getting our errands finished we went to The Old Market as we had been told we could buy pillows in the supermarket there. We both wanted to replace the hard pillows on our beds with new ones.
The Old Market, Pub Street and the surrounding alleyways are the hub of the tourist area in Siem Reap. The market is undercover, with lots of fans on the high ceilings to help cool things down. It's a dim, noisy, fascinating place to roam and the variety of produce here is mind boggling. This morning the market was filled with locals purchasing food. I couldn't name some of the fruit and veges on offer, and the meat stalls would convert you to vegetarian in an instant. Flies buzz over the tables, the stench of raw meat fills the air, the floor is wet with water and litter from the stalls is everywhere.
We eventually found where we could buy our
new pillows, which cost us $10 each. I also purchased a pair of much needed thongs and we headed back to Globalteer House. It was the middle of the day and it was hot!
Later we decided to walk into Pub Street for dinner. We left a little early as I wanted to look behind the walls of Wat Bo, further down the street from Globalteer House. Our walk coincided with the end of school for the day and the road was crowded with kids, scooters and bicycles, all jostling for space in the dusty street.
The entrance gate to Wat Bo is filthy, surrounded by hawker stands and garbage and I originally thought the complex to be unused. I should have known better. Wat Bo is one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Siem Reap Province and there are some beautifully detailed buildings behind those high walls. Not just a religious site where monks and laypeople come to perform religious ceremonies, it retains the traditional role as a Buddhist monastery where the young or poor can take refuge, receive an education in traditional skills and receive dormitory style room and board.
It's also a place where
These women were going about their daily business. Taken around Pub Street.
archaeological and art objects are stored. Apparently 1000's of objects are housed here including statues, ceramics, musical instruments, jewellery and even human skeletons. These objects date from the prehistoric to present day.
We continued on to Pub Street and enjoyed a meal at the World Lounge Bar & Restaurant. Every night five musicians, all land mine victims, sit together in the centre of the street, which is closed to vehicles at night, and entertain the crowds with traditional music. We stuffed all the Reils we had into their collection bowl, in appreciation. I rather enjoy their music. We returned to Globalteer House via tuk tuk after we had finished our meal, a good conclusion to another day.
The dust hanging over the town when I looked out my window on Sunday morning
was thicker then any I'd seen yet. For one crazy moment I thought it was fog, then told myself that would be too good to be true. How we would love to see a cleansing shower of rain. The trees and vegetation close to the road are bowed down with dust, I wonder how they survive with such a thick coating on their leaves. The sky
Waiting for our lunch smoothies, we laughed at this sign...
here is pale blue washed with brown, as we're looking at it through a veil of dust.
We poured over our tourist map of Siem Reap and decided to try cycling to Angkor Wat which is about 6klm out of town. The road was good, and so it should be with the number of tourists who travel over it, and we were there in half an hour. We took note of the entrance fees, hopped on our bikes and cycled back to town. We're not in any hurry to see the temples, as it's peak season now and they will be crawling with tourists. We have plenty of time and will wait until my daughter Petra arrives, so we can see them together.
We called in to a couple of big shops on the return trip. All expensive tourist traps, a lot of similar products were available in the markets if you cared to look. The exception was a shop full of beautiful hand made crocodile skin wallets and handbags. Delightful to look at, very expensive to buy. But hey, we were only following in the footsteps of Angelina Jolie, who's photo, which was taken in the shop,
This was Ginny's smoothie being made....fresh coconut!
is on display.
We ended up in Pub Street and decided to have lunch before heading back to Globalteer House. Fruit smoothies at the Singing Tree Cafe for $2.00 each filled the spot. Mine was apple juice, cinnamon, ginger root and banana. Ginny had coconut and pineapple. The lady who made them for us actually split open a coconut and poured the milk into Ginny's glass, so we knew they were made on fresh ingredients and they were very tasty.
Back to Globalteer House for a quiet afternoon. I actually had a sleep, and we stayed in for the rest of the evening. Neither of us was interested in going out for dinner so we ate whatever we had in the fridge, fell into bed and slept. Back to school tomorrow.
There are more photos below