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Published: November 14th 2007
Very, very steep temple. The carvings on the stones were never completed, so a bit more ordinary looking.
Day 2: We woke up insanely early to see the sunrise over Angkor Wat and then continued visiting temples.
Ta Keo: Really steep, steep steps. Some of the steps are worn down so a bit scary to climb up. I only went 1/3 up - I was clutching to the wall. J went up a little further and saw a small boy selling bracelets. He sees her and tells her to buy a scarf when she declines the bracelets. Before she can protest, he races down the temple (keep in mind it's really steep) and runs to get the scarf and climbs back up the temple to sell it to her. Good selling technique! Of course J had to buy the useless scarf from him. Pretty smart kid. They really know how to tug at your conscience.
My favorite on Day 2 was Ta Prohm. Tomb Raider scenes from these trees and ruins. Built over 200 years ago, the ruins of this temple is intertwined by trees. The roots grab hold of the walls and wedge open the stone walls at the roots thicken. The trees and roots feel alive at Ta Prohm. A bit eerie, but super cool.
Banyeay Kdei: This temple reminded me of Preah Khan because of all the doorways. This temple hasn't been restored very well. There are ropes tied around the stones on the tops of the towers. How reassuring. Actually, a lot of the temples had stone structures that made me hesitate. I didn't like standing too long under some of the hallways - some of them looked like they could crumble by my sneezing! There was a cute tiny girl selling postcards in the temple. She looked 3 or 4 years old. She kept approaching us saying, "Ten for one dolllllla, please buy." It's so hard to say no to these kids. They are very aggressive too though, which is a little bit of a turn-off. We saw someone give her some money and she walks over to her mom who is hiding behind some doorway and column. I refuse to give money to children because of this. The parents use the cute, helpless looking kids for begging and these kids won't go to school and will just continue to beg. However, it's possible that the parents simply cannot work, or cannot find jobs, and they have no choice. I don't
From the first tier of steps.
know. Perhaps a better way to give it to give them items - pens, crayons, candy? Sigh.
Srah Srang: This one isn't really a temple, but rather a man-made lake. Very serene and peaceful. It is thought that there was once a temple in the middle of the lake. We made a quick stop at Prasat Kravan after - had carvings inside - cavelike.
There are so many temples - it would take a week to thoroughly visit all of them. It is so fascinating to me how all these temples and structures were built. The architecture, artwork, carvings, detail and mere size of the temples are just really amazing. I can't imagine what the 12th/13th century was like in Cambodia was like - I wonder if it was the entire country working on these temples... what was it like? Nothing in modern times can compare!
After these temple visits we were pretty tired from getting up so early for the sunrise. We went for a late lunch down by the old market and shopped around. I couldn't find anything to buy but some postcards. We then hung out at Blue Pumpkin to write potcards and enjoy
Looking down (a little). I remained on this level, clutching to the wall while J went up a little further.
dessert and cold drinks and air-conditioning. It was pretty darn hot and humid. It's very dusty in Siem Reap - I wiped my face with a cool minty towel the restaurant gave me, and I could see the dirt. Yuk.
We stayed at Smiley's Guesthouse (in Lonely Planet) in Siem Reap. We really enjoyed the place - the outside is new, there's free internet, the food there is cheap and good, and the common area is breezy, cheery and bright. Free pickup from airport/bus station, and laundry services (not machine dryer!). The people there are pretty nice and helpful too. J and I stayed there 4 nights and had 5 meals there, and did laundry.... for a total of $100 USD! What a bargain. The drawback is that the water there is kind of dirty. We weren't sure if it is Siem Reap in general, or the old pipes at the guesthouse. Yukky, but tolerable.
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