Angkor Wat & the Tomb Raider temple

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January 30th 2010
Published: February 6th 2010
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We did our research for Cambodia in an Internet cafe on the way to breakfast in The French Quarter in Siem Reap. The French Quarter is full of nice restaurants, trendy bars and souveneer shops (not the ones selling keyrings and fridge magnets like Blackpool, but lovely carved photo frames and beautiful pottery. We agreed a day tour price with our Tuk Tuk driver from last night ($15 between us) and he took us to buy our day pass for all the Temples ($20) where they took our photo and printed it on an ID card. In Cambodia you can pay for everything in US Dollars, or in their local currency Riel.
Our first stop was Angkor Wat which is a temple complex built in the 12th century for the King. This is the only temple to remain a significant religious centre and a drawing of it appears on the Cambodian flag. We were amazed at the detailed carvings in the walls of Angkor Wat but we're not sure how they managed to do such a fantastic job all those years ago without the tools available today. Walked the grounds and came across a Buddha statue surrounded by graves and broken decapitated statues, very spooky. El thought this might be a graveyard for Monks, but don't quote us on that!
By the way I'm not wearing leggings and a cardigan on the photos for fun! When visiting Temples like this you must cover up as a sign of respect, no matter how hot the weather is.
Back in the Tuk Tuk we drove through the South Gate, past wild monkeys to Wat Thom where the Byon temple is. We had to climb some really steep steps and by the top we were both suffering from severe vertigo. The Temple was like a maze of stone buildings carved with lots of Buddha faces.
Our driver took us off-roading to find some toilets and while we bounced around in the back, I told Ellie this was my idea of extreme sports. I'm such a wimp. I would, however, love to do a Hot Air Balloon ride and was surprised that El said she wouldn't be able to do this (despite having done Bungee Jumps and Sky dives in the past).
We wandered through a forest with a thick layer of dead leaves covering the floor. Had our eyes peeled for snakes and other unsightly creatures.
Walked past an Artrist making stone rubbings of the carvings in the temples. We're on a tight budget for this trip so can't afford to be buying souveneers (not to mention our backpacks are bulging). The Artist litterally pleaded with us to buy one and I felt dreadful walking away not being able to help him.
Our final stop was The Tomb Raider temple where Angelina Jolie filmed "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" in 2001. I imagined how exciting it must have been for the film crew to be working here. Tree Trunks grow around the walls because the Temple buildings are so old. It makes a wonderful film set.
Back at The French Quarter I had soup for lunch in a traditional Khmer family restuarant, where children kept coming to the table to beg for money and food. Cambodia is our first experience of this in Asia.
That evening we went to Temple Bar & Club on Beer Street and I had another soup but hated it. My own silly fault - I hadn't realised "pork ribs" in the soup would come with the bones still attached! Had a nice mango smoothie though.
A French guy that fancied Ellie invited himself to join us and told us how he'd given up his finance job in Paris recently, and the French Government will pay him 70% of his wages for 2 yers or until he finds another job. He will coin in over 3,000 Euros each month and has no intention of finding another job in a hurry. He also said it's really hard for French companies to sack people because of their protection by the Unions, so for the last year he's worked only 2 or 3 hours a day and the rest of the time he spent reading or on the internet. Was this supposed to make Ellie Swoon?! There's nothing attractive about a lazy, jobless guy who thinks its funny to under-perform! He may have had a Finance degree but he has no common sense when it comes to ladies.
Then he launched in to a 10-minute speil about how he'd been feeding live ducks to crockodiles all day and appeared to find this story highly amusing. Anyone that knows me well can probably imagine I wanted to leap across the table and bonk him on the head with his ashtray.
Got home and shared a few orgasmic moments with Ellie under the covers... scratching our Mozzie bitten ankles.

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