Great day yesterday - we took bikes from the guesthouse and cycled off towards Angkor Wat and the site of the temples. Awesome! It is only the state of the infrastructure at the moment which is stopping Angkor Wat from becoming as big as the pyramids on the tourist trail... though the time is very near. Incredible architechure and feat of engineering quite unlike anything we've ever seen.
We both had thoughs of the Inca pyramids as the closest to describing these great structures. We wandered about Angkor Wat itself and then cycled off around to Bayon which is even more beautiful with its many towers with smiling Buddha faces on each side. All the temples are surrounded by jungle and it wasn't long before the monkeys were playing along the walls and surrounding areas.
It was very hot and sweaty, Simon loked like he'd been in the bath fully dressed. One child who was trying to sell us water even remarked on it! Poor old Pants- everywhere so far people have been calling out to him or saying straight to his face "Your body very fat!" I have tried to assure him this is a compliment.
We cycled around past the Terrace of Elephants and decided to start making our way back to Siem Reap but went the wrong way- ultimately making the whole journey 36kms long!!
Glad we did though because we stopped at a village on the way for a cold drink and had all the children talking with us and so sweet telling us their names, Boi, Po etc. We took some photos and showed them the images and they were delighted. In the end I gave one little lass my head torch and she was absolutely thrilled- running off bare foot to show her mother. These folks have absolutely nothing. The children (even tiny ones) are engaged in trying to tout bottled water & post cards to tourists around the temple sites and,as in this case, at the road side)
In this case the road was very quiet and in between the odd tourist climbing out of a tuk tuk near their home in order to enter the temple compounds, the children sat about playing with each others hair or tugging their naked baby brother about from one adoring sibling to the next. They have no toys, no ball, nothing at all. The all waved us off when we set out again and we felt that if we ever come back we will definitly fill a rucksack with books, crayons, beachballs, small games etc. The journey was so lovely through the jungle and past the farms.
We stopped at another shack later and again were greeted shyly by a group of 7 small semi dressed kids. they hid beind the big cold box and peered over at us with big wide eyes. Simon drew a face in the wet caused by the base of his can of beer and they drew the arms and legs for the figure. Si videod them and showed them - the laughter and delight I'll never forget (even now writing this my eyes are filling up)
I think it safe to say - we absolutely love Cambodia. Today we're planning on cycling down to Tonle Sap lake and then tomorrow back to explore some of the temples we didn't get around to.
We've pretty much decided to skip Pnom Penh now - as we've heard so many bad things (even from Cambodians) and we can't be bothered with hassle and potential risk this time. Instead we're going to look into getting a bus down to Campot and Kep (about 20km from Campot) they are in south east Kep on the coast and Campot a river resort - quiet but mellow) We are due to enter Vietnam on 21st Aug (A week today) so hopefully we can bus it from Kampot.
Last night Simon had Cambodian bbq which included Croc and Roo... He liked the roo but not the croc. I didn't know they had ros in Cambodia!! So far we've both faced all our fears with dogs, rats (huge rats) snakes. Last night we sta having a relaxing G&T at the Foreign Correspondants Club as night drew down and watched the biggest bats I've ever seen leave their roosts for the night (I think they may have been fruit bats- huge things)
Anyway hope everyone is well- you're all very quiet!!!
BTW- sorry about typos and bad spelling- just not getting long ebough to re-read these blogs. Also quick note- apologies for spelling Khmer- Khymer in earlier posts. It is y-less and spelt Khmer! (as in: Khmer Rouge!)