Friday, 22 January 2010

Angkor Wat (Part 1)

On the road to Banteay Shrei

After the exhausting day we had yesterday, we had ourselves an early night but what comes with that is an early rise (again)! After arranging a tuk tuk driver (Ti Ti) to transport us around the temples of Angkor with an American friend we made on the bus we caught to Siem Reap, we all set off at 7am eager to see what was in store. On the way to the temples we had to stop to pick up a day pass before continuing into the jungle. The tarmac roads were very well maintained and there were forests of trees that extended deep into true wilderness. We couldn’t help but imagine what it would have been like for the local people at the time of the guerrilla warfare involving the Khmer Rouge.
As we ventured far out towards the temple we visited first, Banteay Srei, we all momentarily skipped a heartbeat as we became confused by a loud hissing noise. It turned out that our driver had driven over a pothole and burst his left tyre. He wanted to continue driving at first, but we all came to the conclusion that he needed to actually fix his tyre. So he said, “OK! Keep walking along this road, I’ll go ahead to get my tyre mended and then I’ll pick you up on my way back.”
This was a great idea because we were able to stop and mix with a few locals along the way and gawp at strange looking items on market stalls. We walked past several wooden dwellings that were raised off the ground and some had notices up in recognition of foreign aid that allowed such houses to be built there. After an amazing half hour or so, we were delighted to see Ti Ti motoring back to us on his repaired tuk tuk. Off we went once more to continue our exploration!

Taking expert advice from Denise Heywood, we spent plenty of time exploring the mysterious Ta Prohm:

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