Friday, January 4, 2008

Cambodia Recap Days 3-6 (Angkor Wat-Siam Reap)

Christmas Morning Sunrise...Angkor Wat, Cambodia

We woke up at 4:30...not quite sure if getting up that early would be worth it.
As we were riding there in the tuk-tuk, you could just feel the energy in the air.
It was REALLY exciting. Still totally dark out. There were loads of people though.
We walked along the corridor across the lake towards the temple and you could see nothing but stars. This place is magical. I hadnt felt that way in a long time.

I bought a SEEDED watermelon the night before so we would have breakfast taken care of.
I eat the whole melon, and since its been a long time since Ive had watermelon (Sept?) it caused major diuretic action. I had to pee probably every 15 minutes.
Its amazing how a food will affect us if we havent had it for a while.
Iris ate some of the red part, I wolfed down the rest. It hit me hard.

Back to the temples...

Here is a tip for whoever goes later on -

At sunrise you will see a LARGE crowd of people gathering near this pond so they can take pictures of the the sunrise. The funny thing is that they will sit there for over an hour waiting for it, while the WISE ONES will sneak into the temple and have it all to themselves.
The sun wasnt up yet, but there was still that warm morning misty glow,
so we could see everything we had to. No problems.
There are no-enter signs, but dont worry, its just to keep out people while its still dark.
Some other adventurous souls went in right before us, so we figured all was well. And it was.
Walk around the inside of Angkor Wat all alone at sunrise and tell me what you think.

A total heart-stopper. The magnitude is hard to describe with words.
Something this sacred has to be seen and FELT to be appreciated.

So on Christmas morning, I spent my time at a sacred Hindu Temple in the heart of the tropics.
PERFECT. I was SO separated from the idea of the Xmas holiday.
I couldnt have asked for anything more at that point.
I love being with family and giving gifts (WHEN I CHOOSE TO, NOT WHEN THE CORPORATIONS DO...) but Xmas has REALLY got to go. Puts people in debt, makes the lonely feel even worse, and places the idea in our head that we must act in that spirit simply during the holidays....ok, rant over. Give gifts, but when you want to.

The Gods Approve...

The day was just beautiful as well...perfect weather there this time of year.

Look at the craftmanship and the details...

We only spent one day there though...many people recommend THREE.
What you do is buy your ticket ($20 = 1 day) the evening before, at 5:30. You then go climb this other temple and watch the amazing sunset. Then the next morning you use that same ticket and start your full day. Honestly though, by 1pm we were DONE. It was 8 hours total. We could have come back to see the afternoon sun hit Angkor Wat, but I was pretty much content. There were so many more pics...these few dont even do it justice at all. The whole area is like 10km x we are taking about a really large area here. Be prepared.

It all started to seem the same, but we did finish up at Ta Phrom Temple...the one
completely overgrown with trees. MASSIVE TREES.
Nature overtaking me that warm-fuzzy feeling all over.
It looks like Im all alone here, but there are about 50 people standing in front of me waiting to get up there and take a pic. Christmas day...pretty busy.
The tourist mix was probably half-european and half-asian (Koreans, Japanese, Mainland Chinese) and very few others. Lots of Euro families for sure. Its just so cheap to stay there.

We did lunch at one of the restaurants nearby, and I did two big papaya salads and a coconut.
I think the total was $6. $2.50 for each salad and $1 for the restaurant coconut.
Its still cheaper than the water. I think I averaged about 5 a day while I was there.

A little scene from the place we stayed at...REAL bananas! With little black seeds!
Miss Chiquita Banana has got NOTHING on these...

The next day we did some market walks...bought t-shirts and fruit, and then did massages and some internet. A more mellow day so I dont have to really post about it.

We took the river boat from Phnom Penh the day before the temples and it cost $25.
You can take a bus instead for $10, and its the same amount of time. However, the boat was fun and I finally was able to get some sun worshiping in! Adios whitey!!!

We took the bus back though, and stayed over in Phnom Penh on the 27th. The next day we headed for the southern coast...the town of Sihanoukville (I call it S-town).

The next post will be on that area....and it was a great time too.
Our itinerary really worked out well. More to come...

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