Sunday, June 08, 2008

Angkor Wat

Cambodia Time 3:38 PM Sunday
DC Time 4:38 AM Sunday

Last night was pretty magical. The five of us went to the world’s best Cambodian-Mexican restaurant called Viva. For the record, it seems to be franchised; we found another one just three blocks away. It freaking rocked. We had chips & salsa, chimichangas, tostados and fajitas. They were as good, if not better, than what you find in the states.

After dinner, we walked downtown Siem Reap which was hopping with restaurants and vendors. The highlight was finding an ATM that dispensed US dollars.

This morning, the group opted for the sunrise tour of Angkor Wat. Thy picked us up at 5:00 AM and despite the van breaking down and shuttling over in Tuk-Tuks, we were able to make the sunrise along with 1,000 of our closest friends.

Angkor Wat means “city that is a temple”. The entire complex is surrounded by thick walls and a wide moat which is supposed to represent the outer edge and ocean of the universe. The five-towered temple is shaped like a lotus flower and is covered with carvings that must have taken years to create. Every wall is adorned with carvings and reliefs that sometimes can be 10 feet high.

As we left we discovered a family of monkeys playing by the temple. The usually come out at dusk and dawn since it is coolest them. Thy said that many of them will spend the nights in the temple as well.

We walked around the entire compound and left at 8:30 am to arrive back in time for breakfast. After a quick meal of French toast and hash browns, we decided to venture into town for the old market. If you thought Vietnam prices were good, holy shit, you should see this market. Scarves and runners were going for $2; purses and tablecloths for $8-10. I bought two small paintings for $15. Even if you don’t want the item, they will cut the price in half just to have you buy it.

The Tuk-Tuks cost about $1 per person to get anywhere in town. They are fairly safe, though we still can’t help ourselves from leaning every time they turn a corner. It’s still the easiest way to go the two miles downtown.

This afternoon was spent lounging. Ceci seems to have made it to town though I have yet to see her. She & Mark went on a hike to some temple near some river. The girls are getting more spa treatments and I’m just taking it easy. We’re supposed to go on a sunset visit with Thy this afternoon. Since he mentioned $15 elephant rides, we all jumped on it though no one is really certain what we’ll be seeing. It’s been raining all afternoon, so we’ll have to see if this works out or not.

Tonight is our last group dinner and then we fly out tomorrow afternoon. I have a 5:30 PM flight out of Siem Reap to Saigon, then a 7-hour flight to Seoul, Korea and a 14-hour flight after that to Dulles. My guess is that this will be the last posting until I return.

I’ll probably take a few days off from blogging to catch up on things and overcome my jet lag. Thanks for following along on my journey. See you stateside.


Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

Have a safe trip home, My Friend. I look forward to your return!

9:22 AM  
Blogger Darren said...

Great job blogging the trip.

I hadn't read any blogs for a couple weeks, but caught up in the past couple days.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Hey Steve - just wanted to stop by and wish you a happy Father's Day. Hope you and your son had a great day!

9:46 PM  

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