The bus journey to Siem Reap was pretty uncomfortable, the bus had lots of mosquitos on it, the air con was pretty pants and I had a dose of food poisoning on a six hour bus ride with no toilet it wasn't fun!
We had a group dinner as it was Long's birthday, I still felt quite rough so headed back to the hotel afterwards plus we had a 5am start in the morning to catch the sun rise at Angkor Wat.Long and a few of the others stayed out until about 3am, and boy did they know about it in the morning!!!
So I was up at five, bright eyed and bushy tailed and we took a mini bus out to Angkor Wat.Strangely enough owned by the Vietnamese Government, Amazingly the Cambodian Prime Minister sold it to them!Frustrating for the Cambodians who are so poor with a GNP of $14m, Ankor Wat nets $30m a year, but it all goes to Vietnam!!!
We arrived just after sun rise which I was a little annoyed about, the light was still pretty good so I wanted to get in and take some photos.The tour guide and some of the hungover guys were frustratingly more interested in coffee and breakfast!So I went AWOL, got some cool photos wandered around the whole of Angkor Wat in about 2-3 hours.Thinking we were at the site until sun set, I thought I had plenty of time for breakfast, so wondered back and had a coffee and an egg sandwhich.At which point our guide, the Cambodian Liberachy, came bounding over all a fluster, he had been looking for me for the last forty minutes. It turns out Angkor Wat is one of many temples in the complex that stretches forty square miles, who'd have known huh? Anyway, everyone was waiting for me as it was time to see another of the temples!Oppps!
The temples were absolutely amazing , the trees and wild life that have reclaimed the site are completely awesome.I could go on buy my lack of descriptive vocabulary limits me and I am afraid the photos just don't do it justice!
The following day we visited Chong Klens the largest lake in Asia, another site that the PM has sold off, this time to the Koreans, who does he think he is Maggie Thatcher!
Anway the lake was phenomenal and the residents that reside there even more so, they have floating houses, schools, shops, basket ball courts, churches the lot!The most amusing thing is the gardens, the residents would have a ramshackled floating house painted brightly, and outside would be a small floating garden, with flowers & grass, brilliant!I would love to have seen it in wet season when the lake almost doubles in size, reclaiming mile upon mile of forest.
They have an unusual way of dealing with their dead too, they take them back to shore, wrap them in their clothes and hide them up a tree, waiting for the animals to eat the body.If they are wealthy they return a week later and bury the remains, if not they just stay there until the wet season washes the bones away!
After a rather exhausting day sitting on a boat, we stopped at a hammock bar on the way back to the hotel.A cold beer, a beautiful sun set and a hammock what else could you possible want?Ok Sharing it with E would have topped it off, but two people in a hammock always ends in tears!
All over Asia I seen people clambering on the roofs of buses, piling 4 or 5 people of to a Honda Dream, and clinging on to the back of fully loaded pick up trucks.All of which is amusing and I have a few photos of the more obscure when I've been quick enough with the camera. But on the road from Siem Reap to the border I saw one of the afore mentioned pick ups on it's roof, 4 bodies at the side of the road, poor sods wouldn't have a stood a chance.Funny as it is to see a family of five on a moped, it only really sinks in that they only do it out of necessity when you see the consequences of it all going wrong.
So I am leaving Cambodia behind and heading to Thailand. I'm only doing this for the cool stamps in my passport you know!
Just to recap on Cambodia, it's extremely humid, pretty corrupt, the white man tax makes it quite expensive and the poverty gap is probably the worsed I've seen so far.
The people here have been through so much with the rein of the Khmer Rouge, but they are so proud, so determined, extremely resilient, friendly and happy with their lot in life.
From what I can gather the Government and the Royal Family are still very corrupt, with lots of links to the former Khmer Rouge. High powered official seem to have managed to sweep years of abuse, murder and corruption under the carpet and get away with it.A lot of people in the rural areas are still nervous, they won't build themselves nice houses as they believe they will be taken away. The country has come a long way in such a short time, but still has so much further to go.