10.10.11 - Siem Reap, Day Two Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples - Small Circuit
So last night I slept like a baby since i'm rooming with Marie. Surprise surprise she also told me this morning that i spoke in my sleep again - oops!
We got up at 4am in order to get ready and head for the temples allowing us enough time to buy our 3 day ticket and get a good spot to watch the sunrise over Angkor Wat - The main and most famous temple of Cambodia.
The flooding has got worse in Siem Reap and so with so much rain, that brings clouds too - unfortunately, although a great experience, the sun rise over Angkor Wat this morning wasn't very good because there were too many clouds. just being there however was truly amazing and a dream come true. Marie went off as she realised that the sunset wasn't going to be picture worthy, so of the day we had together I was alone in Angkor Wat. This was perfect for me though. The one place on Earth i've also wanted to see and venture too and i was able to do it all by myself. The entire place is huge, and so peaceful. Birds singing and people talking to one another quietly in respect, it is truly mesmerising. I was there for 2 hours just wandering around Angkor Wat. Mostly walking, taking it all in - but often finding a secluded spot, looking out from this most amazing temple and doing lots of thinking. I found the entire temple to be very thought provoking. I also spent a lot of time realising how very lucky I really am! Happy and content surrounded by beauty and dreams. I was in my element.
I surprisingly didn't get emotional when the sun rose, but maybe that was because it was cloudy, I don't know. Maybe I was just in awe of the place and didn't really have much time to really take any of what was in front of me, in. We had two hours to wander around the temple before arranging to meet Lion back at the front gates. I decided I'd quite like to get breakfast from one the cafes outside the temple which of course looks upon it. My seat was in a position where I could see the tips of the five towers of the main centre of Angkor Wat, and I sat there eating my yummy ham and mushroom omlette, I suddenly realised that i'd actually made it here. I was actually looking at Angkor Wat. A dream come true. So here it was where I shed a tear or two with so much emotion. But tears of happines, without a doubt. The highlight and the most excitement I had for this trip and i'd made it come true.
As we'd purchased a 3 day ticket for the temples, lion had arranged for us to take in the sights of the Small Circuit today, so after visiting the main specticle of the show, we headed for Angkor Thom - a series of other magnificent temples temples which include The Bayon, Ta Keo, Ta Prom and Phnom Bakheng also including The terrace of Elephants and The Terrace of the Leopard King all of which were different in there own right and most amazing in there own rights too. Part of the small circuit also includes the second most famous temple which is famously in the Tomb Raider movie. Angelina Jolie, eat your heart out!
Photos to follow....
Bartering or haggling however you want to discribe it has never really been a strong point of mine, so trying to purcase a book on the history of Angkor from one of the looky looky men was quite a scene. He started at $8 so I said no, $4. He said this was less than he purchased it for, so $6. I said no, $5. He still maintained this was less than he purchased the book for, $5.50. i know it's silly but you find yourself haggling over 50 cents in this game., but in the end I actually felt sorry for him so gave him his $5.50. Great job I thought, Raz - at least you didn't pay $8. Wait for it, next stop at the next temple, guess what - the same book was being offered for $3!!! Raz you doughnut!!! FAR TOO TRUSTING!!! A lesson learned!!!
At the last temple, the heavens opened and there i was once agin sporting my ever so trendy bright blue poncho!!! Wit Woo Raz - you're rocking it! Thankfully we were on our way back to the tuk tuk at this point, but seriously the rain was like the heaviest i've ever seen. we were getting drenched even with our waterproofs on. Great, I thought - at least all the looky looky people won't be bothering us (since they're at the start and the end of every temple). Oh no how wrong I was! Without realising, and getting ever more soaked, one of the women approached me and before she was able to utter a word, I look at her and uttered ''Not interested love''. She stopped in her tracks and looked at me in amazement. She laughed and said, ''i've never heard that one before''. My response was... '' good - I don't want to buy a scarf, i don't want to buy a bag, I don't want to buy a flute and I certainly don't want to buy a book because some bloke over there just ripped me right off''. i guess looking back i was really stern with her. Wet, getting cold and homing in on the dryness of the tuk tuk she looked at me in horror.... I felt SOOOO bad - how awful of me!! Although to be honest, I think she got the message though for she simply replied ''ok layyyddddeeee' and walked away. Getting into the tuk tuk soaked and cold I realised what i'd done. Marie was laughing her head off - she couldn't believe it, and actauly neither could I!!! We laughed for most of the way back to the hostel at me being rude and flipping out at the unsuspecting looky looky layyydeeee.
Lion dropped us back and we arranged to start our day tomorrow later at 8am to not see the sunrise at Angkor Wat, but to see sunset on top of the hill, instead.
I was pooped after spending the day walking around all the temples in the small circuit, but after visiting so many lovely pattisseries in Laos I really fancied coffee and cake again. I hadn't seen any so far, so we decided to be uber lady like (not) - hitch up our trousers and go wading through the flooded streets of the town of Siem Reap to find a pattisserie. A sight for sore eyes I can tell you. I was however no longer wearing my sexy blue poncho but my hair and clothes were still wet and as we waded through it reminded me of playing in puddles when we were kids on the corner of Audley Way. Something so small but actually quite satisfying, fun and a whole load of childhood memories coming flooding back. The tuk tuk drivers as they watched the pair of us head through the water found it highly hilarious, I guess because most other tourists would't possibly do what we were doing. It was so funny!!! Finally we came across a beautfiul french pattisserie which was attached to the side of a swanky looking hotel - oh well - lets go in here. Illy coffee and a small custard pastry later and Raz was happy again - and dry!
On the way back - and yes we waded our way back through too, we found a small travel agent and we each booked our onwards journeys from Siem Reap for the next coming days. I decided to take the night bus onto Phnom Penh on the evening of the last day at the temples (weds) and Marie booked her bus ticket to take her to Bangkok Airport as the 4 weeks she had spent travelling SE Asia was coming to the end.
Marie suggested that once this was done we should head for a massage. Great idea, after just one day of walking around the temples my feet were already killing me, I had two days to go including the Grand Circuit tomorrow! A foot massage it was for me, and boy was it worth every $4 that it cost me. Not only the feet, but my calves, my thighs, my back, my neck and my head. 1 hr, $4 - bobs your uncle and fannies your aunt! Bish bash bosh - (oh and no happy ending either incase you're wondering?!) :-)