11.10.11 - Siem Reap Day Three - The Grand Circuit and a not so picture perfect Sunset.
This morning Lion picked us up and drove us to one of the lakes which sits around the outskirts of the sites of the temples, where we could have breakfast. The lake was beautiful and whats more, there were young children climbing the trees and jumping off into it. It really was picutre perfect. Marie started to tell me that she was raised in Quebec opposite a lake where she spent much of her childhood. In the summer months she'd swim and play around, and in the winter months she'd ice skate, and play ice hockey. My brain instantly went to the film The Mighty Ducks.... how cool would that be growing up as a kid. I can only imagine :-)
After breakfast we headed to the first temple of the day. The Grand Circuit incorporated temples completely different to the small circuit and as you can probably guess, being called the Grand circuit, they were farther away from each other. Today was hard going. With the heat and the constant climbing of the massive stones that make up the temples, up and down steep staircases to venture inside each of the them, 6 temples later and we were finished. Each were all magnificent in there own right. The first of which had elephants protecting each of the the four corners of the temples, all carved out of stone. Something i hadn't seen on any of the previous temples up to this point. Although it was super hot today, like yesterday, come lunch time the heavens opened and there was another downpour. We must have timed it better today for we were already in the tuk tuk with Lion heading to find somewhere to eat for lunch. As we pulled up, the walkways and the roads were already swimming in water. We ran into the restaurant and for an entire hour i ate my lunch whilst looking out at the rain falling, creating fast flowing rivers along the streets. It was so peacefall, I loved it. And my Fresh Fruit salad with yoghurt and museli went down a treat too :-)
Following my visit to Angkor Wat, and meeting up with other people who each saw the temples too, I'd heard strories that before I arrived to Siam Reap, the flooding was even affecting the templed areas too, not just the town like it was now. Some tourists had to be helicoptered out because they were stuck. Can you imgaine??!! Kinda cool though, i'd say :-)
After lunch and once it had stopped raining it was time to head for the final two temples of the day, the last one of which would be where we'd watch the sunset. Before that however there was the second to last one to go and I must say by the time it got to this, I was tired and started to get the 'all templed out' feeling. This particular temple reminded me of the pyramids in Egypt. It was symetrical on all four sides and had a grand staircase leading to the top on all four sides. At the front of the steps however, one of the carved lions which i guess is there to protect the temple was missing from one side. Not only that there were no other tourists there at this point either, it was just Marie and I. It was then that I saw my moment, for i felt that it was that time of day which needed a little livening up. So Raz seeing an opportunity I handed marie my camera and asked her to a picture of me. Probably a little disrespectful in some cases, but f*cking funny all the same, the opportunity was upon me to 'OWL' a temple at Angkor Wat!!!! The picture is so funny (well i think so) - Em and Ree Ree...... I think you'll both appreciate it more!!!! Ibiza girls all the way :-)
So after clowning around and explaining to Marie what the hell i'd just done, it was time to climb the 20 minute journey to the top of the hill for the last and final temple where we'd see the sunset over Siam Reap. Due to the rain and of course because it had rained so much, naturally there were loads of clouds in the sky. I knew that like the sun rise yesterday, the sunset tonight also would be picture perfect. Still - it wasn't and the pictures aren't great, in fact I got some better ones of the moon at the top of the hill, rather than the sun setting - but all the same it was yet another great experience, being sat around in quiet tranquil surroundings in the middle of a ancient temple which has so much history - I was very happy all the same.
After our day taking in the grand circuit and its temples, it was that time again - more shopping!!! Actually Marie needed to buy a bag so we headed for the indoor market this time around to see if there were different items for us to buy. I managed to get myself an amazing snide matching Louis Vuitton bag and purse for the bargain price of £18! Wicked!! Proper happy!! They're great copies too!! Also, the other things I couldnt get my head around were the snide Mont Blanc pens. Seriously these were exact replicas. How much were they? well my real one costs £150, these were the equivialant to £6! Looking back I wish i'd picked up a couple now. Happy with our purchases yet again we headed for another relaxing foot massage, we parted with our equivielent of £2.75 for an hours massage then headed to find somewhere for din dins.
We'd already spotted this particular place on our travels wading through the flooding the previous night, so although we had to do the same thing this time around we definitely wanted to head there since it looked SO good. It was the most picturesque looking restaurant, little twinkling lights in the trees, a pond with a gorgeous water feature in the middle, and a Cambodian lad sitting on the floor behind the biggest glocanspiel (or however you spell it) playing traditional Cambodian music. Angkor beer was the equivilent to £1, buy one get one free in the happy hour, so effectively 50p a pint and most importantly the cuisine. It was an open BBQ with the choice of every meat you can think of, vege kebabs, corn on the cobs, jacket potatoes, the lot. There were all the gross things to choose from too, like chickens feet, intestines, hearts, livers etc....but naturally I by passed this section and chose my food from the 'normal' section of the menu.
My god the food was the best i've had since being away. It was SO tasty...! One chicken skewer with peanut sauce, one beef skewer with chilli sauce, jacket potato and salad - guess how much.......... £1.50 for the lot!!! Seriously this place is so cheap. BUT the restauarant is proper up market and done out beautifully - I honestly don't know how these people make any money running their business like this. If it had of been £15 i'd have been MORE than happy to pay it.
SO after a belly full of beautiful food and Angkor beer, we headed back to the hotel to sleep before the final day of our three day temple experience tomorrow. Third time lucky we're attempting (and i'm actually praying) that we're going to at least get to see either a decent sunrise or sunset whilst we're here, so tomorrow we're attempting the sunrise again at 4.30am. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE be nice tomorrow with no clouds!!!!
After the last and final attempt of sunrise at Angkor, we're headed 45km out of town to visit the farthest temples and the also go in search of yet another waterfall. SOOOO excited!!!
PS Today is Tuesday which means i've been away for two whole weeks. 9 weeks to go!