“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Friday, October 13, 2006

Photos from Cambodia 5: Rest of Siem Reap

Wandering on the "Giant Circuit" around the smaller temples was a relaxing afternoon. I had my moto driver Chon (a young guy I picked up on the street!), who had the same name as my female moto driver the next day!
This is Pre Rup, the most similar of any I saw to the temples that are in Bagan in Myanmar. It still had the multiple levels, but seemed to go up much more than the others... good views over the surrounding countryside.

My pigs!!! I finally did get a pictures, though this is nothing near as good as the ones I saw. This bike only had 2 pigs on it, and I was taking it from a moving moto, so couldn't really get close up. Still don't know if they're alive or dead... what do you think? I would say dead because they're not really strapped in (and if I was a pig, I would squeal and wiggle). Then again, why would you want to carry around a dead carcass? I thought animals had to be bled immediately.

A lovely elephant guard at the temple Eastern Mebon. This particular temple was not so remarkable except for these elephants. I think I was on overload a bit!

Chon was delightful and dropped me off near what we thought was the northern entrance to Preah Khan, a great city temple at the far northern reaches of Siem Reap. I told him I'd meet him on the other side, and we left. After being pestered eternally by these children to buy something from each of them, I set off past the gates, happily taking pictures of the lovely guards in the sunset light.

So I go under the giant tower gate with some more creepy faces, and to my dismay, the entire pathway is flooded. No problem, I say! I roll up my pants and carefully wade in. I get more and more alarmed as it gets deeper and sludgier. Then I come to a little stream, flowing into the middle of this impromptu lake. It's 2 feet deep. I was happy with a little ankle water, but this was too much! I was in despair. What would I do? It was at least a kilometer or 2 just to go around to the other gate, and it was very close to sunset. I went back to the gate and tried to go along the walls. A little boy followed me, and said, just like in the labrinth movie... "You can't go that way. It's very far." So I went back out the gate, and wondered what I would do. Hiking up the road, the little boy said, "You can come on my bicycle... We'll share." I was dubious, and since he had no seat at the back, I thanked him and said I didn't think it was possible. He said, "I have another bicycle!" So we negotiated a price (50 cents), for me to ride the bike, and him to ride his with his little friend sharing, and off we went, this time to the real northern gate. In I ran, and bumped into, who else? My driver, Chon, who'd obviously heard by this time either that he hadn't actually dropped me at the Northern Gate like we'd assumed, or that where he had dropped me was flooded. What a dear!

So I raced around the now quite dark temple frantically seeing the two entwined trees and the huge Roman-like temple, that you see here.

Being out in the temples at dusk is an interesting experience. It's eerily quiet and there is no one else around. I suppose I should have been afraid, but I wasn't. It was just peaceful. The animal noises are that much louder, as the birds flutter overhead, the lizards crawl around to find the stones that are still warm from the sun. The other creepy crawlies rustle around me, retaking their world back from the tourists of day.

Okay, that's it for today. I need to go and explore Kuala Lumpur before my plane tonight. What an exciting city... reminds me a lot of Manila. I won't be climbing the Petronas Towers, because I wasn't getting up early to get the free ticket, but may just go up the other tower. I still have more photos to upload, but will try and do them in Bangkok tonight when I breeze through to pick up the stuff I left at Suk 11.

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