Monday, July 6, 2009

The Ruins of Ta Prohm (Cambodia)





We woke up in Bangkok and were immediately on our way to the airport, in a taxi, with spinners.  The taxis in Bangkok are pretty tricked out, many our pink, some red, some have huge spoilers, and apparently, some even have spinners.  A 45 minute ride to the airport costs  about 6 dollars, a small price to pay for racer boy thrills.  At the airport we shared some croissants and a chicken baguette with mango juice that was so delicious it made us smile. The food kind of blindsides you over here with its quality.  You will be eating at an amazing restaurant and the food will be pretty good, and then in a totally different context, at the airport or on a plane, you will have a sliver of pineapple or a glass of mango juice that simply makes your heart soar.  It is so unexpected and random, though always exceptional.  


A brief aside.  At this point, we have forgotten what day it is.  I am blogging about yesterday, which is your today, we have changed time zones 4 times in the last week, and we have had it up to here with the cheap thrills that our malaria medication provides in the form of the unexpected dizzy spell. 


We boarded our flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia on Bangkok Airways.  The flight was an hour long and we were served a sandwich, thai wrap, fruit bowl, juice, water, and dessert.  Kristin's family recently flew from Dallas to Hawaii and did not even receive a snack.  It is crazy how much better the airlines provide for you over here in Asia relative to the U.S.  We took off with Fernando by Abba blaring through the sound system, which, on a flight from Thailand to Cambodia, is about as out of place as Joel Osteen in the octagon.  For the record, we landed to Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered."  The Siem Reap airport is small and very interesting looking.  On the way from our airport to our hotel, we were treated to the sights of Cambodia.  Motorcycles, free range cows, and a whole lot of smiles was the general fare enroute from the airport.  Our hotel, The Le Meridien Angkor, looks like a bad guy's lair from a 70's James Bond movie.  It is a cool building, but internet costs $60 for 3 days, and that really pisses me off.   


Cambodians suffered a great deal under the regime of the Khmer Rogue led by Pol Pot, and have just began to recover from the genocide of millions of Cambodians.  The Kingdom of Cambodia has had time to recover and build up anew and this is evident in the spirit of the people.  Cambodia has an extremely interesting history, at one point ruling most of southeast Asia from Burma to Vietnam.  During this period, the Khmer (Cambodian) people built some of the most amazing temple complexes in the world, and their capital, Angkor, spread out over an area the size of modern day New York.  It was the largest city in the pre-industrial wolrd.  This kingdom lasted from the 9th to 15th century.  They left the world some beautiful sights, and that is what brings us to the jungles of Cambodia.  We visited our first temple Ta Prohm, which has a sort of Indiana Jones feel.  It appears as if the jungle has started to take back the the temple gounds, with gnarled arthritic looking roots gripping the fallen kingdom's temple.  We had arrived right before closing time so we had the temple to ourselves, and since it had just rained, we had to navigate through puddles and streams to get around the temple grounds.  It honestly felt like a video game.  We had to assess the risk involved with taking route A versus route B, and then climb, hop, and shimmy our way through Ta Prohm.  Our driver had dropped us off and just kind of told us that he would pick us up on the other side, whatever that meant.  We struggled to find him, before reaching his Toyota Camry "on the other side," which was more like through 2 jungles, an amazing temple, a village filled with beggar children, and down a long road.  


Our next stop was the Angkor night market.  We left with bags full of stuff, and it only set us back about $40.  We had a spa treatment in the middle of the market with "Doctor Fish." We dipped our feet into a pool of water and hundreds of fish swam about and ate the dead skin off of our feet.  It felt strange at first but after a few minutes, it became exceedingly enjoyable.  After sharing an Angkor beer and talking with some locals, we called it a night. Our 4:30am wake up call loomed like an albatross, but to see the sun rise over Angkor Wat would be a thing of pure beauty.



A turbo prop in Bangkok - Air Bangkok




Some random goober in front of Siem Reap Airport, note Tweet in
side bag




The drive from the airport



A repair shop?



Our hotel - bad guy compound



Rear of our hotel, they always have people picking grass to insure
that only the best grass is growing



Pool Area



Self timer in the lobby



Our room



Entrance to temple



Walk to Ta Prohm



Luckily our driver provided umbs



Ruins



Temple and jungle



Temple Navigation like Tomb Raider



Entrance



A dark hallway



me



The Roots



A bas relief



Large Tree



Ta Prohm Temple



The travelers at Ta Prohm



Without us



Kristin the temple crasher



More Bas reliefs



Temple grounds



Overgrown entryway



Looks like hands grasping the past



This place is seriously so cool



Navigation



Road to village



A grass clearing



Angkor Night Market



Doctor Fish



It was really relaxing



Kristin's feet, eaten alive



Hit this with underwater camera



Kristin at night market



Cambodian Street at night






              

4 comments:

  1. You guys look like you are having so much fun! I love looking at all the pictures. I am sooo jealous!

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  2. Were you the only people out there? It looks completely desolate (which is cool). What is the temperature like in Cambodia right now?

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  3. There were a lot less people than we expected, maybe 12 at Angkor Thom, but it was late and had just poured. The temperature is very hot, and the heat is more uncomfortable then what we are accustomed to, even in Texas.

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  4. The roots entwined in an around the temples are just incredible!!The pictures probably don't do it justice versus seeing it in person. Kristin, I hope you got my email about the Angkor nite market getting me one of those scarves that you took a picture of.... Hey a lady has to do a little internet shopping LOL!!! Love you guys, miss you both, come home........

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