Sunday 26 February 2012

Last batch from Cambodia

Yesterday I went and looked at the Rolous group of temples, just east of Siem Reap. So yes, another big, photo heavy update... I promise this is the last from Cambodia!


First temple stop on this short tour.

Here's what it looks like.
So, it's an older base with some older towers on top, surrounded by newer temples and houses for the local monks.
Old and new.

Another one of those things! I think this is the base of the linga? Or something to do with it.

Writing in the doorway.

Another view.

Fake door, and rock stacks!
Now while I was here, one of the monks came up to me and started talking English. This was a bit odd because everywhere else in Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand the monks have ignored me or not made eye contact (except for the younger ones, rarely). I talked to him about where he lives and what he does and told him about how I'm travelling. He has been studying English at university, and also runs a small school under one of the buildings here to help the local kids learn more English.

Hun, meet everyone!
Hun showed me around his classroom and small library and told me it is all run from donations from tourists. He has a small collection of books in the library of mainly reference, some fiction and some globes and posters which had been donated from tourists. There was a small pad with peoples names who had donated money too (ah ha! that's why he started talking to me! No really, I didn't mind, I got to see all this!)

This is it, where he teaches. In the back there behind the posters is the small library.
He said he had only seen Siem Reap, never traveled outside of the area. He likes to look at photos from other areas, so I gave him a link to this blog of course! I gave him $5 to help out, but I didn't write in the book. What he teaches was in addition to the public school, so the kids do go to another school (if they are able too I guess) but can come and learn from him while he studies at university. I have his email address so I can clarify that, but I also have if you want to find out how to send him more things for his library!

There are donation boxes all around this temple to pay for food or other items for those that live there. But there was one other one that I noticed (well, hard not to).

Just near the stairs on the way in was a donation box for the nearby orphanage. Next to it were two very cheerful girls who would say hello to everyone coming in, they handed me a pamphlet on who they were. One who watched me curiously as I cleaned my filter and lens. Anyway, the orphanage is called PACDOC, and here is their website which has a bunch of other information that I can't be bothered repeating. I only donated $2 though, Hun got more cause he had a story and a tour (but then why do I feel I need something in return to donate?).

Now briefly back to more temples.

Preah Ko

Here is the temple, and a tour group that arrived at the same time.

Four of the towers and two Nandis!

New brickwork.


Old false door.

Nandi! (I'm calling him nandi now because that's how the museum was spelling it)
Then off to...


Last stop for this mornings touring.

A view over the moat.

The temple, sort of on an angle.

Ah the temple!

Elephants, looking out.

Reliefs. Possibly mixed up blocks?

Down the stairs past the stapled singha and out again.

Looking back up at one of the singhas.
And that was all. At this temple there were a couple of kids trying to hand people a flower, but they looked kind of dodgy, sort of. Not sure what was going on, like they were marking people with the flowers for something later on. I didn't take it but they're pretty persistent.

Also up the top were a couple of girls in school uniform going after tourists just repeating "one dollar" over and over again. They didn't try it on me but they went after most others. But they were the most persistent I've seen yet, just repeating it for minutes at a time while standing very close to someone. The touts in some of the other temples would try to sell you something at least, and only follow you up to some arbitrary point and then stop, but nothing like this.

There was another tourist there with a bag that handed out candy every time one of the kids asked for something. The look of disappointment was great, it shuts them up because they got something and they can't complain it's not money even though that's what they really want. Wish I'd thought of that!

Also, back at the tuk tuk you get people coming up and wanting to sell ten post cards for one dollar again. I said no all the time, but there was another tourist who showed interest, then everyone ran over to her to try and sell their postcards instead.

Yes... This was an odd temple :)

I got the tuk tuk driver to take me back to the hotel, and then pick me up again at 5 for sunset at Angkor Wat. Here were some photos along the way:

High speed pig transport.
Also on the subject of animal transport. I saw ducks hanging upside down across the back of a bike, I thought they were all dead until I saw the bike go round a corner and on one side all the ducks lifted their heads.

Typical human transport.

Angkor Wat Sunset

I was looking in the other direction at Angkor Wat when the light started disappearing, then I turned around and saw this. Argh! Clouds! Why you gotta ruin it!


I was the second last person booted out by security, so this is an oddly empty photo of Angkor Wat.

The eastern gate.

Over the moat. 60D takes awesome night photos, totally worth the upgrade.
Once I got back to my room I could hear this music from outside, couldn't figure out where it was coming from though, I heard it from the tuk tuk too. Then I went out to get food and found lots of traffic stopped on the road and this at the corner:

It was a short parade of 400 kids roaming through the streets with these giant puppets. 

Once they passed the traffic was able to move again and this is the mess that resulted.

Today I just stayed in Siem Reap again. I stopped off here:

And donated blood! I'd never done it before, and just before I left Melbourne I'd learnt I was AB+. There were signs up on the way to Angkor Wat that they needed that blood type. So I gave them some of mine! In return I got this:

Shirt, Biscuits, Coke, two pamphlets, AND A FREE STRAW!
I'm not sure I understood the whiteboard correctly in the lab, but I think they were all out of AB and A. Now they have one bag of AB+ at least... There's some info on donations up on the wall in the place. One graph showed that 1100 tourists donated last year, but only 400 locals. And another showed AB- to be the smallest amount donated (because it's the rarest).

(almost finished)

So for food recommendations in the Wat Bo Road area:
Chomno Restaurant: Pork ribs here. Awesome. Just across from New Aspara Market
Star Rise Cheese Sandwich: It's what the sign says... But get the Chicken Amok, excellent and only $3. All the other food is good too. But beware ordering when the boy is out there, he will get it wrong!
New Aspara Market: $2.50 Bacon and cheese sandwich! If you buy stuff in this place check your change when the old guy is at the till, he short changes you. The lady is no problem.
Upstairs Cafe: Good coffee. Cakes too but I didn't get to try them.
Mr Grill: The beef! get the beef! $4 for a big chunk of meat. But I'd get the beef slices to get more surface area for the sauce the put on it.

Also a story from Mr Grill:

One of the waiters started talking to me, just to practice some English I think. He could speak OK but forgot some words. He learnt English over three months with lessons from his uncle, and whatever else he can pick up when talking to customers. He told me he wanted to visit Sydney one day but couldn't remember the name of it, so he started drawing the opera house. Pretty easy to guess that one! I asked if he would ever be able to go there, he said no and then said that he only makes $40/month (in a place where I'm paying $5 for a meal..) but $30 of that goes to his family at the moment. He has only been working for two months so far. So I gave him a $3 tip (reaching past the $100 note in my wallet). Not sure if that's split with the rest of the staff (that would be better), if not, he got himself a lot of money in one hit.

Tomorrow: Thailand. Again. For the forth time.

Saturday 25 February 2012

Angkor Grand Tour Circuit

This next large batch of pics of from the Angkor grand tour circuit, (only those that I haven't been to before). Also I've been playing with the film simulation plugin again, they make look odd, or better, or something.

I caught this one as we were going through the middle of Angkor Thom:
Some monks visiting Baphoun

Angkor Thom North Gate

Much like the other gates. The only one I haven't visited is the east gate which I might try and get to on my way out of Siem Reap.

The gate.

From the moat next to the gate.

The tuk tuk driver kept waving me over and insisted I take a photo of these guys. Luckily their appendages were strategically placed.

Preah Khan

This is one of the larger temples in Angkor that I hadn't been to yet. Lots of stuff to look at here, this was one of the better sites that didn't have that overly restored feeling.

The walkway to the temple. No I don't need a guidebook. Or a cold coconut. Or a cold drink. Or whatever else it is you're selling.

Looking at the moat.

Reassembled bit of temple, waiting to go above the entry again (so maybe it does have a restored feeling)

Interesting architectural feature which I forget the word for.


Bricked in door.


The vietcong were here, so I heard a tourguide say.

A relief on a wall, notice the large scratched out images...

More odd architecture.


There's that guy again!

Similar to some of the reliefs that surrounded Angkor Wat, haven't seen it anywhere else.

Another Aspara.. Or maybe not, I only just learnt the word.

More relief.


Multi story building. Don't see that very often.


Oh hey, another doorway.



This all looks like it's assembled, what are the blocks on the ground for?

A.... something I don't know the name of. The book is out of arms reach and I don't know what to search for.

Rock garden.
Neak Pean

The pictures made this one look like a good small temple. There's a long wooden walkway over the lake that surrounds it, and you get to the center and find this:

Well that's as close as they let you...

Here's a tree.
After some lunch it was off to...

Ta Som

The gate.

Couple of cracks though this one. It'll buff right out though.

Lots of restoration going on in this one. There's the reassembled bit of temple on the left, and a worker not working in the doorway.

Tree over the south gate. Taken while being pestered by a girl wanting me to buy something.
Outside this gate too there's nowhere else really to go, but once you get out, ambush! People sitting in a large circle around the gate so you can't see them from inside, all wanting to sell you cold coconut or cold drink.

Path. (this is inside the wall)

More reliefs.


Fake window carving, and others..

Restoration work.
East Mebon

East Mebon is in the East Baray, and over in the west there is a West Mebon in a West Baray. The Barays are two big man made lakes but the eastern one is now dry and has a road to East Mebon. The western lake has water in it so you have to take a boat out to West Mebon.

East Mebon is made out of bricks, more like the Thai temples than Khmer.


See, bricks.

More bricks.

Carvings in brick. I'm not sure what the holes are for. In the larger block temples they seem to have them on restored bits. Sometimes there will be a metal staple between two brick holes to keep them together. But on this temple, not sure.

One of the corner towers.

Another mostly ruined one.

More ruined.

Elephant, surveying the lands.

More elephant.

Semi full temple view.

Banteay Samre

Temple entrance.


Inside the central part of the temple.

The center.

More columns.


Decaying wall.

Pre Rup

Another brick temple just near East Mebon.

A large brass statue would have lived in that hole apparently.

Looking back down.

Forest and temple.

The center tower.


Hmm. Interesting style here...
And finally...

Prasat Kravan

Not a big temple.

Close arty styles.

Inside the center tower.

Inscription in the doorway. Apparently the text refers to several different reigns and would have been completed at different times. But likely it was copied several times since then and replaced.
And that's it for that days touring. I had one more day in just a couple of temples to the east and some evening photos from Angkor Wat which I'm going though now.