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Angkor What?/Wat and the floating village

Whelp, I’m gonna try my hardest not to put a negative spin on Siem Reap because of our dealing with the police (Sean will post on this later), because in reality, we like Siem Reap. We really like it. It was dirty and crowded, tuk tuks and touts yelling at you from all corners of the road, prostitutes on every corner. Basically all the negatives, but there was something about the place. It had character and charisma, good food and nice people (minus the police!). Its hard to explain why we like it so much. So I’ll chalk it down to the fact that it was the first big city we had been in in two weeks, and there were all the creature comforts we could imagine. (including 5$ for hour massages, and $0.50 beers).

 

We arrived in Siem Reap after a hellish 8 hours on a public bus with no toilets and very little AC, we were exhausted and fell into the first guest house we could find. A cheap dingy place for 4$ a night. After settling in we went to explore for a bit an ended up meeting up with our friends Helen and Chris from Germany where we processed to drink a few too many buckets and dance on tables. Just another night at Angkor What? Bar on Pub street (unfortunately i have no pictures from this night… all are going with the laptop, tear.)

The next day we found what would end up being our home for the next week SokSan Guesthouse. At $4 dollars a night we thought it was a great deal….we were wrong, but that’s a story for another day.

The main attraction in Siem Reap is Angkor Wat, the largest hindu temple in the world. Made in the 12th century, it was the capital of the Khmer Empire, and basically a beautiful place to spend a couple of days getting lost. We even got up at 4am to watch the sunrise!

 

Almost all my pictures are now… lost (more on this later) so i will have to resort to pictures from a previous trip to Siem reap in 2009. Most of these pictures are taken by my dear friend Stacy Austad on our trip to SE Asia… so the following are not current pics, but it’s just an idea of the temples and sights we saw during our 2 days of exploring.

 

 

Along with Angkor wat, we also saw a floating village on Tonle Sap lake. A village of very poor Cambodian people who moved onto the river in floating houses many years ago for fishing purposes, and basically got stuck on the river after the property prices around the lake went up. Most of the people are stuck in the floating houses because they can no longer afford to move to houses on the land. Regardless of this difficulty they formed a pretty amazing community. Most of the people make money fishing, the kids play tag just like normal except they are in buckets.

There’s a floating basketball court, and schools. The families are finding a way to make it even though all odds are against them.

One of the highlights was a teenage boy that was guiding us around. He had his arm blown off when he was 13 because of a land mine (which is extremely common, unfortunately). Since most people in the city will not give him a job because of his disability, he is making money giving tours so that he can earn enough money to go to school in Phnom Pehn and become a teacher.

We were both floored away by the hospitality and friendliness of all the Cambodian people we met during our first two weeks in Cambodia. Even though  our laptops were “lost” (as the police put it), i’d highly recommend Siem Reap to anyone. Just don’t bring anything of value….and pray you don’t have to deal with the tourist police, because they are bastards. (sorry i couldn’t go all post without talking a little shit on the Cambodian police!)

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  1. Melissa says:

    I’m expecting to see a “my dear friend Melissa Noyes” reference sometime soon…….

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