Saturday, March 8, 2014

Cambodia: Temples Grandes

Honestly? There's so little I can say about the Angkor temple complex that I haven't already mentioned: it's vast, jungle-y, ancient, and absurdly intricate. It may not be as great a mystery as Easter Island, or the perfect geometry of the Great Pyramids, but it's more than enough for me to take hundreds and hundreds of pictures (which, by the way, are turning out pretty good! I LOVE having a smartphone!) and provide commentary so obvious that a manatee could have written it.

But let's be real... when did not having anything original to say ever stop me?

This is just a smidgen of the central part of the complex. For scale, Angkor Wat is 3 km wide.
Let's look at more pretty things that humans were able to do without computers...

Picture-heavy post ahead!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Cambodia: Siem Reap After Dark

The days were hot, but the nights were cool. So cool!

Siem Reap has, as I've noted, a substantial tourism industry, and at the heart of it (for the younguns, at least) lies Pub Street and the compact but energetic bar scene in the city's core. There are all kinds of venues, for all kinds of people, but the tourist and expat reigns supreme.

Sadly, we didn't go to a Cambodian bar (technically I suppose they're all Cambodian, but you get the idea), but the nights we spent hopping between western-style pubs an clubs were relaxing and fun - just like the rest of the city.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Cambodia: Angkor Wat Short Circuits My Brain

The next afternoon we secured a tuk tuk to Angkor Wat, which lies about 15 minutes from the city center.

You can buy passes for 1 day, 3 days, or 7 days. 7 days seemed excessive, but there's really just too much cool stuff for 1 day, including temples of all descriptions (those descriptions being square, stone, jungle-y, and headless), hundreds of square miles of jungle, ruins, and tourists. So many tourists! The 3 day pass, sold for 40 USD, was a good fit for our plans.

Tuk tuk tours are generally divided into two main offerings: the large circuit and the small circuit.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Cambodia: The Sideshow of Siem Reap

Our next destination was Siem Reap, which I discovered was more than just the gateway to Angkor Wat. The city was a fascinating place in and of itself.

After the speed boat ride, we alighted on a red, sandy dock area, climbing some crumbling steps past the throngs of tuk tuk drivers and children hoping to carry luggage and score a dollar. Getting situated in the tuk tuk we'd reserved (but paying an additional ), we pulled out of the lot and onto the main road, a gravel affair running along the top of a sort-of berm. To either side were planks leading to houses, which rose on stilts above the rice paddies and marshy land that led off into the distance.

Cool. Cool cool cool.

About 5 minutes into our trip I had the best surprise of my trip - Chris pulled up in a tuk tuk next to me! He signaled we follow him. I had the absolute honor to say, "Follow that tuk tuk!," and only discovered when we got back to Chris' house that he'd said the same thing to his tuk tuk, but wearing his Indiana Jones hat. Scout badge to Chris.