Thursday, January 5, 2012

Vacation mode engaged. Oh, and I guess I saw a world wonder.

Things feel different in Cambodia. I feel like I'm on a regular ol' vacation. Given that I'll only be in this country for about 9 days, I have about as much time as I had on regular ol' vacations too. Next I'll be in Singapore for 3 days, on another vacation in Australia/New Zealand, and soon after on a guided tour in Iran. I'm switching modes, from India mode to bunch-of-vacations mode. It's different and pleasant. But fast moving! Here's what's up.

Jan 3: finally leave Bangalore, land in Bangkok at 6:40AM, meet Jay and Raph at their hostel. Skytrain to Mochit Bus Station, bumble around until we finally found a bus to Aranyaprathet, eat a waffle, take that bus, pass Cambodian immigration, take a shuttle to the bus depot, get herded onto "the last bus of the day", stop somewhere for some unknown reason, finally get to Siem Reap.

Jan 4: sleep until noon. Get out and about at 2pm. Realize it is not worth going to temples today, as they close at 6. Find and take a cooking class.
Go to the market first

Raph and Jay cookin'

Raph is proud

Jan 5: Angkor! This place is so huge. I had no idea. It has dozens of temples. Angkor Wat is just one of them; it is the biggest, but by no means the best. Bayon is another cool one, mostly because it has big faces all over it. It looks kind of like it was made by aliens. Ta Prohm is the third most famous, mostly because it is sort of overgrown and was used in the movie "Tomb Raider." (really? it takes a movie based on a video game based on a woman with big boobs to make it famous?)

After those three, there are some other ones, like Preah Khan, Baphuon, and Ta Keo. When you're zipping through them all day, it's easy to get jaded. The LP says "don't do Angkor in one day!" and I think it's not because you can't, but because you'd probably get more out of it if you took a couple days. Well, one day is what we had.

My reactions? Well, I don't need to tell you that it was amazing and that you should go there if you're nearby. Everyone else on the planet is already there. It feels a little like Disneyland- timing your visits to avoid crowds, sweating to death, etc. But the temples are so cool, it's worth it.

Angkor Wat, and this photo is the highlight of my collection


Ta Prohm

There is a dinosaur there! How did the Angkor people know about dinosaurs?

Many more photos in the photos link above! Tomorrow Raph and I visit a school (Jay is ill; wish him well!), and soon after that we go to a beach.

Practical tip: generally you ride bikes or hire a tuk-tuk driver to see the temples. As Jay cannot ride bikes (you can mock him when he gets better), we hired a driver. His name was Sam and he was pretty good. His phone number is 107691328. Also, our hostel, the Angkor Wonder Hostel, is pretty great.



  2. Huh! That's a link to the Dead Kennedys song "Holiday in Cambodia", about how life's easy in the US but Cambodia is a place where "you'll work harder/with a gun in your back/for a bowl of rice a day./Slave for soldiers/till you starve/and your head is skewered on a stake".

    In 1980, when they wrote that song, that was life here! Whereas nowadays, saying "holiday in Cambodia" is like saying "holiday in Hawaii." Well, that gives me a bit of hope for the world.