Thursday, March 26, 2009

Angkor Part 2

Day 379
We both got a bit of a lie in because we wanted to see the sunset and therefore started later in the day.

Our first temple was called Banteay Kdei. Already the sun was high overhead and it was hot. We tried to stay in the shade as much as possible. Yesterday there had been a lot of kids around trying to sell things. One girl challenged me to guess the capital of Madagascar and that if I couldn't I would have to buy from her. We were a the major temples though and there were a lot of other tourists around. As soon as they realized that we wouldn't buy from them they just moved on. Today we were visiting some of the lesser visited temples and the kids were very persistent. While we walked down the path to Banteay Kdei a little girl (I later found out she was 10) asked me where I was from. I replied that I was from the moon. Without missing a beat she said "ahh, the capital of the sky. When will you be taking a space ship back?" She had me there and I bought post cards from her. Banteay Kdei turned out to be quite large and it took us some time to see it all.

We then had a very long ride to Banteay Srei and I got a little tuk tuk sick. Due to this we stopped for lunch before heading into the temple. Banteay Srei is considered by many to be the jewel in Angkors crown. It's quite a small temple but has by far the most delicate carvings. They were really amazing and I took loads of pictures of them. The whole temple had a rose tented hue to it as well that shone in the sun.

our next stop was the Land Mine Museum. This had been created by a former KR soldier. He had been drafted as a child. He had spent the last decade finding and deactivating mines, some of which he had planted himself. Many of these explosives were on display along with articles from around the world about him. With the help of his wife they he also started an orphanage for children with disabilities, many of the children living with them had been injured by uxo's. One of the rooms had pictures and stories of each of the kids. They were horrible stories of abandonment and hunger. One child had a withered leg and his parents named him withered leg in Cambodian. I could only read so many before I couldn't take it any more.

After the museum we went to another overgrown temple complex. Here we were pursued by several little girls. We tried to say no thanks and we tried to ignore them. It was just too much to take though. They were dirty and barefoot and all they wanted was for us to spend a dollar on some bracelets. I ended up with several of them. The little girls said that they needed the money for school, but here school is very expensive and there aren't many teachers. The little girls would have given their money to their parents to buy food. The bracelets were added to a scarf and a shirt I had bought earlier in the day.

This temple complex was really overgrown and magical looking. We only had thirty minutes to check it out though, the sunset waits for no one. At one point the heat really started to bug me and I had to sit down for a moment. Nicole said that the color drained from my face and that she was worried that I was about to collapse. I drank some water and then we bought some pineapple on the way out from a woman with a baby in a basket.

After a short drive we joined the tourist droves up a 15 minute hike to a temple on a hill. Climbing to the top of the temple was harrowing because the steps were exceedingly steep and very narrow. I don't know how I made it up there. Once we got up there we took in the view from several angles as the sunset. It was stunning. I keep saying that, but I am really at a loss of words.

For dinner that evening we went to a Mexican place and had some pretty good tacos. Before heading back I went and had a lot of tv shows and movie to my Ipod. I won't be able to go out much at night and these should keep me busy. I also stopped by the market to pick up a few things. Nicole decided to stay out but I was still awake when she came back.

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