Saturday, October 11, 2008

siem reap: day 3

on day 3, we were not as eager to jump out of bed as on day 2, coz we were really feeling the tiredness in our bones. we had to negotiate on who to use the toilet first, so that the other can laze around in bed a while longer. i forgot who won, but i think it was me! hehehe...

as we only booked the tuk-tuk driver for 2.00pm, we decided to take things easy for a bit and woke up slightly later. and seeing that it was already quite late, we decided to just grab a quick bite at our guesthouse's cafe.

this is my brunch: breakfast without sausages = USD1.50.
N's breakfast with sausages was USD2.00

after brunch, we still have some time to kill before another visit to the wat.
so we decided to run over to the old market place for more shopping! woo-hoo! :P

walking around the psar chaa, or 'old market'...

went down to the entrance of our guesthouse to meet our tuk-tuk driver. but before we climbed onto the tuk-tuk, N managed to snap the below pic. this has been puzzling us since day 1... one motorbike with licence plate and another without. when we asked the tuk-tuk driver (Aleang) abt this, he replied in his limited english that it's not a requirement. but why did some bike owners pay for a licence if it's not required? hmm...

with or without, both are fine...

on the way to the wat complex, we had Aleang do a detour to the post office, where we sent off some postcards and bought some stamps and cambodian coins (which by the way, is not in use anymore. now even their smallest denomination is in paper)

sticking stamps onto my postcards...

then when we hopped back onto our tuk-tuk, we were trying to find out from Aleang abt the kind of entertainment the cambodians have... and asked abt the kind of movies they watch. so aleang turned into this one of only 2 cinemas in siem reap to show us... most movies are local productions, with only a few rare foreign movies once in a blue moon.

this cinema looked like those that i used to go
with my parents when i was in early primary school!

first site of the day is Ta Phrom, the site made famous by Tomb Raider. well, i've not seen the movie, but moving around this place, i can just imagine the mummy emerging from its sarcophagus. yeah, it's THAT eerie!

the famous giant tree roots of Ta Phrom! at some parts,
the roots are literally lifting the stone structures off the ground

N caught me doing this! question: guess what was i doing?

answer: trying to take a photo of this tall tree lar! :P

considering these ruins are so old and crumbling, there were little measures taken to ensure the safety of the visitors. just a 'danger' sign and that's it!

enter at ur own risk, dun say we din warn u!

met this cute little local girl at one of the sites... her mother was at the entrance of the site peddling something (i forgot what. postcards or something) and she was just sitting on one of the stones doing her colouring...

when i gave her chocolates, she pointed at the battery-operated fan hanging at my neck, said something and squealed with delight.

showing her how it works...

then on my way out, i gave the little girl another piece of
chocolate and she sweetly presented me with one of her drawings!

at another site, there were a bunch of kids peddling these bangles... but no, we did not buy any even tho' they pestered us to. feeling bad that we didn't buy anything from them, we decided to give them chocolates too. these kids were a bit older, around 10-12 years old, and they can speak a bit of english. when they saw how cute our chocolates were, one girl, after getting one chocolate from me, boldly came up to me again and actually bargained with me for more!

holding out one bangle, she said, "lady, u give me one more, i give you free."

finally, we came to our final site, the icon of cambodia! after Aleang dropped us off, we were just walking along this path when suddenly we get the first glimpse of the angkor wat between the trees... it had a sort of a magical feel to it, as if we've stumbled upon a castle in fairyland!

at the east gallery, before stepping into the angkor wat compound.
we're to make our way to the west gallery where Aleang will be waiting for us.

with no budget to hire a guide, we had to rely on guidebooks to shed light on the myriad of stories depicted by the bas-reliefs on the walls... sometimes, we'll cheat a bit and hang around a tour group and try to catch the explanations of their tour guide... hehe...


after a while, it started to rain. luckily we read up
enough to know to bring along disposable ponchos!

getting ready to go up to the higher spire...

it was still raining pretty heavily after our tour of the higher spire... and because the steps are narrow and slippery, everyone had to line-up to go down in single file. actually there were many staircases, but only one with handholds.

waiting for our turn to go down...

clinging on for dear life on the way down!

anyone who's been to siem reap would rave abt the majestic angkor wat
bathed in
the golden glow of sunset... but i only saw a wet and gloomy angkor wat! *sigh*

ok, enough cam-whoring... get me out of the rain pls!

wet and hungry, we told Aleang to bring us to the nearest makan place... but along the way, we got worried that he'll bring us to some makan stall that's famous with the locals, coz we're still very cautious abt 'food hygine'. the worst thing to happen is to fall sick when u're traveling! but Aleang knew better and brought us to a thai restaurant just off the main road. i had fried rice and N had kueh-tew that looked a lot like our 'wah-tan-hor'.

but their mango kerabu was delish!


we saw earlier in the map that u can pick up at any shop in siem reap, there's a free cello performance, Beatocello in Concert, every friday and saturday at the Jayavarman VII Hospital and were very curious and eager to go see what it's all about

Dr. Beat in action...

turned out, it's a solo concert by Dr. Beat Richner, a cello playing swiss pediatrician who dedicated his life to helping the children of cambodia. his 'concert' is actually to entice tourists over to hear him talk abt the children of cambodia and his hospital. we were also shown a preview of his up-coming video on the passive genocide of the cambodian children and his fight for their wellbeing.

this doc is truly an inspiring figure. his hospital was built for the children, and treatments and medications are given out free. without any fundings from the cambodian gov nor any ngo's, his concerts are just one of his many ways to keep the hospital running.

concert poster at the front of the building

after the concert, souvenirs were sold at the front lobby
as a fund-raiser. so i bought this t for USD10

back at the guesthouse and done bathing... and since this will be our last night in siem reap, let's take a look at the shopping we've done so far!

mostly souvenirs and gifts...

N doing an inventory of the stuff she bought!