May 032006
 

banteay srei banteay srei banteay samre banteay samre
(Photos for this entry can be found here)

We finished up our temple tour with a long ride out to Banteay Srei, and a stop at Banteay Samre on the way back. Banteay Srei was worth the long drive. The temple complex was fantasticaly detailed and they had done a great job restoring it. It was also worth the drive just for a chance to get out of the city and into the country side. A bit voueristic, but a rewarding ride, and a welcome change from the booming growth of Siem Reap.

Note to astmatics, tuk-tuk travel here can be a challenge. Exhaust combined with burning garbage and smoke from cooking fires is about the worst thing for lungs. But, you get a chance to enjoy the country side, the people, the smells (good and bad), and a much needed breeze.

Tomorrow morning we head out to Tonle Sap, a huge freshwater lake south of Siem Reap. Should have an interesting time exploring some of the river culture of Cambodia.

– Chris

Chris did most of the planning for this trip, and now that I’m here I feel like I’m taking an anthropology test that I didn’t study for. This test is open book, but the book is written in sanscrit and I’m guessing the answers based on the pictures. I always was one to wing it for the essay exams.

Today’s trip through villages was fantastic. I’m always looking to see how people live at their homes — not just what happens in the city. The dress, the cooking, the children playing, the cows, chickens, goats and such lounging under the stilted houses, the school children on bicycles maneuvering the most chaotic traffic I’ve ever seen, that is what I travel for. I saw a tiny motorcycle with two giant black pigs (at least 400 lbs a piece) strapped on the back heading for town (I think we ordered some for dinner), a family of four on a scooter, with the one-year-old balancing at the front, a four-year old riding a huge adult bike, an engine on wheels pulling a flatbed full of lumber with ropes for steering. Roadside cooking this morning included waffles being made over habachi, and last night it was roasted corn cobs and large bugs, cane juice, baguettes and fruit. Today we stopped for some sugar palm juice (the spear the palm fruit it and let it drain through bamboo all night).

I think I could easily adapt to life in a palm-thatch room on stilts with outdoor living room and kitchen — but not sure I could ever learn to drive here. It works, but I think it requires a sixth sense that I don’t have.

– Anna

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