Day 20: Temples Near Siem Reap
|land mine victims playing for donations|
We were up bright and early to visit two more temples. These temples were originally built on huge compounds, nine kilometres square, with a wall and moat completely surrounding them. The king would live inside the compound, with the nobles and wealthy landowners inside the city wall. Farmers and fishermen lived on the outside of the city wall and moat. We were grateful that we had started out early, as the temples were reasonably quiet when we started, but by the time we were leaving, the tour buses were pouring in with thousands of people.
|boat in moat|
The shopping here is lots of fun, and we returned to the market after our temple tour to do some shopping. Bargaining is the name of the game, and shirts that the shopkeepers couldn’t possibly sell for $10 last night were only $5 today. It seems that when the market is empty, the prices drop. We were so thrilled with the bargains that we got carried away and bought ten shirts too many!
After our swim and lunch by the pool, we headed out for our afternoon temple tour. Each temple is more fantastic than the previous one. I think that the tour guide plans it that way, just like a real estate salesperson! Save the best for last, and that is the one that you remember! The last one we saw today was called Ta Prohm. This was where they filmed Lara Croft, Tomb Raider starring Angelina Jolie. It is not at all surprising that she fell so in love with the people here that she ended up a child from Cambodia.
This temple had the most amazing forest surrounding it with a chorus of chicadas and birdsong that was completely entrancing! While all of the temples in this area had been taken over by the jungle, this temple had huge trees growing right through it. The archeologists have left it that way, because the trees are holding the temple together! Fascinating!
|Arlene in temple|
We went for a lovely smorgasbord dinner and traditional Cambodian dancing show. We sat beside a couple from England who are travelling all over Cambodia for 5 weeks. It is great to meet people our age who are living the vagabond life!
Tomorrow we are off to see the most famous temple of all, Ankor Wat. I can hardly wait!