Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat1
Originally uploaded by ryanocerosk.

On Sunday, Trent and I woke up early in order to make our appointment at Wat Bo. Before heading there, we stopped in at Master Suki Soup, a wonderfully Khmer establishment with a modern twist. I ate a Khmer noodle bowl while Trent hit up the age-old favorite of bread and jam.

At Wat Bo, Trent went to his appointment while I explored the wat. I walked around but eventually found the shade of the trees much more relaxing. Some kids came over to sit on a bench near mine. I kind of wanted to interact with them so I pulled the oldest trick in the book: ignoring them. Sooner or later, I had Trent’s Khmer/English dictionary out and was trying to make some conversation. It was a lot of fun and proved to me that kids are still kids no matter what country you’re in. Trent eventually came out and we went back to prepare for the rest of the day…

We proceeded to the Angkor area (outside the city of Siem Reap). With a heavy entrance fee of $20, I really hoped the famous Angkor Wat would live up to its promise. It did and then the rest of the Angkor area blew me out of the water. What struck me most about this tourist area was that it was totally open. There are no specific routes or places that are closed, you can climb and explore all you like. And I did. The pictures probably tell a better story here but climbing to the top of Angkor Wat was insane. The steepness of the steps alone was frightening but rewarding. Other temples proved even more exciting, mostly because we did it in the rain.

Trent set out on a mission in one of the other temple visits. He wanted to find a very specific relief of his traditional khmer instrument. He told me that it brought tears to the eyes of his music teacher when he saw it. So, in the pouring rain, we went looking for it. After about an hour (and getting some directions from the monks inside the temple), we found it. It was maybe several inches in diameter but inspiring nonetheless to have accomplished our quest.

Trent went on to show me a few other temples of note including some that were not restored (and still have trees growing in them) as well as one with happy face sculpture work.

In the evening, Trent and I went to a “real” traditional Khmer food place, near the Siem Reap airport. We ate these crepe style dishes with vegetables (mine came with pork) and it was delicious to say the least. We ended the night lounging in hammocks at the restaurant talking the night away.