Anthony and Erica on the road to Mandalay 2006 travel blog

Angkor Wat from Phnom Bakheng

Angkor Wat reflected

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat Temple

Second level of Angkor Wat

Monks at Angkor Wat

South Gate, Angkor Thom

Bayon faces

Bayon faces

Bayon face

Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm

Me in the Tomb Raider doorway (too hot for lycra)

Ta Nei

Banteay Kdei

Ta Som

Preah Khan

Preah Khan

Beng Mealea

Beng Mealea

Beng Mealea

Beng Mealea

Beng Mealea

Beng Mealea

Banteay Srei

Banteay Srei

In Angkor Thom

Monks, National Museum, Phnom Penh

Movie Clips - Playback Requirements - Problems?

(AVI - 1.95 MB)

Sweep of Ta Prohm

(AVI - 1.33 MB)

Sweep of Beng Mealea

(AVI - 1.69 MB)

Another sweep of Beng Mealea


The pics from today are added to yesterday's page. The pics on this page are sort of a 'best of' of my Cambodia pictures (all of Angkor, needless to say). This functions as a summary of my time in Cambodia, and to support those without the time or staying power to look through the seperate pages.

Incidentally, Holidays in Cambodia is a brilliant Dead Kennedy's song, the meaning of which is not lost on me. A bit of history: Heavily destabilised by American carpet bombing during the Vietnam war, Cambodia fell apart in the 70s. Power was seized by the Khmer Rouge, very hard-line Maoists. Within days 2,000,000 people were forced out of Pnomh Penh into the countryside to work there. During the three years that the Khmer Rouge were in charge, nearly a third of Cambodia's population were killed, including all the educated people they could find. It sounds very grim indeed, and amazing that the people are generally so mellow now.

As I said yesterday, Pnomh Penh is a bit rawer than Siam Reap. There are an awful lot of street kids, and women with kids begging. I came out the Royal Palace this morning behind a tour group, and watched as hordes of wheelchair-bound disabled people and landmine victims whizzed acros the road to surround them. Fair enough, in a country with no welfare services. Not sure I approved of the taking pics of them though. It is a bit wilder here in general than Siam Reap, for example, there are a number of rich young locals who tear around in either fast cars or huge 4WDs with little care for others, driving even worse than the other locals. Also the prostitutes are much more prevalent and in your face, as it were. However, people are still generally smiley, and I would say there was no atmosphere of menace or danger that I have noticed. As well as street children every ten feet, every other cafe on the riverside seems to do 'Happy Pizza', i.e. with cannabis. And you can have 'extra' happy too. Haven't seen that much 'happiness' since Tiger Leaping Gorge in China.

My pub crawl last night was interesting. In the first place this Westerner who was mad as a chicken joined me and told me all about how he could hear the CIA in his head, and that I was in the RAF, etc. I managed to shake him off by going to another bar, where I saw this Thai guy with his English girlfriend (admittedly unusual) come in, and this table of drunk ex-pats just assumed he was her driver, and offered her a chair, but not him. It was striking. And then in the last place I ended up playing Connect 4 with the under-employed bar staff, who won almost all the games. Now that's what I call partying.

So this morning, I changed rooms to one with a river view, booked a flight out of here and went off to the Royal Palace. The Throne Room was great, with an exotic and exquisitely painted ceiling, but the Silver Pagoda was a bit disappointing, not just because it is an inferior version of Bangkok's main pagoda, but because the silver floor was covered in carpets anyway. And then having found a place that I was 90% certain wasn't dodgy, I had the massage I have been wanting the whole trip, and it was great, and less than four quid.

Very chilled by that, I went off to the National Museum to check out the stuff. This is where all the statues from Angkor are (presumably until the huge new museum opens there). It was good to see them, and they were interestingly similar in feel to Egyptian ones, perhaps as they are also often carved from solid stone. And I ran into this elderly American couple I had met before at Beng Mealea.

A less chilled though quite fun experience was trying to pick up my passport from the people who were sorting out my new visa for Vietnam. I knew that bike taxis always pretended they knew where you wanted to go so they could get the fare, but I made sure several people were involved in lengthy discussions first. However, we immediately headed off in the wrong direction, and eventually I made the guy stop, and we had a bit of a heated discussion. Several people joined in, another guy was clear he knew where I wanted to go, so I dumped my original guy - who I was right pissed off with by now - and changed motorbikes. Off we zoom, with first guy in pursuit shouting at us as we weave at high speed through the Pnomh Penh traffic while my guy tries to throw him off, which eventually he does by getting mates involved. All very exciting, though in the end I have to make him stop as well and after another group discussion involving several maps and much cussing on my part, he rings up the place and gets instructions. He did get me back to the river OK though, and my plane ticket had turned up by then too, so all's well in the end and I'm all set for Saigon tomorrow. Couldn't resist a bit of roast lamb for tea tonight, and it was nice too. A bit of drinking and a comparitively early night.



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