Angkor What?

May 25, 2013 - Siem Reap, Cambodia

Since we've arrived in Siem Reap, we've been lying low. The temperature is around 38 each day and huuuuuuumid.  We booked a hostel with a pool and it turned out to be amazing. So we've been swimming and sunbathing and ordering drinks from our sun loungers.

The main reason we came to Cambodia was the for the temples, and they didn't disappoint. Everyone you speak to will tell you that you definitely need a 3 day pass to see them properly. I say anything over 5 hours traipsing around them in the heat is overkill and a one day pass is spot on. Unless you've got a degree in theology/architecture or are Hindu obviously.
We went to buy our passes the evening before and were permitted to use them to see the sunset that day. We walked up a hill to the oldest temple (you could have ridden an elephant there!) and mooched about, getting our first glimpse of the impressive Angkor Wat from above.
We set off early the following day and started with Angkor Wat. This was by far my favourite. It took 30 years  to build and man it shows. The scale of it is impressive and every single wall is covered in engravings  of hindu gods, the King who built it and depictions of heaven and hell etc etc. It was... wow.
We took in three more (Angkor thom,Ta Prohm which is overgrown by jungle and damaged by tree roots and vines and another I forget the name of)before giving up after a five hour stint and returning to the hostel exhausted.
We've also been to see an Apsara dance show, which is a traditional Cambodian dance. There are inscriptions of ladies dancing the Apsara dance on the walls of the temples dating back to the first century. The Khmer Rouge tried to wipe out the dance, slaughtering all the dancers in the 70s. But one survived! A princess in hiding! When she finally came out, she used the images on the temple walls to teach a new lot of dancers the 1500 positions of the dance. 16 years after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, the Cambodians watched their first performance since the start of the regime in front of Angkor Wat. What a nice story!
We've had some top food whilst on Cambodia. Last night we tried Amok fish which was coconutty and delicious! Fun fact, according to Rach, the Amok people are the origin of our phrase "to run amok" because of their aggressive fighting style.
It's our last day here today. Tomorrow I fly to Sydney all on my lonesome and Rach goes home :( It suddenly all feels very real and scary.
Ah well. Next post from down under!

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