Monday, January 30, 2006

Angkor Wat

I just spent the last few days checking out the temples of Angkor Wat and hanging out in Siam Reap with two girls I met on the bus. Our first day, we caught motorcyles out to the killing fields. Choosing your driver is a little like picking your sports team in grade school. All the boys line up, hoping you pick them, and you have to select one. I chose the meekest looking of the bunch and immediately sensed that he doesn't get selected much because the group went nuts when I chose him, whistling and teasing him as he looked at his feet. I couldn't understand his name because he was so shy, so I started calling him Pirate because it sounded close enough. I later learned that it was Arat.

At the killing fields a young Cambodian boy asked if he could take his photo with me. I agreed and just as Kat took the photo, the little dirt leaned in to kiss me. It is a hilarious photo because
I dodged him just in time and am laughing as he kisses my cheek, but sadly I know this boy is going to grow up to be a boob-grabber. Do they breed these guys here in Asia or something? We then went to watch the sunset from the top of one of the temples. Driving home on the back of the motorcyle, we passed Angkor Wat and it was beautiful surrounded with mist coming off of the water.

The next day we toured a number of temples on motorcyles. I would try to explain what they are like, but I cannot even begin to explain how amazing they are. Even my photos won't be able to give you the feeling of how magical they are. That evening we were invited to a Chinese New Years party by a friend of the drivers that I had chatted with. The family was so generous, including us as one of their own, sharing a massive spread of curry, soup, noodles, chicken and booze. There were fireworks and karaoke and at midnight we hopped onto the back of our drivers' motorcycles - unfortunately I was wearing a skirt that was pretty much shoved up to my waist for the drive - for an ice cream run.

The damn drivers also taught me how to play a Cambodian card game. Learning the game quickly and loving cards, I was easily sucked in to play for money. After a few lucky hands I was doing quite well and then the Cambodian trash talking started - drivers tossing cards at me, booing and throwing money at me when I won. This winning streak was short lived. Soon I had lost $5 US - not much, but quite a bit considering that they were $0.10 hands. Every time I passed one of them for the next three days they motioned for me to come play again. They claimed to enjoy my company and had no interest in my cash (yeah right). I never did win my money back...

Our last day we toured Angkor Wat itself, spending hours looking at all of the intricate carving and stonework. Kat and I did fashion poses on the steps of the temple, modeling the ridiculous hat that her driver had given her as a gift. It was hideous with a massive red bow on it. She didn't want to hurt his feelings, so she wore it the entire day. That night we went into town for too many cheap glasses of white wine, the longest game of pool ever and a tuk-tuk drive home that ended with us screaming "Happy Chinese New Year" along with our driver to everyone and every dog (it is the year of the dog!) we passed on the road.

2 Comments:

Blogger blindmind said...

I apologize for your driver on behalf of pirates everywhere.

We are really a gentle, misunderstood people.

10:04 AM  
Blogger iforgetpasswords said...

Ah Della, we all know that you really wanted that red bowed hat for yourself :p don't worry, we'll get you one when we see you again! And need I say, "post more pictures!"

3:55 PM  

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