Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Day 98

Momentary panic on today's first exit from the bus; moving between the warm wet outside and the cold AC completely misted up my camera. More worryingly, someone else in the group who has the same camera had his seize up completely.

Anyway, today's assortment of temples in Angkor started with Banteay Srei,
Walls_@_Banteay_Srei
then moved on to Pre Rup
Pre_Rup_2,_Angkor
and then to Ta Promh, famous from Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider films.
Ta_Promh,_Angkor Mossy_stone_3@_Ta_Promh,_Angkor Tree_&_building_6_@_Ta_Promh,_Angkor Carving_2_@_Ta_Promh,_Angkor TaPromh

Lunch was at a restaurant back in Siem Riep, and was frustratingly shambolic. Despite having oodles of staff hanging around doing very little, they still managed to bring the wrong food, or not to bring various orders at all, and then attempted some extensive overcharging. Our guide was actually planning to take us back to the same place for the evening meal (and a dance show), and looked stunned and confused when not a single member of the group wanted to return to the place.

After a stop at Phnom Neak Pean,
Phnom_Neak_Pean_5B,_Angkor
the last temple (and my favourite) was Preah Khan, where sadly the battery on my camera died a little faster than I was prepared for.
Preah_Khan_5,_Angkor Tree,_building_2_@_Preah_Khan,_Angkor

Preah Khan. Enter two girls on bicycles, stage right, carrying mechandise
Girl on bicycle: You buy two flutes for a dollar; you buy ten bracelets for a dollar.
Me: No, I buy nothing
Girl (cycling into the distance): Nothing for a dollar!
Me: Two dollars! Nothing for two dollars!
Girl: <giggles>
Girls exit stage left

We also stopped for some frolicking monkeys on our way out of the South gate of Angkor Thom.
Monkey_in_tree_4_@_South_gate,_Angkor_Thom

After we refused his suggested restaurant for the evening meal, the guide left us to fend for ourselves (unusually inflexibly for an Exodus guide) and so we ended up just eating at the hotel. This reinforced the impression that things at the hotel all almost work. There's almost hot water (unless you're too far along the corridor for the water pressure to reach); the restaurant almost serves food (unless, say, you're the third person to order fries); the bar almost serves drinks (unless, say, you're the second person to order a beer that evening). I guess that's understandable given the level of development in Cambodia, but I can't imagine that this hotel will survive long against the shinier, more professional looking behemoths being erected around the town.

Still, three nights in the same place is such a relief. It feels like I've spent all of my free time for the last week just shuffling stuff from one bag to another, preparing for whatever overnight arrangement is next.

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