10/5/07 29 °C
After a 5 hour bus ride from PPenh I arrived in the bustling town of Siem Reap...gateway to Angkor Wat. Immediately it felt more like a tourist town and less like the Cambodia I had grown to know. Luckily a friend had recommended a charming little guesthouse on the banks of the river. It is run by a french Canadian lady, Michelle and her photographer husband. They came to Cambodia 5 years ago on their honeymoon and stayed....I can understand that. I have had fun exploring the old town with it's colonial buildings and bustling market place, however it was in witnessing the sun rise over the shadows of the Angkor Wat temples that I found an incredibly inspiring experince and one I will never forget. It rightly earns it claim as one of the jewels of South East Asia. My favorite temple was in fact not Angkor Wat but Ta Prohm. Undoubtedly the most atmospheric as it looks like it is being swallowed by the jungle and the most natural of all the temples. I spent hours clambering among the ruins, one of the local police men offered to be my guide and called me Tomb raider 3!
I also took a long boat out on to the Tonle Sap, part of the Mekong river system to see the floating villages of the Chong Keneas. You could not imagine how these river people live. It was certainly confronting in many ways. My guide, Bo, was 14yrs old and earns $5/mnth as a boat driver. I was the only person on the boat so he let me take over the controls... we stopped off to visit his family and had tea on the bamboo platform. Smiling was our only communication but we seemed to find a connection there.
My time here in Cambodia is sadly coming close to an end. I have a few more things I want to do before leaving and then it will be destination Laos....will be in touch from there,