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Portrait at the Bayon

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Khmer girl wearing a kramas

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Nature ruled at Ta Prohm

SIEM REAP     The travel brochures lied about the boats to Siem Reap.  They were floating prisons!  I opted to ride on the top deck.  Fortunately, I was next to a rolled mattress which made the five hour ride so much more comfortable.  Unfortunately, I burned to a lobster crisp.  The ride was scenic along the channel but when the boat hit the lake, all I saw was water. 

As the ride ended I saw  the dock lined with guides, taxi drivers, and guest house representatives.  Someone held a sign with my name on it -- a first!  A man on the docks in Phnom Penh had gotten my name and called ahead.   I opted for ease and fled the madness. 

I got a sunset peek at Angkor Wat even though my three day $40 pass began the next day. 

The official tour started with the petit route and the Bayon.  It was 49 towers projecting 172 gargantuan faces of Avalokitesvara.  The relief carvings of 11,000 figures showed everyday life of twelfth century Cambodia. 

Past the Avenue of Victory and the Victory Gate I came to the twelfth century Buddhist temple Ta Prohm.  This temple area was best know for being over grown by the jungle.  Amazing trees and root systems had taken over.

Angkor Wat  was build to honor Vishnu.  The sandstone to build it was floated down the Siem Reap River on boats by multiplied thousands of prisoners of war.  Nothing I'd visited anywhere in the world compared. 

I took the grand route on the following day.  I must say it didn't compare to the previous trip.  After seeing Angkor Wat and the Bayon, everything else paled in comparison. 

The boat trip back to the capital was uneventful.  I  tried to keep out of the sun and slept.   In five hours I was at the capital with Vuth waiting at the pier.  Soon, I was back in the hotel, showered, and enjoying the air conditioning.

Copyright 1998 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.