During the Tet Holiday (Vietnamese New Year), we took off to visit Cambodia. It was a relaxing change of pace and just an hour plane ride from Saigon. We landed in Siem Reap and immediately felt at ease. The pace of life and attitude of the Khmer people was vastly different than the big city dwellers of Saigon. We got to the hotel and dropped our bags and headed to Pub Street for dinner and a drink. We took the local transport called a tuk-tuk. Two bucks will get you anywhere in the city. We relied on the tuk-tuk for all our travel while in Cambodia. The next day was filled with temples and many ancient wonders. I will leave the rest of this blog to the pictures with captions to explain.
Entrance of Angkor Thom, the biggest temple city.
Elephant and tuk-tuk going through entrance of city to give scale.
Moat going around Angkor Thom with stone soldiers guarding it since the 12th Century.
Monkeys on the wall of Angkor Thom.
The faces on each tower were amazing and gigantic. Each tower has four faces on the four sides, each showing a different emotion of Buddha.
I found the trees that have overgrown the temple as interesting as the temples themselves.
This is the compulsory "Angelia Jolie" shot. This is where they shot a scene from the Tomb Raider movie.
Below is Angkor Wat, much more famous than Thom, but I liked Angkor Thom much better.
After a bit of a hike we were treated to a great overlook of Angkor Wat.
After all the temples, we decided to go see the floating village on the biggest lake in Southeast Asia. While we were going out to the village. The boat driver let me take over the controls.
As we were going along the inlet, a boat pulled up beside us and a child transferred to our boat as were moving at a good clip with drinks from a cooler. He was selling them to people on the boats. Missy purchased a drink from him as she was impressed with the effort made to close the sale.
For Missy and I the highlight of the trip was the floating village. More on that later.
We visited a refugee school for Vietnamese who left Vietnam during and after the war. The children were very excited to see us, but a few were watching a video and were transfixed with the cartoons.
Everything is provided to them for free, we donated a bunch of paper, pens, and noodles.
Two fellow teachers. I think he might have the better job though. These kids were so happy and gracious.
I wrote the numbers 1-10 in Vietnamese on the whiteboard. This girl had to adjust my writing by adding the tonal marks which I have not learned, and she taught me how to write them. For me this was the best part of the trip!
It was very hard to leave the beautiful students, but I guess they needed to do learning or something...
Last stop in the floating village was at a crocodile farm. While there, two children paddled up in large rice bowls with pythons on their necks so tourists would pay a dollar to take a picture.
We finished the trip with another dinner down on Pub Street. Missy was brave enough to try the fish pedicure, she wasn't happy at first but relaxed after a few minutes.
Finally, we watched this man get out into the street and make muscles every so often. Not sure what that was all about but it sure was funny.
Well, that was the highlights of Cambodia. We went to Thailand for spring break and we will add a new blog for that soon. Hope everyone is doing well and look forward to coming to the USA in two months!
Bill and Missy
Below is a link to a video I made with the footage from the trip. It is kinda long, but give it a whirl if you want.