Thursday, March 8, 2012

Angkor What? Day 2

After taking a one day hiatus from the temples (super easy to get templed out here.. even though they're AMAZING)..  My friend Chelsea had told me how much she looooved visiting the River of a Thousand Lingas, however it is a bit far off,... and so I convinced the guys I met the night before (an Irish Man and a Ger Man) that this was seriously the thing to do... "we can see Banteay Srei (which is the temple with the most intricate of details) and the river has a thousand lingas (phallic symbol of the Hindu god Shiva), PLUS there's a waterfall boys... you know you want to goooo (batting eyes).  Oh! And since everything is so far away, and so amazing.. the tuk-tuk is $30 split 3 ways, about double the price of a normal loop, but we get to see so much and it's supposed to be amazing.  Everyone's doing it... :-) "

So off we went at 9AM, it was super relaxed this time.. roll out of bed, shower (yes, I did), get in the tuk-tuk... AWAKE this time!  We grabbed some bread at a bakery to ease our headaches from the excess of Angkor Beer from the night before... and off we went with our tuk-tuk driver, Kesal.  He was awesome, constantly joking with us and talking with us (slightly too much at times, because we were still a bit cranky once we finally got to scarf down our lunch), he told me my name in Khmer means 'fruit of the gods', he also told me "I want you to come back to Cambodia, teach me English.  I want to learn from you.  Like your accent.  You use my tuk-tuk ::grin::".  He definitely helped us see SO much, loved him!!

He also kept mentioning monkeys.. and I just didn't understand, I didn't get how we would see monkeys.  He suggested that Tino (the Ger Man) save a couple of bananas for the monkeys.  I still didn't fully grasp the situation.. 

Our first stop was Banteay Srei, famous for it's intricate stone designs.  It is now considered one of the best temples because of this.  The stone also has a pink hue, which is different than all of the other temples.

Then, after driving for about 30 minutes in the tuk-tuk, we made it to the River of a Thousand Lingas.  BUT we didn't REALLY make it to the River of a Thousand Lingas.. we needed to 'hike' about 1700m to get to it, which wouldn't have been so bad had it not been 90+degrees outside!  We were pouring sweat, and all we wanted to do was swim and play in the waterfall.. which at first we didn't find and we were quite disappointed about... but soon we found it, and although it wasn't swimming deep.. it was definitely get wet and cool off deep.. and nothing has ever felt so good!  I still don't quite understand the fascination that Europeans have with Speedos.. I find it unfair that it would be a-ok for them to wear those at a holy site, but god forbid a girl wanted to cool off!!  I would recommend the river if you have plenty of time in Angkor... there weren't near as many lingas as I thought there would be.. and the river was quite small compared to how far you have to walk to get up there and how long the drive was... but it was still nice to get out in the woods and be surrounded my nature rather than children selling postcards!

Speaking of Speedos.. don't get me started! Wait, I'm already started!  So at a few of the temples, they are considered still holy.. or perhaps they were actually built for religious purposes rather than for the ego of a king.. but irregardless women had to cover up.  WOMEN.  It didn't matter if a European (stereotype, I know, I'm assuming) man has shorts that are shorter than the woman's beside of him (even though it isn't 1982).. SHE is not allowed in until she puts a sarong on or changes.  HOW is this okay?!  Also, how is it okay for a man to wear a singlet (tank top) and show all of his disgusting man hairs, but a girl cannot.  I'M OFFENDED!

And about those postcards.. children constantly run up to you and say "Postcards lady? 10 for 1 dolla'! ::flipping through each one:: Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei, Bayon......" they list every card, and keep walking with you, and you say no thanks, and they keep listing and keep walking, and then give you the sad puppy dog face because you don't want to buy any after they've listed each one they have.  Commence screaming and crazy arm motions.  Drives you crazy after awhile!
Tim the Irish trying to annoy this epic flute salesboy!  We tried many different tactics... one time we even had girl 4 go from selling 10 bracelets for $1 (which Tino totally fell for.. and while Tim and I kept walking, we eventually got this deal ...)  to getting 60 bracelets for $1.. and we didn't say a word... only when we laughed at Tino for getting t-totally ripped off!

Later, we visited all of the ruins on the red loop (Pre Rup, East MEbon, Ta Som, Krol Ko, Neak Pean, Banteay Prey, Prasat Prei and Preah Khan)... and these ruins were GREAT!!! I thoroughly enjoyed them.. there were no where NEAR as many tour groups and people as the Angkor Wat loop.. thank God.. I would have gone mad!  We were even able to enjoy a few temples totally to ourselves, with no one else milling about! Loved it!  A lot of the time, I just sat in a window sill and wrote in my travel journal while I waited for the boys to finish wandering around.. it just felt SO nice to have peace and quiet and taking in the surroundings while relaxing, feet up!

 Being sucked up by the elephant trunk:

To find out if we saw monkeys or ate monkeys, see the next blog post: Angkor What? Monkey Business

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