Tuesday, November 06, 2007

It got a lot easier

Hi, it's Jenni

After leaving you with the story of our very adventurous and action packed entry to Cambodia, things have calmed down a bit. We've been here 3 weeks and next stop is Vietnam where we're going tomorrow, but first we'll tell you the best bits from the past 3 weeks.

Our first stop was Siem Reap which is the city where you stay to go to the Angkor temples. We think that telling you about them is really best done through photos, we've got some pretty stunning ones that will tell their own timeless story better than we can. They're definitely worth seeing if you're in this part of the world (although you could just watch Tomb Raider which brings them to life pretty well, with Lara Croft thrown in for good luck). But they were just beautiful, and had a great atmosphere that made Dan feel like a real life Indiana Jones! They were full of false doors, mystical statues, strange stone urns and huge roots growing through it all, reminding that the temples had been lost and forgotten in the jungle for hundreds of years. All in all, great!

We thought that several of the smaller & less famous temples were more cool than Angkor Wat itself, which has been very well restored, which unfortunately seems to have taken away some of its charm. If you're visiting the Angkor temples, make sure you give yourself enough time at the other temples that are a lot more fun to walk around and explore, such as Ta Prohm (where Tomb Raider was filmed), Ta Som (which we thought was very Indiana Jones-esque), Bayon (with huge faces carved onto its sides), Banteay Kdei etc.

Unfortunately, Dan fell ill after the first day at Angkor temples (we had a 3 day pass), and the poor thing seemed to really have the flu - his symptoms matched the ones you get if you have Dengue fever, Malaria, or Bird Flu, but whatever it was, he's fine now! But that will explain why there's not that many photos of him from the temples, he was just too snotty ;) We did manage to go out every day though so we got to see all the ones we had planned, and even managed to see the sun rise over Angkor Wat.

The next stop was the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh where we fell in love with a new fruit - pomelos. They're massive and basically taste like a cross between grapefruit and orange, they're almost the size of a football! And Dan's not allergic, so that helps too. We also went to see a killing field near the city, which is one of the places they were doing the mass murdering during the Pol Pot regime. It was a very sobering and harrowing experience, there was a huge hollow monument that is filled with the skulls of some of the victims, and you could see where they had dug up some of the mass graves. Here and there you could see clothes, teeth, and bones scattered across the earth. Nowadays it's a peaceful and beautiful place, but that didn't make it much easier to cope with.

In Phnom Penh we also visited the National Museum. If you're coming here anytime soon, you might as well miss it because they've taken all the best bits to an exhibition in Switzerland so we didn't think there was that much to see.

For last week we went to the South coast to Sihanouksville, which is a beach resort with pretty beaches and some very happening parties and cheap alcohol in the beachside bars. We stayed at a guesthouse run by a French lady, and the restaurant attached to it served some looovely French food, which was a very welcome break!

Cambodia used to be a French colony, and the French influence runs through the whole country. Very importantly, you get fresh and very yummy french bread everywhere :) Also, they brought with them some lovely architecture, so there's pretty and colourful colonial stone buildings popping up even in the middle of the rice paddy fields!

Tonight is our last Cambodian evening, tomorrow morning we're off to Vietnam on a 4 day Mekong Delta tour. We'll visit some of the smaller places with their floating markets and stilted houses, and will end in Hoi Chi Minh City (Saigon). We're very excited and look forward to the next border crossing, which just has to be easier than the previous one we did. You'll be pleased to know that we already have our visas, so there shouldn't be any more arguments!

Thank you once again for your comments, they're such fun to read and we really look forward to getting them!

Lots of love,
Jenni & Dan