Sunday, January 31, 2010

Angkor What?!

So we are experiencing some technical difficulties today. We are unable to copy and past the pictures into their right location. Please read the blog first and then look at the pictures that go along with our stay in Siem Reap. There are big spaces too...keep reading til you get to the bottom...where you are supposed to leave comments. It is pathetic how excited we get to read comments from you people!

Neither of us were big fans of the fish pedis!

However we were fans of the rock and roll tuk tuk.

A lot easier going up than going down. One of our scary descents.

A temple all to ourselves!!

The Ladies temple- a favorite!!

Ta Phrom- Another favorite!

What the Kates and Angkor Wat look like at sunrise!

Cool stone face in a temple

The gate going into Angkor Thom

Cambodia BBQ!

Barginign with the tuk tuk drivers. Kate had the flashlight and the map out. Lyn (middle) won!!

We are coming at you from the bus. Little Mermaid is painted on the side with all of her underwater friends. We wish we could tell you that the a/c is working,,,but we cannot. However we are probably only a few hours outside of Bangkok where we have a hotel with a/c AND a rooftop pool! We’ve got our fingers crossed.

On the bus today we have counted that in three weeks we have stayed in ten different hotels in 6 different cities- we are sick of packing and repacking!!

Okay we spent the last five days in Siem Reap. It is Cambodia’s most touristy city, however we enjoyed it very much. Our hotel was right by the market where we bargained away a lot of the stresses we would develop thorough the day. Our bags are getting bigger-and heavier. A few of the shop keeps would regonize us in our twice daily trips…however each time we only would spend about $5. Everywhere you walked people would yell “HELLO LADY! Buy something.” When you left the market the tuk tuk drivers would yell “Hello Lady! Tuk tuk?” or “Hello Madame, tuk tuk?” our favorite was “Hello sister. Buy something?”

Our first full day in Siem Reap was spent at the market, walking around a little, and at a very relaxing spa where we had pedicures and facials. We each had different experiences during the facial. Caitlin would calls hers one of the most relaxing facials ever, while Kate enjoyed the facial part of the deal the massage at the end was pretty painful. In Siem Reap there is the main street with lots of bars and restaurants called Pub Street (bet you cant guess where we liked to hang out). Every other restaurant seemed to be called the Khmer Kitchen or the Khmer Family Kitchen, or the Khmer Village Kitchen, or the Khmer Family Village Kitchen. We bar hopped our way down the street on $.50 beers- it’s a rough life we lead.

Wondering how we were going to get to the temples the next day, we decided to ask one of the ever-present tuk tuk drivers what their daily rate was. Before we knew it we had created a bidding war among a group of drivers and were escorted to the tuk tuks where each was showing off his tuk tuk. The drivers were offering us everything from free wifi and massages to air conditioning and free water. We made a deal with Lyn..the first driver we had approached. We didn’t know the name of our hotel so we hopped in and showed him where to pick us up in the morning. Then he drove us back to Pub Street for us to continue our bar hopping- Lyn soon learned if he ever needed to find the Kates he need only look as far as Pub Street. We should note Pub Street, the market and the Mexican restaurant witht hey best margaritas as Mexican food in all Asia were less that a block apart creating the perfect trifecta for us!!

So back on Pub Street- It was hot and none of the food seemed appetizing, so we settled a Cambodian BBQ restaurant where all the customers were cooking the meat fondue style on a little grill placed on the table. It was sooo good. We has chicken and beef and there is a broth around the edge where you cook the noodles and vegetables. We enjoyed it so much we returned the next evening to have it again. We sat in the same table and had the same waiters even. We suggest Cambodian BBQ to all who go to Siem Reap.

The next morning after a morning stop at the market, we headed out to Angkor Wat around noon. We had actually run into Lyn randomly on the street (Pub Street) and we were off. We bought the three day tickets that have your picture on it. It’s funny because in both of our pictures we have a “what the heck is happening” look on our faces. We got to Angkor Wat and after we pushed our way through the children selling cold drinks, guidebooks, scarves, and bracelets we were in! "Cold drinks lady!!"

Angkor Wat temple is the most intricate and biggest of all the temples and one of the best restored. It was much easier to access than most. Caitlin had downloaded a travel app onto the iphone and we followed that most of the time in the temples. It was really interesting. There were bas reliefs on all the walls that told stories of mythology and the king-gods lives. It was soooo hot there but we spent about an hour and a half wondering up and down staircases, through rooms, and outside the walls just taking it all in. As we got to the less famous wats, little restoration had been done, they were less accessible and we were constantly hoping over rubbles, climbing steep foot and a half steps and looking at piles of rocks.

Next we visited Ankgor Thom, which is really just kind of a village of smaller temples close to each other. Our guide books try to describe what it used to look like when there were millions of residents in the wat areas but we had trouble invisioning the wooden structures and homes they spoke of. We spent about another two hours climbing up and over and around that day…taking lots of pictures in the late afternoon heat. We ended up calling it a day and made plans with Lyn to pick us up for sunrise the next morning. Hello 5am!

That evening, while strolling around pub street we noticed these fish pedicure places set up. After a few beers we decided to check it out. You basically put your feet into a fish tank of little grey fish for 15 minutes and the little suckers eat the dead skin off your feet. We gave it a whirl and think we collectively lasted 1 minute 30 seconds . Other customers sat calmly and let their feet just soak in the fish infested water while we seemed to be the only two who squirmed and squeeled and actually felt fish biting their toes. After two quick pics we got out of there, paid the man $1 for our photo op and returned our feet to under a table at a happy hour.

We arrived at the temple with the massive groups of people just before sunrise. We had not seen that many tourists yet in our trip. We watched the sunrise over the iconic Angkor Wat.

It was pretty cool however not the super colorful or bright rise we had imagined. Once the sun was up we piled back into the tuk tuk and Lyn took us off for the further of temples. Within 5 minutes we were the only people in the Wat again. At the first temple we were literally the only people there. We had it to ourselves to climb up and down and over. (Going up is a lot easier than going back down.) Our next stop was at the Ta Phrom, which was in the movie Tomb-raider. The trees had kind of overtaken the temple, they were growing out of the stone walls with the roots wrapped all over. Next up were a few of the further off temples, and just as we were getting templed out for the day, Lyn returned us to the city for our night Pub Street crawl, schoolwork, and dinner. While Angelina Jolie and Cambodia kind of go hand and hand at home, not many people know her over here. However we did find a bar that had Laura Croft’s drink of choice and we found it to be very delicious. Cointriou, lime, and tonic…so good and refreshing. We have plans for stepping it up a little with some stronger liqiour and making a signature summer drink- watch out Dockside!!

As two rather clusmy people, we only had one spill the whole three days in the temples. Can you all guess who it was?? Going down a normal five step stone staircase, (not the crazy steep or high ones) Kate just wiped out. Caitlin remained standing! We don’t know how and she didn’t even know what was happening until she was on her side on the ground covered in dirt. It really seemed like there should have been in injury but so far so good. We bet the poor Cambodian grounds keepers are still talking about it.

It was really neat to see these huge wats build with such intricacies and no mortar or concrete holding them up. All of the temples were built over hundreds of years…some as far back ad the 9th century and the latest was in the 18th century. The Angkor period was when Cambodia was the leading empire in all of South East Asia and the kings were considered gods so they build these hugh wats to show their power, as mausoleums, and for other god-king reasons.
Our third day, we headed out late in the afternoon to visit the furthest temple Bantraey Siea. It is the smallest temple but has the deepest carving and is a different color than the rest- almost a pinky color. They have nicknamed it the ladies temple because it was so intricately built they presumed ladies must have built it because no man could have carved something so pretty.

Next up Lyn took us to a temple to watch the sun set….however there was still over three hours to go. We got bored waiting and envisioned what the sunset would have looked like and had Lyn take us back to the hotel.
The temples that day were about an hour drive outside of Siem Reap. It was pretty cool to drive through the country side and see the water buffalo in the fields. Lyn kept telling us how fast we were in the temples. But after a bit stone carvings start to run together. Althoguh we enjoyed each temple, the woman and the Ta Phram especially, we were quick. The majority of our time was usually spent waiting for Kate to climb back down the steps granny-style. To any future travellers outhere we would recommend buying the three day pass and going templeing for a few hours each day rather than cramming it all into one. You spend 3x the money on tuk tuks however its more enjoyable, and you can avoid the crowds and work around the worst of the heat.
A funny thing happened after we said goodbye to Lyn. We went to pub street. (We will continue writing when you get off the floor and back into your chair.) We hopped some bars, discovered skype calling, and had some Mexican for dinner again. Mid-Margarita the most intesting tuk tuk we have seen yet showed up….the rock and roll tuk tuk. Complete with a fan, picture slide show on a portable dvd player, and rock music we loved the rock and roll tuk utk. We jumped in with the owner and took some pictures and tried to convince some passerbys to book the Rock and Roll tuk tuk the next day to no avail. While we loved the rock and roll tuk tuk, Lyn will always be our number one tuk tuk driver.

Next we went to the local bakery to get some snacks for the road. 50% discount after 8 combined with the aforementioned pub hopping resulted in a feast for the long bus ride the next morning.

We haphazardly packed our bags and we were ready to set off for Bangkok. The bus was tiny and cramped but we made it to the border crossing nonetheless. It was hot, stressful and confusing getting through…but the biggest disappointment is that we left our boxed bakery goods on the bus! We almost cried. There were chocolate filled croissants, chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate chocolate cookies and all kinds of discounted deliciousness that we will never know. We walked across the Thai-Cambodian Friendship bridge and about 6 blocks to the Thai immigration statation and had about an hour wait to clear customs and then we were into Thialand!
Now we are still sweating our way into Bangkok where we will spend a few days before heading north to Chaing Mai and onto Laos. (Which the rest of the world calls Lao not Laos…fyi.) Until then leave the love!!


  1. hi Girls, I love reading about your adventures, stay safe and keep posting!!

    Katy McGowan

  2. ok those fish pedis were not what i was thinking. i thought a small little tub of fish, but no you are actually sitting in an aquarium. gross.

    the biggest news i have to share is that we won our first game!! we won by 4 points in overtime. im about to leave for another game, in which we are sure to get smoked.

    love you both! miss ya!

  3. you sure you didnt like the fish pedis? you sure looked like you did!!

    the pictures of the temples are amazing!!

    have a safe trip to Loa!!!


  4. Your photography remains incredible. Love how you were able to capture the detail of the ruins. I think its only fitting that the 2 of you had your personal tuk tuk driver. How long did it take him to figure out that Pub street was where you spent the majority of your free time??? I was a little suprised that it was Caitlin that didn't fall down the steps. Marianne had said the fish pedis were painful, did u not listen. Love your continued narrative of the trip, its not as good as being there with the kates but it brings the distance much closer.
    love you guys. Take care and keep safe.

  5. The pedicures look awesome! I want to try! And, you girls look really tan in the pics. I wish I was that tan (if only I time to go tanning). I love the picture of Curr bargening with the driver. She looks like she has gotten really good at it! Miss you girls! Can't wait to hear you tell all your stories, cause I'm sure they'll be EVEN funnier listening to them over a pitcher of margaritas.

  6. Hi girls, or should I say Ladies.. I enjoy your stories and hope you are having a great time.I loved the fish and I am glad you tried it. Oh the stories you will tell I am sure. \
    Take care, have fun, love to you both AP

  7. Looks like you ladies are having fun! I can see why you didnt like the fish pedis...amazing race i believe is keep a look out..they are always going different places....


  8. Ladies....the pictures are great...I saw that "cool stone face carving" on Google Earth when I was stalking you. AND, do I have to tell you how pleased I was to see that little LED flashlight that Santa left in your stocking memorialized in a picture!!!!! So happy it is coming in handy. You both look a little warm though, drink plenty of fluids - water would probably be a good idea. I had also been wondering about those fish pedi's, you saved me from having to try one.
    Sounds like you are doing South East Asia up right....continue your adventure!!!

    Stay safe...Love you both,

  9. Yay Katy we are glad you enjoy reading!!

    Bridget- we are super excited about your big win!!

    Lyss- lol we know you dont have time to go tanning- who has that kind of time! Cant wait for ritas when we get back!!

    Manda- glad to see you know how to access the blog- we didnt think you were out there reading it (ps your gift really did get left behind-opps but Stac is getting a sweet gift)

    Jay- the pedis were fab!! what would make you think we didnt enjoy them?

    Moms- we love ya both!! you ladies crack us up!!

    AP- cant wait to tell you all the stories in person!! in the next town they turn the electricity off at 9 so your lights are going to come in handy again!!