Saturday, September 15, 2012

Around the Angkor WOW - Part 1

This is gonna be a long post. Not a long read. Just long because of the pictures.
It took me considerable time to choose the pictures for this post. Is there a limit on the number of pictures in a blog post? Harhar.
Enjoy looking at our happy camwhoring adventure! 

Despite the twister-like weather the previous day, Siem Reap greeted us with lots of sunshine. We slathered ourselves with a healthy layer of sunblock. For touring the Angkor Wat complex, I decided to get a personal guide. The guide is different from the tuktuk driver. Angkor Wat guides are licensed, and their standard rate starts at $25. Quite steep right? It is actually one of the most pricey expenses in our whole Indochina trip. But I read that getting a guide can really help you appreciate the Angkor Wat complex more; plus you get the chance to help a local. The most important advantage: somebody will take our pictures. Bousavy guesthouse provided our English-speaking tour guide: Mr. Em Khemra.

First stop:get our passes. We got a 3-day pass for $40 even though we plan to just tour the place for two days. A day pass costs $20/day. Pricey too. Lucky locals, they can enter the Angkor Wat complex for free.
Your pic will be taken here.

The first stop: The Angkor Wat.

Notice how cloudy the skies are, but the people still have their umbrellas out. It was humid too.
I'm not a history buff, but I appreciate the significant stories. In school, history is about memorizing the names, the dates or the sequence of events. We tend to forget those once the exam is over. When you are actually in that place in the book, I find it more important to learn How and Why? How were these temples made? Why were they made? Khemra kept us entertained with stories about the history of the Angkor Wat.
Set that camera in "Vivid Colors"

 This is supposed to be the sunrise spot. Kinda cloudy.
Trying out that Apsara hands

Monkeys roam freely.

No food!

You like the purple camera case, eh?

Think of all the angles, shades and tricks that you could do with these.
Trying out my favorite wushu pose here. (BTW, I train in Wushu Discovery)

Group shot!

In some parts of the Angkor Wat, a dress code is implemented. Khemra checked our outfits just before we left the guesthouse, it passed. No sleeveless, shorts and caps if you want to climb up the "Stairway to the gods". 

I chose to wear leggings, a tube dress in bright blue and a bolero. The leggings lets me move freely. If it gets too hot, I can take off the bolero. The bright blue color will let me pop in the pictures. Isn't outfit planning fun? :D

 My favorite Wushu pose again.

 Let us play with the shadow lighting effux.

If you don't set your camera in vivid colors setting, it will just look like, bleh, meh, rubble. Colors give the photo more life. It reminds me of The Wizard of Oz .

Or more like, the sequel: The Return to Oz. Dorothy came back to Oz and found out the Oz has been taken over by the wheelers.

Dorothy returns to Oz

Whew, and that was just one temple. One huge temple. Kinda surreal if you imagine Angkor Wat in all its glory thousands of years ago.

After exiting the Angkor Wat Complex, we had a moment where we couldn't find our tuktuk driver. Khemra spend some time looking for Ny while we had lunch in one of the restaurants nearby. Food is more expensive here - almost twice the cost. I think part of the cost pays for the food of your guide and tuktuk driver. Khemra sat down in a separate table with other tour guides.

Vegetable rice and mango juice.

After lunch, we found Ny again, Hoorah! And what a pleasant surprise: there is COLD water in the 'trunk' of the tuktuk - for free! You don't need to buy cold water. Repleted with food and cold water, we continued our adventure.

Hello there crane

I kinda have a fuzzy memory of the names of the temples. (I'll update this if ever I can recall). Khemra taught us a couple of his boxing-martial-arts poses. I tried one.

Some boxing stance. I still like my Wushu stance better.

An Apsara dancer with that crazy-painful hand position.

Bayon Temple

The standard tweetums pose.

The steps in this library (it is called that) are quite steep and narrow. I was still able to get up with my shoes, Sarah took her slippers off. My tip: Do it fast, quick but carefully. Don't over think each step. If you think you are gonna fall, fall correctly to the next step.
Up in the library.

This one also reminded me of the Return to Oz. I just can't find a pic online resembling this.

Orangey-pinky with the afternoon sun

Ta Prohm: The temple in Tomb Raider starring Angeline Jolie. Those huge roots are magnificent and scary at the same time.
We are Tomb Raiders too!

Some reinforcements

For sunset, we had to hike up for 20-30 minutes up the temple. A pretty easy hike, but still humid. Another option would be to ride an elephant going up there - for $20. No thanks, I'd rather drip in sweat.

Gah! So many tourists!

More steps

Waiting waiting

We were one hour early. We passed time by checking out our uber-cool pictures that day.

I have no sunset shots because THERE WAS NO SUNSET. BOOOO! Oh well, there's a lot of disappointed folks up there. 

Our guide, Mr. Khemra demonstrating that the scarf can be used as a nunchucks.
Whew! So that was our hot, humid and extremely fun Day 1 in Angkor Wat!

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