Ancient Buddhist ruins largely referred to by everyone as the "Tomb Raider" temple. So instead of pondering ancient cultures, feel free to instead think of a terrible movie staring Anglina Jolie.
I was about to leave and get dinner when the monsoon rains hit. It's hard to move around in that much water pouring from the sky, so I'm waiting it out. Also, I'm pretty glad I packed my waterproof hiking boots as my new hotel (just checked into this one today) is fairly hidden away down some pretty muddy side streets. But it's a nice place and I'm the only resident here, at the moment. They just renovated (the name of the place is: Secrets Pavilion Urban Boutique Hotel). I get the pool, bar and outdoor dining area all to myself. I'm enjoying it. Especially having the pool... Fantastic.
Last night, I checked into a crappy hotel (this is the consequence of "winging it" on my part) and after seeing Angkor Wat (not for the last time on this trip), got a fish pedicure and food at the Night Market. Then took a nap and went out again around 10pm. Completely forgetting it was Halloween.
All I can say is, Siem Reap, you do know how to get down. I was pretty awed by the display of hedonistic partying I saw on Pub Street last night and it deserves a video or two for you to really see it as well. Anyway, it was fun for a bit, I tood the advice of some friends and sought out more dignified destinations. Miss Wong's bar is pretty stylish and I recommend...also it's in a quieter little alley where the grownups can go and leave the kids to their house music elsewhere.
Here's what I mean:
My driver, Mr. Lee, suggested the "Tomb Raider" temple today. Ok, sure. I've never seen the Tomb Raider movie, nor do I ever intend to in this lifetime. Not much of a gamer. It's based on a video game, right? Anyway, don't really care. But the place itself, having been built far, far, far before people sat in front of their TVs for hours on end playing games, had its allure for me. It was built 11 or 12th century and unlike Ankgor Wat (which is Hindu), it's Buddhist. It's surmised that it was a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university.
All I can say is it's very peaceful and awe inspriring. That is until you enounter a group of Russian tourists also exploring this ancient place in a much different way than you are, complete with one of the women yelling at her husband in Russian and him yelling back. Her three Russian girlfriends took her side (all dressed in expensive dresses and one had heels? Long nails, bad attitudes all of them...). The parrots above us being startled out of the trees by a cacophany louder than even they could produce. And parrots are loud. Took me a few video takes to get rid of them and capture the sounds of the jungle instead.
This trip; if it wasn't the Russian toursits or the drunk Germans who annoyed me, it was also the Americans. I even saw one US guy at Ankgor Wat stroll right past a large sign that tells everyone NOT to sit on the ancient balustrades and plant himself on one for his "hilarious" photo of him pretending to meditate. Restraint, Karen, restraint.
Here, enjoy some photos and please do me the favor of not picturing Anglina Jolie. Just imagine a lovely world in the jungle filled with an ancient ruin that probably took more than a few lifetimes to build and has been enjoyed for several hundred more.