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Guardians of Angkor Thom South Gate

Feb 5, 2003 - The second day in Siem Reap took me into the ancient city of Angkor Thom. The entrance into city was impressive, standing over 20m high with the faces of Bayon smirking down. The South entrance serves as the main thorough fare for modern day tourist seeing the sites. When I arrived it was a traffic jam of tourist buses making their way to Bayon. I decided to take my time hanging out until a group of elephants bearing tourists made their way through the gate.

Bayon with its eerie faces was the next destination. It was just as crowded as Angkor Wat. I waited and tried to time my photo shoot with the coming and going of the tourist hordes. But the crowds made my Bayon experience a let down from what was in my minds eye. I moved on hoping to come back at a different time.

My journal notes read: after Bayon everything else was a blur, I'll have to research where I've been later. Yeah, right. Thank goodness for the Internet, I later found that I had wandered over to Baphuon, and my moto driver took me to Phimeanakas, Preah Palilay, Tep Pranam, and the Terrace of the Leper King next.

I again ended my day at the Phnom Bakheng for the view of the non-existent sunset. The mass of tourist hiking up the steep hill is best described as a horde. I seem to using that word to describe the tourists.

Along with the horde were local Cambodian school kids singing and banging drums. It made for an interesting atmosphere. In the horde I managed to meet a fellow American tourist. It turned out that we were staying at guest houses next to each other. We found a nice Thai restaurant for dinner. I had tried some of the local Cambodian food and it was pretty bad. It cost almost nothing, but was tasteless and unsatisfying... basically sustenance. Later that night we had the moto driver take us to the infamous Martini Bar - I think every city in South East Asia has a Martini Bar - all of which are infamous. The Siem Reap version of the Martini bar lived up to its infamy. Non of us (including moto driver) felt very safe, so after an hour or so we called it a night.


     

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