|From Jamie's Philippines Pics|
We have also had the opportunity to travel to some amazing places in China, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Bali. We have archived all of our travels and living experiences abroad; and if you wish, you can read about our adventures by finding the archives on the right of this page and by checking our Photo Album.
We appreciate all of our family and friends who have stayed in touch and emailed us with encouraging words throughout the year. We hope you will continue to keep us in your thoughts as we continue our adventure of living abroad teaching at an international school. For those who have stumbled upon our site, check out the "About Eric and Jamie" section on the right for more information.
Thanks for checking us out!
- Mark Twain
- Maya Angelou
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat
Unbelievable. This word simply describes the day that Jamie and I have had. We can honestly say that it is one of the best days of our lives. Angkor Wat Archeological Area is phenomenal. I will let the pictures tell the story. I lost count because I have deleted some, but I think my count was about 300 or so today. I honestly tried to hit the highlights only. It just happened that there were 300 of them or so.
We wanted to start our day early, so we woke up around 6:15 and was out the door by 7:15 after eating breakfast. We found this itinerary online for a 3 day trip inside Angkor and decided to follow it since we were not exactly sure what we were getting into. We decided to bike our way through today. Because our rearends were sore from the previous day, we only biked the 6 km or so to the South Gate of Angkor Thom and decided to go on foot from there. Of everyone that was in the park today, Jamie and I were probably the only ones on foot. Everyone else was biking or most were taking a tuk tuk. We decided to walk. And walk we did. The walls of Angkor Thom measure 3 km on each side, so from any outside gate was a 1.5 km walk to the center. We walked and climbed all over the temples. I could tell you about them, but I'm not sure anyone cares to read. Most of what we saw can be seen in the pictures, but the experience is perhaps one you can only appreciate if you actually walk the grounds. It is truly majestic and certainly something that cannot be found anywhere in North America.
After we saw the sites of Angkor Thom, we walked out of the Victory gate to the east and toured some more temples outside the walls. The most notable is that of Ta Phrom, which has been purposefully left unrestored for the most part. Here, the giant trees grow from the walls and dominate the temples. The pictures here will simply amaze you.
After walking in the heat, rain, steam, and humidity of southeast Asia, were were absolutely beat. We hired a tuk tuk driver to take us back the 6 km or so to the South Gate so we could retrieve our bicycles. We found a nice little cafe in Angkor to eat lunch and rest finally at 2:30. A full day already but we decided to go ahead and tour Angkor Wat.
People who come to Cambodia usually do so for Angkor Wat. It is the temple that is best known. It is truly spectacular, but there is so much more to see here. We have 2 more full days of touring. I have posted plenty of pictures of Ankor Wat and Angkor Thom. I will attempt to label them for not only your sake but ours. We have a little travel book that identifies all of these, but since I took these, I want to know which ones are which. Some may look alike to you, but I assure you, each temple has its own characteristic.
Unlike any archeological site in North America, you can actually still climb the temple walls and staircases in most parts. You could not to the tallest tower of Angkor Wat unfortunately, but you could just about anywhere else. Jamie found ourselves two of only 10 people who were climbing some areas. Signs are posted to climb at your own risk, but the risk is minimal if you pay attention and be careful.
Monkeys, wild yet extremely tame because they see tourist daily, are found in the park. The are entertaining and at one point I found myself surrounded by 10 of them after I bought some small bananas from a smal girl. She said "monkeys like bananas." It was fun, and I was able to get some pretty cool pictures of them. They would grab the bananas right out of your hand.
We decided not to stay for sunset this evening and instead biked hard back to our hotel. We were filthy due to the rain, sweat, dirt, sand, sweat, insects, sweat, sunscreen, sweat, and (did I mention sweat). We ate at a nice little restaurant just around the corner and now I'm going to attempt to upload these pictures for you.
I'm going to go ahead and upload the ones from Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat. They are all from those areas and we'll put labels on them later. I'll also add another slideshow entitled Angkor Temples, which I'll also add labels to later. In Angkor Temples, you'll see Ta Phrom which will truly be a treat.
We hope you enjoy. Please comment or shoot me an email and let me know what you think. Seymore was there will us, so you'll see him pop up in the photos every now and then. He's quite the climber and all of the Japanese tourist thought he was great. When we told him his name, they just smiled, but laughed when we said he wanted to "See More."