Nov 24:  Siem Reap/Angkor

I got up at 4:30am, refreshed.  Finally "Monkey" was knocked out of my head by Duran Duran's "(Reach Up for the) Sunrise".  Best concert I've been to in recent years (Feb 2005) and they opened with that.

That chick in the hat from S-21 was also at this hotel!  I saw her this morning but not after that.

We left the hotel at 5am with a different local guide who had a bizarre East London Ali G accent.  He doesn't know how he acquired it.

All of these are Angkor Wat photos until I say stop:

The sky was actually much darker than this.  I fiddled with my camera's speeds.

Fuzzy because of the light, but the only centered shot I got from this angle.

Reminds me of our cheesy 8th grade yearbook cover drawing:  "Reflections".

This is the structure (temple) where our group gathered to watch the sunrise.  Lots of people in the area especially along the grand walkway leading to the complex (visible on the left).

Dude, I TOTALLY framed it.

I did it again!

Exploring 50 vs. 400 speed.

This is prizewinning photography here.  Try to spot the dogg!

After sunrise we went to a nearby restaurant for breakfast.  I ordered a beer at 6:50am.  I've done that before in Vegas but I was up all night.  So this counts as my "earliest" beer ever.  It was 3:50pm on Wednesday back at the office, so I figured it was a good time for a beer.  Peter was probably letting everyone go home early for Thanksgiving.  After breakfast we reentered Angkor Wat for exploration.

Vishnu reincarnated as Buddha.  That's heavy.


Road to Angkor.

Road to Angkor.

Another Buddha.

This used to be a pool/bath.

VERY steep staircase to the third (innermost and topmost) level.  You have to wait for all the down traffic to clear before you can go up, and vice versa.

Buddha at top level.

View from the top.

View from the top.

Looking back down the staircase.  It's easiest to walk down backwards.

Top level.

Top level.

Group photo.  Most of the group.

[12-29-05:  Rachel sent out this photo to everyone today.  I've added it here because it shows me with all 11 girls, and no dudes or fellas.  I appear ten times as studly as in the previous photo!  It's a logarithmic scale, like the Richter.]


The topic of the cold showers came up.  Only one person had a hot one.  Amy said there's a special switch to turn on the hot water.  I didn't see one.

After Angkor we stopped at the landmine museum.  Nothing photogenic there.  It's a small rural place with puppies, roosters and ducks.  Several landmine victims (children) live there.

We went back to the hotel for a 4-hour break.  I used the Internet and learned that the Phillies traded Jim Thome.  An expected move, but now it means I have to buy a new shirt.  I wore my Thome shirt to regular-season Phils games in 4 cities this year and he didn't play in any of them due to injury.  Kristen was on the Internet at the same time so I broke the news to her.  Turns out she lives 5 minutes from Bright House Networks Field in Clearwater.  It was a bit surreal hearing her thick Philly accent throughout the tour.

For lunch I considered the hotel restaurant but it was packed with some Japanese group.  So I went out and found Arun Restaurant down the street, which is recommended by Let's Go and now by me as well.  I had garlic pepper chicken which was damn good.

I showered and the hot water came on by itself.

We reconvened and took a boat ride out to the floating market.  Next three photos are from the boat:

We disembarked at one market that had a crocodile farm...

Crocs chilling.

Feeding frenzy.  A still photo doesn't really capture the frenzy.

More frenzy.

From the viewing platform on top of the market.

Viewing platform in another direction.  The bad part of town.

There were a few kids floating in big buckets/pans/basins who attached themselves to our boat like barnacles as we left.  I don't know what they wanted.  Probably money.  We shook them once the motor kicked in.

For dinner we went to Bar Street.  A lot of streets in Siem Reap don't have official names, such as this one, but everyone calls it Bar Street.  We ate at the Soup Dragon.

Bar Street looking southwest.  The Soup Dragon is on the left and slightly behind me (on the corner), Angkor What? is on the left (see the question mark) and the Red Piano is on the right down toward the end (can't really see it here).

Angkor What?, a popular backpacker bar where we moved to after dinner.  It's in my book, so it must be cool.

The topic of sneezes came up.  I think it was Leanne who said that sneezing 8 times in a row is equivalent to an orgasm for a woman.  I cited my own experience with the lamp in my apartment.  If I stare at it I trigger my photic sneeze reflex, and that combined with the dust on the lamp can sometimes make me "go off 20 or 30 times in a row".  Oh my!  By "go off" I meant "sneeze".  I don't need a lamp for the other thing.

Kate and someone went for a walk and she left her camera behind.  The girls passed it around taking goofy photos.  When it got to me, I took it into the bathroom and added a beautiful shot of the full moon.  Pretty standard for this situation.  Sorry for not being more creative.  If that dog from Angkor Wat was around I would have tried a similarly artistic shot of him observing my ass.

My favorite exchange of the night:

Leanne:  "When in Cambodia..."
Me:  (pause) "Yes?"
Leanne:  "Just go with it!"

The correct answer was "do as the Cambodians do."  This was a running joke in Angkorman.  I guess she hasn't seen it yet.

The special here was these buckets of alcohol.  A popular one was Angkor Sunset for $6.  Each came with like a dozen straws.  This "superstraw" actually worked.

The music was decent here, until it got too dancy later on.  Good singalong stuff like "Enter Sandman", "Welcome to the Jungle", "Kiss" and the like.  Also "Chop Suey!", the wakeup song from my Russia tour.  Cambodians love System of a Down.

This boy was dancing to "Enter Sandman".  I gave him a dollar.

It doesn't matter what you wear...

Just as long as you are there, so come on...

Every guy, grab a girl...

Everywhere around the world.  OK, that caption doesn't fit because they're dancing in the bar, not the street.  But the others fit nicely in their natural order.  We were told that the street dancing was a spontaneous thing that doesn't happen every night.

I bought a t-shirt here.  The left sleeve has a question mark on it, so I feel like the Riddler.  (LG:  Or you know who!)

Total drinkage for the night was 2 Mai Tais at dinner, a bucket of Angkor Sunset, a second bucket that I didn't finish (it became communal), and some vodka that was added to the first bucket.  Not very much alcohol, really.  I don't know the volume of the buckets but I don't think there were many drinks in them.  I certainly wasn't drunk enough to dance, or dance well, so I took a tuk-tuk back to the hotel and went to bed at 3am.