Siem Reap, Cambodia- Day 5, Dec. 27 – Ta Keo & Angkor Thom

Next our tuk tuk driver took us to Ta Keo.  This temple had a lot of steep steps, it was tough for Squirt, but he made it to the top. (Even with a shoe that we’d just discovered was falling apart and we had used a hair rubber band to reattach the flappy part of the sole to the shoe.)

From B: Next, we stopped at Ta Keo, which was very tall and had a lot fewer people. We climbed up to the top. When we were again at the bottom, I bought some more water. The woman was selling both the large and regular size bottles for a dollar each. She must make so much money from her mark-up that she can afford it. Also, since coins are heavy and difficult to import, they use Cambodian money for less-than-dollar prices, but most tourists don’t have any Cambodian money, so the smallest unit of account is the dollar.

We continued on to Angkor Thom. On the way, we spotted wild monkeys in the jungle. Pictures and videos of the monkeys will be in tomorrow’s post.  And a Google search teaches us they are macaque monkeys.

 

From B: At one of the temples, immodestly-dressed women were not allowed. A young French couple in front of us were flabbergasted. Instead of buying something to cover up with (one of the reasons there are clothing sellers around), they just backed up a bit, allowed us to get our children turned away (no one under 12 allowed, they said), and then the French guy palmed some cash, shook the man’s hand and said, “Sir, please.” They let the immodestly-dressed woman in.

I was angry. The conventional wisdom around the world is that Americans are rude, presumptuous, and condescending, but everyone we saw on our trip who was rude was European. At our Thailand hotel, an Australian couple was nice to us, while a young Spaniard was rude and took food intended for our kids. In Cambodia, the very few Americans we saw were appreciating the foreign culture, while the Europeans we saw were put out that things were up to the standards of Europe. I’m sure this French guy knows all the talking points about Americans thinking money solves everything, but when it came down to it, it was the Frenchman who disrespected Buddhism and Khmer culture because his girlfriend couldn’t be bothered to not wear shorts.

N stayed at the bottom with the boys while PS and I climbed to the top. At the top, some Cambodian teenaged boys asked to take their picture with PS. Afterwards, as we walked away, I said to PS, “You know what they’re saying to each other right now? ‘I didn’t know a person could be that pale without being a ghost.'”

It was a long, hot, sweaty day so we went back to the hotel around 3 or 4pm.  Squirt fell asleep in the tuk tuk on the way. We relaxed in our hotel for a little while before heading out to find diapers and dinner.

After getting diapers (pull-ups, sold individually from a street vendor was the best we could find), we hired a tuk tuk to take us from our hotel (the In Miles Boutique) part of town into the downtown, touristy streets and Pub Street where we found a French/Cambodian restaurant called Le Cafe Grand to eat at for dinner. It was Brandon’s birthday (starting in Bangkok, ending on Pub Street in Siem Reap). We ate: spring rolls, satay, Khmer noodles, fried mango and chicken with rice, and green curry soup.

Since it was B’s birthday, we got gelato for dessert. Yum.

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