Travel Diary - Where was I up to?

Apsara Dancer
Siem Reap needs pictures. Well, to be fair, the town of Siem Reap doesn't, coz it's a fair bit like so many other Southeast Asian tourist towns. Full of young Japanese, French, Australian and Irish backpackers, Chinese and Korean tour groups, a generous smattering of families with young kids (mostly German, Dutch or Australian), grey nomads (North American) and 'voluntourists' of all ages and nationalities taking a break from their good deeds. There are lots of touts, a fair amount of children begging (dirty, but not deformed as they are in India) and more than
enough neon lit bars and restaurants for all of them.

Angkor Wat and the other temples however need pictures. Ideally lovely photos taken by professional photographers but if you don't want to buy a fancy coffee table book or even do a quick Google search you can see some of mine.

This is like holding the Taj Mahal on your hand, an almost obligatory cheesy tourist shot. 

They really are SO beautiful!

Angkor Wat at a slight angle. Our tour guide was not the *best* photographer, but he knew a lot and spoke great English.

One dollar for the blessing of one the guys who looks after the temple statues. Not a regular monk (no robes) but I got a red thread and lots of chanting over the knots as he tied it. 

The causeway to the temple of Angkor Wat. My fancy new camera (Olympus TG2. Waterproof, shockproof and it seems to have decent picture quality. Thanks Tim!) has a bunch of magic effects. This one is 'fisheye' which seems fitting somehow.
It was a long hot day, but really magical. We booked our tour with 'Beyond' which is owned by Australians apparently but they deserve a shoutout. It was US$28 for the full day which included all the (chilled!) water we could drink (I don't think they want any of their guests dropping dead of heat exhaustion) a hot lunch in a nice shady pavilion, a friendly guide who spoke excellent English, had a sense of humour and was really receptive to what our group wanted to see. The maximum group size is eight, but there were just four of us - me, Clare and a cheerful Malaysian couple. Did I mention the airconditioned van that took us between temples? Considering a tuk tuk would be about US$15 I felt this was actually pretty decent value.

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