Cambodia

31/12/2003 - Inside

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Just in case you wondered what the inside of one of the temples looks like. This was taken at Preah Khan.

31/12/2003 - Steep stairs

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The stairs to get to the top of the taller temples are ridculously steep. Makes getting up rather tricky, and getting down even harder. Apparently it is because the path to the gods should not be easy.

31/12/2003 - Moto trailer

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Another mode of transport. This one took us round Angkor for 3 days, and is designed for 2. We have seen them with bigger trailers, and carrying up to 20 people! All pulled along by one small engined motor bike.

31/12/2003 - Happy New Year!

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from Angkor Wat, the biggest religious building in the world. Will right more when we put up the rest of the photos in a couplwe of days....

30/12/2003 - Instructions

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Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia used to make up Indochina, and was ruled by the French. This means that they make good bread, but they have those terrible squat toilets. 'Proper' western toilets are taking over, but they had some instructions in case you didn't know how to use them!

30/12/2003 - overgrown

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This is the state that a lot of the temples were in when first seen by Eurpean eyes. Most have been restored, but soe have been left to the jungle. The trees both destroy and hold up the structures in different places. They look cool too! Anyone that has seen Tomb raider the movie might have seen some parts shot around here.

30/12/2003 - Banteay Samre

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Another day, another temple...

30/12/2003 - Banteay Srei

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A miniature temple (compared to the others anyway). Most of them are covered with engravings and carvings, but this one has the most of all. There is barely a square inch that isn't covered with intricate work.

29/12/2003 - circus

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Hope you can make this one out. Around the base of the Bayon within Angkor Thom (great city) there is 1.2km of carvings. Most of them depict scenes from daily life or battles (usually with the Khymers winning a glorious victory). This part depicts a circus, with a strong man holding up 3 dwarves, a man with a cartwheel balanced on his feet, and tightrope walkers near the top.

29/12/2003 - The Bayon

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One of or favourite parts of Angkor. This temple has 54 towers, and every one has four faces on it, looking North, South, East and West. Everywhere you go there are faces looking down at you, and smiling...

26/12/2003 - Mince pies!

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we finally managed to find some Christmas orientated food, but were then too full to eat them on Christmas day. We managed it boxing day though, with some whipped cream. Lovely! :)

25/12/2003 - Fruit sellers

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I think we have mentioned the girls who sell fruit, jewellry, sarongs, manicure/massage services etc along the beach. Well here is one trying to stop me coming here this afternoon. They are very persistent!

25/12/2003 - Merry Christmas!

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We wish you a merry Christmas,
we wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
And a happy new year...


25/12/2003 - Chips and pancakes

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Christmas lunch at the 'Same Same, but Different' bar next door to our hotel.

25/12/2003 - Pre lunch swim

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After some sitting around in the morning, we moved on to our pre lunch swim. Just a normal Christmas day really.

25/12/2003 - Father Christmas is in Cambodia

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After we arrived a few days ago, we were surprised to find that Santa was staying in the room next door. He was here at breakfast time handing out sweets to the kids, so he must have done his rounds pretty quickly.

25/12/2003 - Christmas morning swim

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In the early morning the sea is at its most calm, and the day trippers and people selling things haven't arrived yet. Perfect time for a swim, before digging in to pancakes and french toast for breakfast.

24/12/2003 - Christmas eve

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Once we had finished our cocktails at the beach front bar, we set off walking barefoot down the beach in the moonlight, past local children wearing beards and santa hats, with the flashing lights of endless beachfront bars ahead of us.

Rather different to a night at the Abrook Arms!

22/12/2003 - Sunset from our hotel

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no explanation needed...

22/12/2003 - Sihanoukville

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We have booked into a place on Serendipidity beach. Our room has hot water, cable TV, air con, is very modern and clean, and is about 10 metres from where this photo was taken. It is one of the most expensive places around at $25 a night! That does include a hearty breakfast too though. People wander up and down selling things all day just to make sure that you don;t have to move. Clare had a manicure in her deck chair this morning for the princly sum of $1!

21/12/2003 - Bokor hill station

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At the end of our trek was a waterfall where we had lunch. We then carried on to an area where there used to be a hotel and casino in a fantastic position at the edge of a cliff overlooking jungle and the sea. They have long been abandoned and stand empty slowly rotting away.

21/12/2003 - Jungle trek

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trekking through the jungle in Bokor national park. At one point there was a loud rustling and twigs breaking in the jungle to our right. We have no idea what it was, but there are tigers and elephants still living there. The guide didn't stop to find out!

20/12/2003 - Kampot

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You know how it is. You lose concentration for a second while you are driving, and have to swerve around the elephant in front of you....

19/12/2003 - Funky Gibbon

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Next was the wildlife sanctuary. It mostly houses animals rescued from poachers. It was a great place, and being improved by the day by the aid organisations working there.

Our favourite were the gibbons. They had lots of macaques (sp?) like the ones in the wat Phnom picture, but the gibbons were just so gentle and friendly. They would come over and reach out of their cage and just hold hands, or stroke my beard!

19/12/2003 - Tonle bati

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The first stop on our journey South. It is an ancient temple from the Angkor period, and was impressive to us. I'm sure it won't seem so impressive once we have been to Angkor Wat in a few weeks.

Everywhere we went on this day we were followed by people wanting money or 'yum yum' (food). We ran out of food pretty quickly! This man showed us round and pointed out the most interesting carvings. We never would have found them without him. Shame he didn;t speak a word of English!

18/12/2003 - The royal palace

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Much of it is out of bounds now since King Sihanouk returned and moved in, but it is still well worth a visit. How come we don;t have giant photos of Queen Liz on the outside of Buckingham Palace?

Inside is the silver pagoda, a grand temple with 5000 silver floor tiles, each weighing one kilo. Inside are many gold and silver statues, including a golden life size statue of Buddha inlaid with over 2000 diamonds, up to 25 carats!

18/12/2003 - S21 prison

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Another gruelling site. The former school turned into a prison by the Khymer Rouge. As you walked around the cells, and torture chambers, photos were displayed of the many, many victims who were held here, before being transported to the killing fields.

Harrowing stuff. And it seems all the worse as it was so recent.

18/12/2003 - Killing Fields

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Onto the sad history of Cambodia. In 1975 the Kyhmer Rouge won the civil war, and immediately began moving everyone into working camps. Families were seperated. Everyone from about 5 upwards had to work 12 - 15 hour days, for 1 or 2 bowls of watery broth with a few grains of rice.

Not surprisingly many people died from starvation and disease.

The Kyhmer Rouge added to the death toll by killing hundreds and thousands. Anyone who was vietnamese, chinese, or had a slightly different coloured skin, former soldiers, teachers, doctors, or anyone that wore glasses and therefore must have been intelligent. Their relatives too.

By 1979, when the Khymer army were defeated, around 2 million people had died, approx 1/4 of the poulation.

This photo was taken at one of the many killing sites covering the country, where 17,000 people were killed.

As we wandered around, the sound of the children playing at the school next door could be heard. Testament to the fact they they are looking forward and not back.

A very poignant day!

17/12/2003 - The Monkees

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We visited the founding wat, around which Phnom Penh grew. The story goes that a lady called Penh found 4 buddhas on the river bank, and the temple was built to put them in, called wat phnom. Hence the name of the town.

It is now overrun by Monkeys!

17/12/2003 - Phnom Penh street

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This is the street on which sits our hotel. Quite a typical street really. Dirty, dusty, smelly and busy. The hotel was really nice though.

17/12/2003 - Phnom Penh

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We got into Cambodia yesterday, and the roads are every bit as bad as we had heard they were.

This is a temple just down the road from the internet cafe we are in. Needed something to put up as our first photo!