Sunday, June 27, 2004

Day 5: Banteay Samre, the East Mebon, and Ta Som

14th June

Banteay Samre and Ta Som are like little gems. Both are smaller temples than the ones we've seen before, but they are, as a result of their size, easier to comprehend than the larger ones. More human in scale and scope - more personal, rather than the massive imperial/royal scale of Angkor Wat.


Driving to Banteay Samre gave us our first look at rural Cambodia. The "commute" between Siem Reap and the main Angkor Sites is urbanised as you leave town, whereas the approach to Banteay Samre took us through an active village (as in people actually live there, as opposed to some "cultural village" nonsense). Again, we felt strange and self conscious puttering through on our tuk-tuk - I was reminded suddenly of how those poor ang-moh tourists on trishaw rides always looked being pedalled through our streets. K borrowed my hat for a while, and when it went flying from her hand off the tuk-tuk, I had to do an Indiana Jones and run back for it.

The rain more or less shut down our adventuring plans for the afternoon. I had hoped to swing by Neak Pean, on the chance that the heavy rain had filled the pools, but the rain caught up with us just outside the entrance, and by that time we were both so tired we didn't really want to do the whole umbrella-poncho-camera juggling act again.

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