Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Angkor What!!!

 Had talked up the border crossing so much I think Inhad built it up so much in Sankat's maybe scaring him out of him out of his mind. We packed up and started running errands before the border crossing grabbing Tylenol and changing money to US dollars. It was about 11:30 before we got on the bus headed to the border. Once we got to the border we got out and there was an "office" where some guys were trying to get us to go into. We avoided the office and walked straight for the border and bought our visas after we got our exit stamp from Thailand. On the Cambodian side we walked into the visa office and handed over $20 and $100 bhat (we weren't sure what the $100 baht was for but when I saw it disappear into the pocket of the officer).  Then we continued over the border. As we were walking a man was soliciting us to take a ride with him. We nogociated a ride price and then were corralled onto a bus, where a "greeting" officer wanted to school us in Cambodia way of life. After we grabbed another car to Siem Reap the greeting officer asked for tip, because he "rescued" us from the scam artist and the other guys would justb"sell" us to the tuk tuk drivers at the edge of Siem Reap, I replied that he didn't save us but took us to another cab. No tip for him!!!

We split a cab with a couple from the UK who did get caught by the fake visa "office" who charged them twice the amount of the visa. Two hours later we ended up just outside of Siem Reap
here we handed off to some tuk tuk drivers (of course exactly what our little friend who "rescued" us said wouldn't happen).  But we were able to strike up a deal with our tuk tuk driver to take us on an all day tour of the temples for $15!  Then we headed out to dinner, the food in Cambodia is divine because of the French influence and all of the downtown is set up much like New Orleans with the resturantnts as two floors with balcony dining everywhere where you can sit and look down on the sites and people below!

The next morning we headed off to the temples and saw five in one day. The temples were all built in different time periods so the architecture is unique with each one. We would pull up outside a temple  get out of our tuk tuk and weave through the vast amount of children selling everything from magnets to pieces of art. Once inside the temple you can walk around, climb up and make believe you are an in Tomb Raider!  The temples are massive in size and number you could be there for a week and still not see all the temples!  We met a young lady selling paintings and cold drinks outside one of the temples while we were sitting sipping our iced cafes we watched her work her magic, each group of tourists that would exit the temple she would look at and when they got within hearing distance she would greet them in their language and shout out the items she had for sale. She was brillant, "Bonjour," "Hola" and many more.  We asked her and she knows over eight languages and several sayings in each of them, I think Sankat wanted her to be on his sales team for the bank.

That night we went to the night market and shopped away, Sankat bartered away his best deal was getting a sale at 80% off the asking price while of course he's telling me all about how he learned these strategies at Booth, glad the moneys going towards something!  We also got some great foot massages in the market and looked at all the items you can make out of a rice bag (I got a great yoga bag).  The next day we lounged by the pool, drank on the balcony and pursued the night market again, gearing up for the reverse border crossing.

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