Friday, January 23, 2009

5 (Christine W.)

Siem Reap, Day 2

More Angkor Wat
On our second Day in Siem Reap, we visited four more temple sites of the breathtaking Angkor Wat, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. This undertaking sounds benign enough, but the sheer size of this temple complex is enough to exhaust the hardiest of travelers. Each of the temples had its own characteristics and idiosyncrasies. They are giant stone structures devoted to various Hindu gods that date back to the 9-13 centuries. A couple of temples are surrounded by beautiful canals strewn with water lilies, while others have merged with nearby trees whose monstrous roots crawl in and out of the stone walls. I even got to ride to the first temple on an elephant, which took about 20 minutes. I felt like Indiana Jones. There are also vendors galore who line the temple entrances with every kind of souvenir a tourist might want. We stopped in an open coffee stand at one point for a pick-me-up. Nescafe is very popular, and Cambodians like their coffee STRONG. The server brought out condensed milk to pour into the coffee, which is also a common practice. It was at the site of the first temple we visited where I had one of the sweetest, strongest cups of coffee I’ve ever ingested and discovered that a tablespoon of condensed milk goes a long way indeed.

Cambodian Dance Performance
After our day of temple exploration, we went to a traditional Cambodian dance performance, which included a delicious buffet. The costumes for the dance were so colorful and warm, and the music was great, but of course the food stole the show for me. I am rarely in such a frenzied state of culinary ecstasy than I am on this trip. If I had the time I could easily create another blog devoted entirely to Cambodian food. But speaking of time and food, I am starving and there are an infinite number of possibilities calling to me, so this is where I will stop.

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