29.12.2012 - 11.01.2013
Happy new year from Cambodia! We've been here for the last 2 or so weeks, having been lucky enough to spend a wonderful New Year's Eve in Phnom Penh with my friend Avisa. It was great to get a more local view of the city, as Avisa has been living in PP since October so we got to experience the city in more detail than other places we've been to. It's yet another South East Asian country with a tragic history, with the Khmer Rouge genocide in the mid-70s and finding out more about that explained why Cambodia is still playing catch up economically and skills-wise compared to its neighbours.
After our bout of misery in the last blog, we took our friend Zoom's advice and sat on a beach for a few days. Thanks Zoom, it worked! We had some time chilling out in the seaside town of Kep, mainly to recharge the batteries and to work out what comes next. We finalised our decision to go to China, and booked our flights to Hong Kong where it is much simpler to get a visa for China than it is in Bangkok or Phnom Penh. The more we research the places we can see in China, the more excited we get. Limited or no access to Facebook or blogging sites may make us quiet on this front for a while though!
Currently, we're in Siem Reap, former capital for the ancient Khmers. We've spent 3 days visiting the many many beautiful and interesting temple ruins in the Angkor area. We saved Angkor Wat until today, the last day and cycled over to it at 5am in the pitch black with no lights just in time to see the sun rise about its legendary domes. There were still crowds even at that time of day, but they soon disappeared and it felt we had the whole place to ourselves. I've really enjoyed seeing the craftmanship of the stone carvings in the temples we've been to and being impressed with the sheer scale (height and space) of the various temples. Every place seems to have something different about it making it worth visiting. Dave has been amused by my attempts at being cultural by comparing different things we've seen to Honey Monster, Jabba the Hutt's tail and counting Naga (mythical snake creatures pictured all over the various temples) to the tune of Born Slippy by Underworld (Lager, lager lager lager!). You can take the girl out of Manchester....
Anyway, we're bidding farewell to Cambodia, having really enjoyed the beauty of the place despite the huge litter problems, but for the most part, enjoying the friendliness of the people here. Vietnam and Thailand seemed harder and edgier, but this felt more like Laos in the genuine niceness of the people. Next step is getting a bus to Bangkok first thing tomorrow, before our flight to Hong Kong the day after. 3 months to go before we head back and we're determined to make the most of it and see it off with a big bang.