Pt 12 – Faces, Scam Artists & Apsara Dance

Thursday, February 25th, 2016 continued…

After visiting the famed Angkor Wat, we traveled to the South Gate of Angkor Thom and headed inside to grab breakfast.

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Both of us got breakfast noodles with eggs, and Trevor got a very sad cup of coffee. Our driver took us back in the direction we came from to check out Bayan Temple where we ran into Reuben again. We advised him to skip the coffee, then started touring the grounds.

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The first temple was really incredible with all the faces carved in it, but it was overrun with tourists, so we moved onto the next one after we got our fill. We passed through a forest full of ruins before reaching the next, which appeared to be under renovation and repairs. We saw Elephant Terrace before heading back to meet with our driver.

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He made a pit stop at Ta Keo Temple, which had some super steep steps to climb in order to reach the top where buddha was inside.

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Our final stop was Ta Prohm Temple which was much larger than it first appeared. The Spung trees or tetrameles, draping over the temple ruins were absolutely beautiful, but once again, the place was crowded with humans, so it was a little hard to enjoy full heartedly. Getting pictures without people in them took some patience.

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We returned to the guest house and changed before walking to Pub Street to get a couple beers at “Temple,” followed by dinner at “Nai Khmer Restaurant & Bar”. Trevor decided to eat this time, going with the Banana Blossom Salad with Tofu, while I ordered the Khmer Spicy Curry Vegetables with Tofu.

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We had a drink at “Beatnik Speakeasy” before wandering around some more, and running back into the older man from Angkor Wat whose robustness Trevor had been so impressed by. We got to talking, and his name was Dave and he was traveling with his wife, Aleli.

During our chat, a woman holding a baby approached us begging for money so she could get milk. Her voice was soft and quiet, and her English was very broken. Dave got annoyed and yelled at her, calling her a scam artist. I was suddenly speechless. She countered his directness by cursing at him, speaking loudly and in perfectly comprehensible English, before running off. Apparently Dave had had a number of run ins with this lady, and she was toting around someone else’s kid to take advantage of sympathetic tourists. I just took his word for it.

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We’d have a couple more beers back at the guest house before returning to “Temple,” this time to check out their free Apsara show. The traditional garb was dazzling and they went through a number of dances: the welcome dance, coconut dance, fertility dance, peacock dance (our second one of the trip), then a really weird monkey dance. With the morning’s tourist temple overload, it was nice to wind down with some cultural entertainment before the day was through.


Jump Back to Part 11: Selfie Sticks, Scarves & Angkor Wat

Jump Ahead to Part 13: Corn Fritters, Contemplations & Band Practice

OR

Start from the Beginning at Part 1: Tips, Hotel Swap & Cheap Beer in Phnom Penh

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