Thursday, August 1, 2013

Cambodia - part 2 - Siem Reap

Once a week I go to Motol and have a tete a tete with the nurses. One of the nurses said that she enjoyed reading my blog and if I would like to go to other places than Vietnam and Cambodia, to which I answered: "Of course!" I am a terrible travel junkie and whenever I get the chance to go somewhere, I'm on it. 
Last time I wrote about the trip from Saigon, Vietnam to Siem Reap, Cambodia. During the hot summer days I muse over that trip. It really was a fabulous trip. Well, not fabulous as if in fashionably fabulous, but you get my gist.
In the first part of my post on Cambodia (part 1 here if you idn't read it), I didn't really go into details as to what was it like. Humid, scorching weather, cheap stuff to buy everywhere you turn and tuk tuk drivers every 2 meters. We got to the hotel which was called Hotel Paradise. It didn't have much to do with paradise. Street lights are only in the central area, but once you get of "downtown", then it's all dark except for the rare hallogenic lightbulb hanging in a garage. Spooky. We finally got to our destination at midnight. 
The hotel itself was actually modern. Compared to it's surroundings. The lobby had AC, yet the staff turned it off, so it was like entering a sauna. The rooms also did not have the AC turned on, so it was like having your own private sauna room. After 15 minutes, we finally got it going and I was desperate to take a shower after the long drive. I'm a pretty prepared traveler, so I had my own soap. That saved me, since the hotel soap were refilled mini bottles of dish soap. The next surprise was the brown water spurting out of the shower faucet. The hotel slippers were already used. Cambodian hotels recycle. Great. I had to laugh about it all and just pray there wasn't a creepy insect (cockroach anyone?) lurking around, maybe to fight a spider for the most comfy spot in bed. I aimed for the mini bar (checked to see if the water wasn't maybe a refill, which it was) and didn't think twice about downing the one mini Jack Daniels.
The next day I woke up slightly chilled from the AC, only to be blasted by a wave of heat once I opened the door to the hallway. The glass wall looking into the pool had the sun beating through it all day, from morning until late afternoon. Breakfast was served from 6 am until 10 am. The usual hotel food, so scrambled eggs and bacon were served by young Cambodian men, having an uneasy smile on their face. A buffet with Vietnamese and Korean food. I really don't like buffets. Especially if it's to feed a group of retirees on a field trip. Especially Korean ones. My grandmother is Korean so I used the few couple words I learned from her and they were apt to share the kimchi.
Leaving the hotel to go see the temples, we ordered tuk tuk drivers at 18 dollars for the whole day. I was later told we were ripped off, but I figured whats 20 bucks to me?
Entering the area where all the temples are located, you seem to notice the fact that it is cleaner than Siem Reap itself. Buddhist monks, tuk tuk drivers, young girls begging you to buy a Fanta for a dollar ("icey! col'"), monkeys picking at each other, watching their young ones and elephant rides for $20 one way (up the hill).
Coming upon the first temple of the day, one has to be amazed as to how these Khmer people built such buildings with its intricate designs. 
The Bayon Temple is one of the smaller ones and you can read about here on wikipedia. I couldn't take enough photos! I already used up most of my memory for Vietnam and had 2 more temples ahead of me. It was there, that I had my first close up of monks. Some come from all over to visit these ruined temples and some live in the area. The orange color of their robes add a beautiful splash of color to the grey black stones. 
After a solid 2 hours being spent at the first temple, we hopped into our tuk tuks to be taken to the next temple. I was excited to see this one (plus Ankgor Wat) since both were depicted in the movie Tomb Raider with Angelina Jolie. The movie displayed a mystical type feel, with a possibility of it even maybe feeling eerie. Unfortunately, it didn't have that feel. It might have been due to the amount of people hearding through all day. It was nontheless beautiful to see the fallen Ta Prohm temple and the Banyan trees overgrowing it. 
By the time we were finished with the second temple, it was time for lunch. We thought we'd eat at a local stand but after inspecting the area, we decided against it. I don't think our disinfected Western bodies would be able to handle whatever was served with it's flies hovering above it. Even the tuk tuk driver told us in his broken english, that he does not think it's "no very clean". They took us to a more suitable place, where they even had running water in the restrooms. 
The third and last temple on the list was the magnificent Angkor Wat. Surrounded by water, the temple is the largest religious monument in the World. The temples construction was initiated by King Suryavarman II and was finsihed 40 years after his death. Angkor Wat is the main reason 50% of the tourists come to visit Cambodia. I have to say I am part of the 50%.
It was truly amazing to see these temples, which have been standing for almost a millenia now, but on the other hand, it is like any other great civilization which has fallen to dust. You see the remarkable capacity these people once had and when you then look down from the carvings of temple, you see in what state the country is now. 
Unlike Vietnam, Cambodia has never been able to properly recuperate after the war. Or rather genocide. What Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge did to the country is still evident, even though it is almost 30 years since they have been in power. The people are like animals which have been beaten and tossed into a cage, but with no anger to use to fight back with. It is most unfortunate that these people must live with fear or indifference to life. On the other hand, when you are nice to the people and try to joke with them, they have a great smile to share and are much friendlier.
When we were leaving Cambodia the following day, I was thinking of what a shock I was in when I arrived to this country. Filth, garbage, people living in shacks usually with no electricity or running water, children carrying babies. It was a huge difference compared to Vietnam, but in the end, I felt a feeling of sadness that I was leaving. It was an adventurous feeling being in such a country and I think I just might have to go again some day...


Jednou za tyden jezdim do Motola a mam mensi tete a tete se sestrickama. Jeden ze sestricek rikala, ze ji bavi cist muj blog a pokud bych chtela navstivit jina mista nez jen Vietnam a Kambodza, coz jsem odpovedela, ze "Samozrejme!" Jsem hrozna cestovni zavislavak a kdykkoliv mam sanci jet nekam, tak jedu. 
Naposledy jsem psala o vyletu ze Saigon, Vietnam do Siem Reap, Kambodza. Behem horkeho leta, dumam nad timto vyletem. Bylo to opravdu bajecny vylet.
V mem prvnim clanku o Kambodzi (zde kliknout pokud jste necetli), jsem se nesla prilis do detailu, jaky to tam opravdu je. Dusno, parak a levne veci, ktere si muzete koupit kam se otocite a tuk tuk ridice kazde 2 metry. Dostavili jsme se na hotel, ktery se jmenoval Hotel Paradise. Nemelo to moc spolecneho s raj. Poulicni svetla byly jen v centru, ale jakmile jste vyjeli z "downtown", tak byla tma s vyjimkou vzacne hallogenove zarovky, vysejici nekomu v garazi (nebo v dome?). Trosku strasidelny. Konecne jsme se dostali k nasi destinaci okolo pulnoci.
Hotel samo o sobe bylo docela moderni. S prirovnanim s okoli. Predsin hotelu melo AC, jenze personal se rozhodlo, ze to vypne, tim padem to bylo jak vchazeni do sauny. Pokoje taky nemely zapnute AC, takze to bylo jako kdyby jste meli osobni saunovy pokoj.  Po 15 minutach jsme to rozjeli a v pokoji se dalo vydrzet. Vazne jsem uz potrebovala sprchu po dlouhe cestovani autobusem. Jsem dost vybavena cestovatelka, takze jsem mela svoje mydlo. nastesti. Me to zachranelo, protoze hotelove flasticky, ktere vetsinou obsahuji myci mydlo, tentokrat bylo znovu naplneno, ale mydlem na nadobi. Dalsi prekvapeni byla hnede tekouci voda z kohoutku. Pokojove pantofle uz byly pouzite. Kambodzske hotely recykluji. Musela jsem se tomu smat a jeste se modlit, ze nebude nekde schovana v rohu nejaka hnusna potvora (svab?), ktera se bude prat s obr pavoukem o nejpohodlnejsi misto v posteli. O mini baru ani nemluv. Voda nebyla nova, ale Jack Daniels asi neumeji, protoze to bylo jeste neotevreny.
Druhy den jsem se probudila trochu ochlazena klimatizaci, jen abych byla odpalena zdi tepla z chodby. Totiz jedna cela strana hotelu je ze skla, do ktere palelo slunce cely den. Snidane byla  poddavana od 6 do 10 rano. Obycejny hotelovy jidlo, takze michany vajicky se slaninou byla poddavan mladymi, kambodzskymi kuchari, mejici nejistou usmev na tvari. Buffet byla pro vetsinu Vietnamsky a Korejsky jidlo. Nemam rada bufety. Hlavne kdyz je skupina duchodcu na vylete. Hlavne korejske duchodci. Moje babicka je Korejka, tak jsem pouzila par slov, ktere znam od ni. Trochu je to zmekcilo a nebali se poddilet o kimchi.
Za 18 dolaru muzete mit tuk tuk ridice na cely den. O par mesicu pozdeji mi rekl nekdo, ze jsem platila prilis, ale konec koncu, co je 20 dolaru pro me?
Jakmile se vchazi do arealu chramu, zacnete si vsimat, ze je to upravenejsi nez- li primo Siem Reap. Buddhisticke mnichy, tuk tuk ridice, mlade holky, ktere vas prosi, aby jste si koupili Fantu za dolar ("ledoy!"studeny!"), opice, ktere se navzajem drbaji v zadku a mezitim hlidaji sve mlade a samozrejme take jizda na slonu za $20 jedna cesta (do kopce). 
V momentu kdy uvidite prvni chram dne, tak jste ohromen jak to dokazali Khmerove postavit. Je to jako kdyz vidite pyramidy Gizy v Egypte anebo mesto Mayu.
Jeden z mensich chramu je Bayon Temple o ktere si muzete precist zde na wikipedii. Nemohla jsem nafotit dost! Pouzila jsem vetsina pameti fotaku ve Vietnamu a mela jsem jeste dalsi 2 chramy pred sebou. Bylo to tam, kde ja poprve videla zblizka mnichy. Nekteri jezdi z celeho sveta a nekteri bydleji v arealu. Oranzova barva jejich rouch doddava strik barvy mezi sedo-cernymi kameny.
Po 2 hodinach straveny v prvnim chramu, naskocili jsme do nasich tuk tuk, aby nas privezli k dalsimu chramu. Tesila jsem se na tenhle (plus Angkor Wat), jelikoz se pouzila jako lokace k filmu Tomb Raider s Angelina Jolie. Ve filmu mel chram mysticky a az mozna tajuplny pocit. Bohuzel, to tak nebylo. Myslim si, ze je to mozna kvuli lidi , ktere se tam prochazeji cely dny. Nicmene, bylo to krasne videt spadle Ta Prohm chram a s prerostlymi banyan stromy. Az jsme skoncili, tak uz bylo cas na obed. Mysleli jsme si, ze se najime nekde u mistnich, ale po inspekci mista, rozhodli jsme se proti tomu. Myslim si, ze nase disinfikovana zapadni tela by nesnesla cokkoliv co servirovali s letajicimi mouchy nad tim. I tuk tuk ridice nam rekl ve sve zlamane anglictine, ze si mysli, ze je to "no very clean". Vzali nas k lepsimu mistu, kde i dokonce tekla voda na zachode.
Treti a posledni chram, ktery jsme meli na seznamu byl velkolepy Angkor Wat. Obklopen vodou, chram je nejvetsi nabozensky monument na svete. Stavba chramu byl zahajen Kralem Suryavarman II a bylo dokonceno 40 let po jeho smrti. Angkor Wat je 50% proc turiste prijedou do Kambodzi. Musim rict, ze i ja patrim mezi tech 50%.
Bylo to opravdu neskutecny zazitek videt tito chramy, ktere tu stoji uz skoro tisicileti, ale zase na druhou stranu, je jako kazda velka civilizace, ktera spadla k prachy. Je videt mimoradna schopnost, kterou tihle lide jednou meli a kdyz se podivate dolu z obliceju jejich vytesanych bohu, tak vidite smutny stav soucasnych lidu.
Oproti Vietnamu, Kambodza nikdy nebyla schopna se postavit zpatky na nohy po valce. Nebo spis genocida. Co Pol Pot a Rudi Khmerove udelali lidum je porad viditelny, i kdyz je to prakticky 30 let co byli v moci. Lide tam jsou jako zvirata, ktere byli zbity a hozeny do kleci bez vule uz bojovat proti. Je to nestastna vec, ze tito lide ziji ve strachu anebo lhostejne k zivotu. Na druhe strane, pokud se usmivate na lide a snazite se s nima vtipkovat, maji skvely usmec o ktere se s vami podileji. 
Nasledujici den jsme se odjizdeli zpatky do Saigonu a zamyslela jsem se nad sokem, ktere jsem tu zazila, kdyz jsem prijela do Kambodzy. Spina, odpad, lide zijici v chatrcich vetsinou bez elektriny nebo tekouci voda, deti nesouci miminka. Bylo to obrovsky rozdil se srovnanim s Vietnamem, ale konec koncu, mela jsem smutny pocit kdyz jsem odjizdela. Bylo to dobrodruzny pocit byt v takove zemi a myslim si, ze tam jeste jednou budu muset jet...

On the way to the temples, we got sugar cane drinks served to us in a plastic baggie. It looked like urine and tasted delicious. If only I knew how I would feel a day after drinking it...
Na ceste k chramum, jsme si koupili piticka z cukrove trtiny, poddavana v pytlickach. Vypadalo to jako moc, ale chutnalo to skvele. Jen kdybych vedela co to udela semnou potom...

Coconut jello for a dollar. Interesting.
Kokosova zelatina za dvacku. Zajimava.

Bridge to the temples
Most k chramum

Bayon Temple

 Ta Prom Temple

 Fanta? Coca?

Angkor Wat