Siem Reap, Cambodia
Our Taxi Ride From the Airport to Our Hotel
These Vehicles are All Over Siem Reap
Angkor Wat, Built in 1200. Grand Temple of Angkor
Complex and the Largest Religious Building in the World
Carvings of Apsaras, Which are Very Prevalent at
the Temples. Sacred Beings to the Ancient Khmers
One of the Entrances to Angkor Wat
Wat Means "Temple"
Saffron Robed Monks Out for a Stroll at Wat Bayon
The Monks Here Are Very Talkative and Friendly
Ta Phrom Was Built in the Thirteenth Century and
Has Been Left in a State of Encroaching Jungle
Suzan Exploring the Vast Walkways of Angkor Wat
Contains Very Elaborate Carvings and Sanskrit Writings
Exterior of Bayon, a Temple Containing Hundreds of
Large, Mysterious Buddha Faces Carved in Stone
A Close Up of One of the Buddha Face Carvings

With over 40 temples to chose from and each one - massive - we only toured about five in the two days we took to explore them. We chose to double the adventure by riding our bikes to the temples one day (on a narrow road shared by large tour busses, motorcycles and tuk tuk's) - fortunately, mountain bikes as we often had to get off of the road so as not to be run over! Other adventures included stair climbing to other levels within the temples. Generally hundreds of steps - straight up and very uneven - granted the steps are at least 1,000 years old! We survived the ups and the downs while having the chance to view more of the temples. From one of the large openings, Suzan noticed a group of animals - then realized they were monkeys! The other highlight was wandering to a forest near Angkor Wat to discover an entire monkey jungle! 

Suzan and Her New Monk Friends. They Were Very
Friendly and Talked at Length With Suzan
A Local Villager in the Temple Grounds Fishing in
One of the Many Small Ponds.
A Country Girl Tending Her Water Buffaloes. Suzan
is in the Background on the Bikes We Rented to Explore.
Water Buffalo Family Taking a Dip by the Side of
the Road. Daddy Came Charging, So We Bailed Out.

One of our favorite memories of Cambodia was renting bikes to ride through the countryside. We were able to see the REAL Cambodia - how people live. Watching young children tend to their herd of water buffaloes and later having one of the water buffalo chase me down the road..this was a bit humbling. My bike only had one speed too! So many homes were one large room with thatched roofs with open sides. We learned that a majority of the homes do not have bathrooms inside. Everyone does their 'business' outside (and not in an outhouse - just outside)! No matter the poverty, everyone would run to greet us to share their Hello's with huge, welcoming smiles. We noticed that even though many Cambodians in the countryside lived in makeshift dwellings -  they managed to have  television sets. We looked into several homes that had women sitting in front of the televisions watching what appeared to be the local soaps.We rented bikes twice to tour the countryside (once Suzan had a flat tire - fortunately toward the end of our first journey).

Monkey Family We Discovered in the Jungle Around
Angkor Wat. Hundreds of Wild Monkeys Playing Around.
"And These Little Piggies Went to Market"
Squealing and Peeing Along the Way.
Suzan Walking Through our 'Hood on the Way to
Our Villa at the Golden Banana Hotel.
Jim With His Friends at the Siem Reap Center for
Handicapped Children, Victims of Bombs and Mines.

We visited Handicapped International. This is partially government supported yet primarily it exists due to private donations. There is no social support system in Cambodia so anyone who is a victim of a land mine accident (and thousands a year are) - are on their own. This organization helps these individiuals with prosthesis, counseling support, in some cases how to adapt to a new livelihood, etc. It also helps the many people in traffic accidents or with severe birth defects. While here Jim and I tossed a ball with a lot of the kids (missing limbs or with cerebral palsy etc.) -- we all laughed and had such fun with this simple activity. Then Jim took out his polaroid camera to take everyone's photos (then we'd give it to them). Suddenly the parents of the children at the center were lining up their kids - even taking them outside on a portable hospital bed to have their photos taken. It seemed that many had never had their photos taken. This experience moved us beyond words!

One of the Ubiquitous Street Vendors. Mostly Kids
Pushing Books and Postcards to Pay for Their Schooling.

So many children of all ages surrounded us daily with wares to sell. Usually tourist books or post cards. They would ask first, Where are you from? And then they'd rattle off the capital of the state, the political situation etc....they definitely have had training from a major sales shark. Very impressive nonetheless. They say that they need the money for school - yet in truth, these children will likely never go to school. The parents choose for them not to go to school so instead they can help the family to earn money. So very sad to observe children who at their tender ages should be either in school and/or out playing having a childhood - rather than walking up to tourists day and night with their sales spiels pushing carts with wares or lugging heavy loads of merchandise - with often no parents in sight.

Riding the Red Mud Trails of Siem Reap Country-
side. We Received Lots of Strange Looks from the Locals
Locals Wearing Traditional Khmer Clothing.
A Very Classic Scene of Rural Cambodia, Thatched
Hut, Water Buffalo, Rice Paddies
All Modes of Transportation Share the Road in
the Cambodian Countryside, Animals Rule the Road!
School Girls Heading Home From School in the
Shanty Town Alongside the Tonle Sap River

We toured the Tonle Sap area by boat (and a very rickety one - he kept having to rewire the bilge pump to keep the motor going) and the boat had no life jackets. People live on the equivalent of houseboats year round here - some even live on longboats (entire families crowded together). The school, shopping areas, recreation areas were all afloat. The road that we took to the boat had to be the bumpiest road we'd ever been on. We took a tuk tuk so once again were covered in dust and it seemed that the vehicle would fall into one of the road holes - so large! The people who live along this road rebuilt a small wooden type shanty every year as it floods annually and they must move for awhile until the waters clear out.

A House in a Floating Town That is Located on
the Tonle Sap Lake.
Now This is a Houseboat! The Family Lives and
Works on the Tonle Sap Lake.
More of the Floating City That Moves Along with
Rise and Fall of the Tonle Sap Lake.
Ladies and Children Paddle on the Tonle Sap Lake
Commuting to Somewhere.