Sunday, January 25, 2004

Woke up yesterday at 5am to bike up to Angkor Wat and see the sunrise there. The road was completely unlit, so we rode the 4 or 5 miles there in almost complete darkness guessing where the road is. Then it turned out that we took the wrong road, so we had to backtrack about a couple miles and go over the the right one. Finally got there about 15 minutes before the sunrise (6:15am) and sat down with a bunch of other people who came to watch it. After watching it break the horizon we went up to the temple and wandered around inside. It's really amazing...huge and beautiful. There are thousands of carvings all over the walls, and you can climb up the towers to get a great view of the whole area. From there we rode 2km over to a smaller temple and climbed to the top of it...there was a lof of riding and climbing yesterday. After that we went to Angkor Thom, which was almost as cool as Angkor Wat. I just tried to write a description of it, but nothing really does it justice. I got some great pictures though, so whenever i'm able to post pictures again (probably not until china) you'll be able to see. We spent the whole morning exploring around all the temples, then came back to Ankor Wat in the afternoon for the sunset. At around 3pm we started getting really tired, since we biked and climbed around all day and barely got any sleep.

We wandered into an area where it looked like some monks lived, and since Shaul thinks buddhist monks are the coolest thing in the world he was really excited to talk to them and see what they're all about. We soon learned what they're all about, and it really pissed us off. A young monk waved at us and motioned for us to come over, so we did. He barely spoke english but asked us where we're from, what our names were, and whether we'd like to see their temple. So we said ok, and walked over to the temple, but it was locked. He ran over to a shack and woke up another young monk who had the key. They led us in, and we lit ssome incense and did some pagan ritual. Then we went outside talked to them a little more, and he said my friend here is studying english, would you give him money for his studies. So shaul took out his wallet and gave them $2. They said no, $5 from each of you. At this point I was pretty shocked. They kept saying $5, and since we didn't have any more small bills we just said sorry that we only had $20 bills. I wouldn't have given them $5 anyway...that's bullshit. They didn't understand, and after about 5min of trying to explain we just started walking away. After about 10 steps we heard one of them hawk up a loogie and spit at us. I was furious but just kept walking away. So basically, Shaul's image of monks was ruined and I'll never look at monks the same again.

We walked over to angkor wat and just hung out until the sunset, cursing under our breath at every monk we saw. The sunset was beautiful though, but the guards at the temple kicked us out about 15minutes before it really set. So we biked back and got a $3 massage from a blind masseur for an hour near our hostel (it was awesome) and went to sleep. Today we're taking it easy b/c we're so sore from all the climbing and biking yesterday. Tomorrow we're going to take a motorbike instead.


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