Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A River Excursion

Waiting for Passengers
Not too long ago, our family participated in a river excursion with some other embassy workers, both American and Khmer. It was my first time on the river, and I honestly wasn’t even sure which river I was on! You see, Phnom Penh is located at the juncture of three rivers: Tonle Sap, Mekong River, and Tonle Bassac. Tonle Sap flows by the northern part of the riverfront area. Then, from the perspective of Phnom Penh, the Mekong joins it partway through the city, coming in at an angle from the northeast. (Of course, technically, it’s Tonle Sap that joins the Mekong, as the Mekong River is considered to continue, whereas Tonle Sap ends at that point.) Shortly after that, Tonle Bassac forks off to the southwest. All that to say: our river excursion consisted of time spent on Tonle Sap and on the Mekong River.

Our gangplank and handrail
Because most of us didn’t know exactly where the boat was docked, we met up at the embassy and then caravanned over to the riverfront in a train of tuk-tuks. When we arrived, we walked down a long set of stairs, then along a dirt path to our boat. There was a wooden gangplank and a thick wooden staff bridging the distance from the shore to the boat. As we approached, two Khmer men—one on land and the other on the boat—picked up the staff, and it became the handrail for our mercifully short trip across the way-too-flexible gangplank. Due to my natural clumsiness, I had handed Alexa over to Jeff as soon as I saw the steep stairs, and that jouncing gangplank only strengthened my confidence in that choice!

Grateful to be on relatively solid footing, I looked around the boat. It was much larger than the feluccas to which I became accustomed in Egypt; it was the size of Egyptian “party boats”—our group of 20 to 30 people didn’t come close to filling it. It had two levels: the upper level was completely exposed to the sun and had just two tables with chairs for seating; the lower level was completely shaded (although open on the sides), with a long table down the middle and wicker chairs and couches along each side. We spent almost all of our time on the lower level.

Once we all were aboard, we got on our way. Alexa had just gotten comfortable with the idea of roaming a few feet from us—always under our careful eye—when the engines turned on. Her eyes widened, and she froze in place, refusing to lift either foot, while making a noise that sounded a lot like a higher-pitched version of the engines themselves. We let her stay that way for only 2 or 3 seconds before we rescued her, picking her up and reassuring her that all was well. She was fine as soon as she was in our arms, and shortly thereafter she was willing to get back down.

Shore--see the water line near the top of the stairs?

It was nice being on the river. The breeze made it feel a bit cooler than on land, and even though it’s only March, it’s already hot and getting hotter. We currently are in the hot-dry (or hot-humid-but-it-just-won’t-rain) season. The river looks very different from how it looked when we arrived, toward the end of the rainy season. Then, the river
was even fuller than it usually is at that point, because there had been more rain than usual, and flooding was a serious concern throughout the region. If we’d taken this cruise when we first arrived, I think we would have avoided at least two-thirds, if not three-fourths, of the steps we’d taken down from the road.

Before too long, we approached some large ships that were anchored in the river. It wasn’t clear to me at first what they were doing, but as we passed them, it became apparent that they were dredging. The confluence of rivers dumps quite a bit of earth on the riverbed, and that earth must be removed. I was told that there’s quite a bit of competition for the right to remove that earth.

The shore of Koh Dach
As we passed the dredgers, we rounded a point of land and moved from Tonle Sap into the Mekong River. We traveled northeast for about 15 kilometers and then stopped at Koh Dach, or Silk Island. The coastline was studded with occasional houses or sheds floating on the river, and with several homes built much higher, where the ground leveled out. There were no flat, wide beaches here—the water lapped against grass and mud that rose steeply for a good 20 or 30 feet before leveling out.

Unfortunately, there was no place where the boat could dock level with the ground at all, much less level with the easy ground. This trip over the gangplank was much more precarious than the first. The deck was a good 5 feet higher than the land. Hence, the gangplank, not being overly long, was tilted steeply. In order to make it as sturdy as possible, the crew had wedged it into the muddy bottom, so each passenger did a controlled run down the plank, then timed their hop/step over or up to dry land before beginning the trek up to the level sandy paths and dirt roads. I took one look and handed Alexa back over to her father before I made the run, all the while praying for grace—both spiritual and physical!

The silk factory/house

Finally on level ground, without any unfortunate tumbles, we walked just a few feet down the road to a traditional Cambodian house. The area underneath the raised house had been converted into a workshop and store. Four
large looms filled most of the space. Each was threaded with two colors of silk, one primary color and an accent color of either gold or silver. The primary colors were a vibrant pink and a rich turquoise, both beautiful. We could see the traditional pattern emerging with every movement of the weavers. A small part of the shaded area was set aside as a shop, in which all sorts of silk goods were for sale: scarves, tablecloths, ties, handbags, stuffed animals, decorative wall hangings. I didn’t intend to buy anything—we’d not been told that the excursion would include a stop on Silk Island—so I didn’t ask for any prices, although some of the others made purchases.

Silkworm cocoons
Behind the house there was a shed where silkworms usually live. I wandered in while the tour was already in progress, so I didn’t catch the explanation, but there were no worms in evidence. Instead, there were cocoons, in which the worms presumably were turning into moths. I’m not sure how long they’ve been in that state or how long they will remain that way.

After our tour of the silk factory, we returned to the boat. I picked my way down the long, steep hill and then breathed a sigh of relief. In our absence, the crew had repositioned the gangplank so that it was much less steeply angled than it had been on our way down. I’m not sure I could have climbed back up it had they not moved it!

On our way back to the city, a meal was set out. I’m not sure what anything was, but it was (mostly) good. There was a spicy soup, which others loved but I hated. There were mild dishes consisting of chicken or beef with vegetables, which I enjoyed. There was normal rice (very good) and a spicy lentil-rice dish, which, again, others loved but I hated (are you seeing a pattern?). Finally, there was some dessert that was absolutely delicious. I don’t know what it was, but it was sweet, unlike many Asian desserts. It had the consistency of rice pudding, but it was a dark color and had larger objects—the size and consistency of grapes, so possibly lychee chunks—mixed in. I should have taken a picture so I could ask my housekeeper what it was and how to make it, but I didn’t.

Shortly after dinner was over, we arrived back at the docking area, barely ahead of the lightning that had been illuminating the dark sky for the last half hour or so. The wind was severe and felt dangerous; the crew actually had tried to get us offloaded sooner by docking farther south than where we’d boarded, but they decided that the ground was too muddy and we wouldn’t be able to walk from the boat to the nearby stairs. We ended up just one in a long line of boats moving quickly toward the docking area and rapidly offloading passengers, who scurried to the road and the waiting tuk tuks. It began to rain before we made it home, but didn’t get heavy until we were inside. So much for humid-but-it-just-won’t-rain!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lucky Baby, Lucky Man

On our way back from Siem Reap, when we stopped for lunch, the discussion somehow turned to the disastrous years of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Our driver, Heng*, like all other Cambodians in or over their early to mid 30s, had a story to tell.

“I was a lucky baby,” he began. Of course we wanted to know why he was lucky, so he told us his story. I admit that I’m fuzzy on some of the details, as I was seated at the far end of the table and was tending to Alexa, but here is what I believe is that story.

Heng was born in 1978. In 1979,when he was around Alexa’s current age (she’s 20 months), his family decided to escape Cambodia. His mother took him, his brother, and his sister as she and her brothers walked to the border (I presume the Vietnamese border). I believe he said it was an 18 kilometer walk, just over 11 miles. She carried him the whole way.

When they arrived at the border, Heng started to cry. His mother could not quiet him, so the family hid in the bushes, choosing not to engage in the risky crossing when he was certain to draw attention to them. I’m not certain how long they waited, if it was just a little while that night or if it was all night and day to cross the following night, but whenever they started moving toward the border again, Heng cried again. Finally, Heng’s uncles decided to risk the crossing on their own, leaving Heng’s mother and her children behind.

That was the last night of their lives.

Heng’s uncles and anyone else who attempted the crossing with them were caught that night. They paid for their “crime” of fleeing for their lives with their lives. Heng said that his brother and sister still cry whenever his uncles are mentioned. I assume that his siblings are older than he is and that they remember their uncles. Depending on just how immediate the executions were, they may remember their deaths.

The following morning, Heng’s mother picked him up, gathered her other two children, and walked the 18 kilometers back home. Ever since then, she has told Heng that he was a lucky baby, because he saved his own life and the lives of his mother, his brother, and his sister.

When Heng was older, she became less pleased with him. She wanted him to marry his cousin, but he refused. Instead, he ran off to the city. He presented himself to some Buddhist monks and asked for shelter in their monastery while he attended college. He spent four years living in the monastery, attending school, working for the monks, and eating with the monks. He told us that he was hungry every night, because the monks eat only before noon—there was no dinner for him unless he managed to find somewhere in his price range (usually free) outside of the monastery.

Then Heng graduated from college. I forget what he said he studied, or how long he worked in his field, or even if he ever worked in his field. But eventually he became a taxi driver, specializing in working for westerners. Now Heng owns multiple vehicles—at the very least, a sedan and a van. He is married, and he’s earned enough money to live in relative comfort and to send money to his family. He has paid for at least one sister’s education. Now his mother tells him that he was right to go to the city, and she’s glad he didn’t obey her.

Heng was a lucky baby, and he’s a lucky man. He survived one of the most brutal regimes in history, and as a defenseless infant, he played a role in saving his immediate family. He’s risen above his humble beginnings as a member of a poor family that survived by harvesting, purifying, and selling sugar from palm trees. He’s helped his family improve their lot in life as well. Now he is able to provide for a wife, and he proudly announced that they’ve saved enough money to start having children soon. He’s gone from such an uncertain beginning to a present filled with hope for the future.

It makes me wonder about the stories of all the others I interact with, or even just see, on a regular basis. My housekeeper. My tuk tuk driver. Our guards. All the Cambodians I see at the embassy, working in the shops and restaurants, or traveling from one place to another on the streets of Phnom Penh. They all have stories. Everyone my age and older has a story with a dark chapter in it, a story that includes horrors I don’t want to imagine. But, no matter how dark the story, it contains hope and perseverance—the fact that they’re alive tells me that much.

*Heng is not our driver’s real name. It is a pseudonym that I am using to protect his privacy. I chose the name “Heng” because it is a Khmer name (although of Chinese origin) that means “lucky.”

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Street Performance

While we were eating lunch one day in Siem Reap, in a typical open-to-the-street restaurant, we noticed a man setting up outside. He set up a tripod with a ring on the top. The ring had knives attached to it, pointing inward. After a few adjustments, he lit a match and ignited a bowl of gasoline or other flammable liquid that was perched there, causing a large whoosh of fire. He backed away and gave it a few minutes to calm down, then took off his shirt. The man was super skinny and super cut, with the most defined muscles I’ve ever seen, and with several scars. He backed up a little farther, and we realized that our suspicions were correct—he was going to jump through the burning ring.

Jeff and our friend both got up to take pictures. Our friend is a dedicated amateur photographer, and his camera has a setting that was perfect for this event; he snapped a series of pictures with a single click. Jeff had the video camera and was going to record the entire event; however, someone got in front of him at the last minute.  Here is one of the pictures taken by our friend:

We decided that it would be worthwhile to pay the man to do it again, so that Jeff could capture it on camera. The man responded by putting on a full-out show, caught on video by Jeff. For your entertainment, here it is, in three parts:

For those of you who don’t want to watch the video, or who get this blog via email without embedded video, here’s a synopsis. (As Jeff was videotaping, and I was watching while also keeping a hand on Alexa, and we haven't figured out yet how to capture still photos from the video, all of the following photos were taken by our friend.)

First, he jumped through the fiery ring again. Then he did a backward somersault and stood on his head for a moment before converting it to a handstand. Then he lit a torch and--using gasoline or other flammable liquid that he put into his mouth--he blew fire, held the fire up to his skin on his arms and chest, and put the flame down his throat.

Next, he lifted the tripod with the ring and placed one of the crossbars in his mouth. He held the tripod and ring in his mouth for several moments.

Finally, he relit the torch and balanced it. First on his nose. Then on his tongue. Yes, his tongue.

After a couple of tries to get the flame size and the wind right, he then extinguished the torch with his mouth and passed his hat. 

Jeff paid him more than we’d offered, and I hope he collected at least as much from the other onlookers. I’m not sure that’s the case, though, as one of the most notable things about this performance was just how little attention passersby actually gave to him!

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Temples of Angkor

The outer wall of Angkor Wat
While we were in Siem Reap with our friends, we visited several ancient temples that were of great religious significance during the time of Angkor, a mighty empire whose heart was in present-day Cambodia. The empire flourished, and the temples were constructed, between the years 802 and 1432. I’m not going to go into much detail on the history, or even on the temples themselves, because I’d just as soon not sound too much like a tour book! But I would like to mention the temples we visited, tell you what most stood out to me, and share a few pictures. And for potential visitors who’d like to know: Admission is via ticket. The ticket allows you to enter any of the temples, and all of the temples require a ticket for entry. The tickets are available only in one place, so no stopping at the outlying temples on the way in before you have a ticket. Tickets are $20 for one day, $40 for three days, or $60 for seven days. The three-day passes can be used on consecutive or non-consecutive days over the course of one week and the seven-day passes can be used over the course of one month.

The encroaching jungle at Ta Prohm
Our friends hit Angkor Wat itself first, for a sunrise photo visit. Jeff, Alexa, and I—quite literally—were not up for the occasion. So our first Angkorian temple was Ta Prohm. Ta Prohm, unlike most of the other temples, has not been reclaimed from the jungle, at least not fully. Trees grow in its courtyards, massive roots grow along and over its walls, and tumbled piles of stone are everywhere. If you’ve ever seen the movie Tomb Raider, you’ve seen parts of Ta Prohm, although the jasmine bush was fake and obviously everything that happened once Angelina Jolie fell through the ground happened in a studio. The most striking thing about Ta Prohm was the atmosphere. In the main courtyards, it felt much like the other temples, but it was large enough (and deserted enough, first thing in the morning) that you could wander off and experience the place largely on your own. When on your own, it felt exotic, ancient, mysterious. My Lonely Planet tour book calls it “other-worldly,” and it’s right. Ta Prohm is one of those places I definitely would like to visit again, next time with my tour book in hand and without the need to hurry up and find a restroom when I was only halfway through my exploration! (For the record, all of the temples we visited had very nice restrooms nearby.)

Angkor Wat: the view once you pass the outer wall
That afternoon, we visited the crown jewel—Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is surrounded by a moat (on which a floating village was built for Tomb Raider), with the tourist entry being via a wide sandstone causeway. It’s impressive from the road, when all you really see is its outer wall. Once you pass through that wall, though, it’s even more amazing. The path is bordered by naga balustrades and flanked by two libraries, then two pools. Finally you come to the retaining wall, and once you’re through that, you approach the temple itself. The temple complex is three stories high, with several towers, courtyards, and galleries, as well as additional library buildings. The size and grandeur of this complex were overwhelming. Much of the carvings are still very clear, which is impressive considering the time and weather conditions here.

An example of Banteay Srei's intricate bas-reliefs*
The following morning, we visited Banteay Srei, or the “Citadel of the Women.” Banteay Srei was a very small temple, but the lack of size didn’t detract from my experience of it at all. This temple has been restored, but more than that, it’s just … pretty. The carvings are intricate, and are likely to remain so, as they are roped off from visitors, unlike at the other temples. It was very crowded at this temple, so it isn't a great place to try for tourist-free photos, although it's possible with a great deal of patience and luck. Like Ta Prohm, at the exit, there was a band set up, with Cambodians playing traditional instruments. Their sign indicated that the musicians were victims of land mines, and they were playing music and requesting donations in lieu of begging. After listening to them for a while, we had the choice of two paths to get back to the entrance. We chose the one that everyone else was ignoring. It paid off, with some great views and no competition for the best photo-taking spots.

DY Proeung*
We spent the rest of that day shopping and relaxing, before leaving Siem Reap the next morning. However, the three Roluos temples were not very far out of our way, being located just off National Highway 6, so we stopped at all three of them on our way back to Phnom Penh. These three temples were the oldest we saw. In many ways, they were not as impressive as the others, but we wanted to visit because of their historical importance, as some of the first stone temples.

The temple at Preah Koh was not all that impressive in itself. It was small, and although it was interesting, it didn’t have a real stand-out quality like the others had had. However, across the street from Preah Koh was something definitely worth seeing: scale models of several Angkorian sites. When we went to see those, we realized that they were only the beginning. The site hosts a distinguished Khmer artisan, DY Proeung, one of the few masters who survived the Khmer Rouge regime. Proeung now trains younger artists in the ancient skills, and small sculptures and bas-reliefs are created and sold (at excellent prices!) at this site. I purchased a bas-relief of a group of apsara dancers and another of two elephants; Jeff purchased a model of Angkor Wat after speaking with DY Proeung and even taking a photo of the artist with the model.

The second Roluos temple was Bakong. Like Angkor Wat, Bakong is surrounded by a moat and approached by causeway. There were several outbuildings—towers and sanctuaries. The temple itself was three levels, with the steps getting progressively steeper the higher you went. That was deliberate, as it was not supposed to be easy to approach the gods. We spent some time wandering on each level, catching our breath before heading up the next flight.

Laundry at Lolei
A short distance away was Lolei, the final temple that we visited. The reservoir that used to surround Lolei now is rice fields; our driver hadn’t been to Lolei but said that he’d heard it would be inadvisable to go during the rainy season because the fields would flood, but the road seems to have been improved (i.e., raised) since then. The temple ruins themselves were not particularly spectacular at Lolei. What struck me instead were the people. There were two children stationed at the top of the entry steps, asking for money. Unlike the children at the other temples, however, these children were accompanied by an adult, dressed in school uniforms, and asking for donations to the charity school in the village. In addition to these well-behaved and not at all pushy children, monks were more in evidence at Lolei than elsewhere. There were buildings just a few feet from the ruins that evidently serve as a monastery, with monks visible inside as well as on the grounds, and their laundry was hung under the buildings and on nearby trees and shrubs.

After our brief visit to Lolei, we settled into our van for the short leg of our trip, back to Kompong Thom for lunch, and then the long leg to Phnom Penh. We enjoyed a few last hours with our guests before we all turned in for the night. They left early the next morning. It was a very enjoyable visit, and I’m grateful to them for prompting us to make our first trip to Siem Reap.

*This picture was taken by my husband, Jeff.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Cambodian Countryside

After our day of sightseeing in Phnom Penh, our friends and I loaded ourselves and a huge pile of stuff (most of it Alexa-related) into a taxi-van and made the 315 kilometer (~196 mile) drive to Siem Reap. We planned to leave the house around 9, but I think it was more like 9:30 by the time we’d finished breakfast, loaded everything, installed the car seat, changed Alexa’s diaper one last time, and finally hit the road. The trip usually takes five to six hours, from what I’ve been told; we made it in around six, including a stop for lunch in Kompong Thom.
The CPP is the political party in power; they had buildings in every hamlet

I’d been both dreading and looking forward to the drive. Dreading it because, although Alexa has been a good traveler up to this point, I keep expecting her to wake up one day and realize that toddlers aren’t supposed to be good travelers. I worried that this would be the trip in which she’d decide she hates the car seat (which would be entirely reasonable, since she hadn’t been in one since our arrival in October), hates being in a not-open-air vehicle (i.e., not a tuk tuk) for more than 15 minutes, and has to pee—or worse, poop—every 20 minutes. Luckily, Alexa retained her “good traveler” label through both this drive and the return drive just a few days later.

I’d been looking forward to this drive because it was my first opportunity to get outside of Phnom Penh and see the Cambodian countryside. I’ve had images in my mind reminiscent of my father’s old National Geographic collection; I’m sure you know the images—flooded rice paddies, men and women in loose clothing and conical hats, naked children chasing cows or dogs. Those are the images of rural Asia that westerners see in movies and magazines. Now, I did realize that I was unlikely to see much flooded anything, seeing as how we’re in the middle of the dry season, but I wasn’t sure what else to expect.

If I had to describe in one word what I saw, it would be this: green. Everywhere I looked, there was green grass, green leaves on the trees … so much green. So different from Egypt, so similar to the southern United States. But only the color reminded me of home. Everything else was very different. And very beautiful.

A Cambodian mile marker
I saw rice paddies, but they appeared mostly dry. If there was water there, it was a relatively thin layer. The paddies consisted of short green shoots that appeared more like grass from my speeding roadside perspective. There were some watering holes, small ponds in which the occasional worker stood up to ankles or knees while bending down to work. And of course, there was the Tonle Sap River, visible in many places along the way.

But even when the water was not in sight, it was in evidence. The road itself testified to the water's presence: the road virtually never was level with the surrounding land. It was raised several feet, presumably to prevent it from washing away during the rainy season, when the land floods. The houses also bore silent witness to the water—almost all of them were at or above the level of the road, built on stilts so that the one and only enclosed level was at the height of a second, or sometimes third, floor. In this dry season, the area under the houses was in use, sometimes as a dining room, sometimes as a workshop, and sometimes as a place to string clotheslines. But in almost every case, the structure itself was elevated, accessible by steps that often looked more like a ladder than stairs. Even the hay was piled onto platforms that were elevated several inches off the ground.

The houses themselves were pretty similar to each other. Occasionally we’d see one that I presume belonged to someone wealthy; those houses, minus the stilts, would have fit in well in a lower socioeconomic status neighborhood back home. But most of them would not. The pattern seemed to be single rooms, from what I could tell through the doors, of which at least half were open. The walls were made of materials ranging from 2 x 4 pieces of wood—often with holes where the boards didn’t quite meet—to metal sheeting to a couple that appeared to be thatch. A few stood off alone, but most were clustered into groups of three to five, more around the small towns. There was no evidence of electricity or indoor plumbing, but that wasn’t very surprising, as I’d already been told that most poor Cambodians are accustomed to doing their business around the corner or in the trees, and I know that even urban Cambodians don’t always have such “basics” as washing machines—my housekeeper laughed at me when I told her that I don’t purchase hand wash clothing because I won’t do it by hand; she does all her laundry by hand. Overall, it was clear that rural Cambodians must live much as they would have decades ago, and although it made for picturesque scenes for this western tourist, I understand why many young people go to the cities to earn extra money to send back to their families in the provinces.

We passed through a few small towns and one larger city, Kompong Thom. We stopped there for lunch. The driver took us to a restaurant on the main road, at the intersection of National Highway 6 and Prachea Thepatay (Democracy Street). I’m not sure of the name of the place, but it may have been attached to a hotel, and it was good. When we arrived, I rushed to the restroom—luckily I was carrying the diaper bag, which was fully equipped, because there was no toilet paper—and the others were ready to order when I came out. Jeff told me, “I want the sweet and sour pork, I haven’t picked anything for Alexa, I’m going to the restroom,” and disappeared. Approximately 30 seconds later, it was my turn to order, so I ordered sweet and sour pork for all three of us rather than hold everything up by perusing the menu. Our friends misunderstood my reasoning and promptly began teasing me for my lack of adventurous spirit. I shrugged and proceeded to enjoy my food anyway. I perused the menu a little after I’d ordered, just to see what was available. It was a mix of Khmer and Thai food, all of which sounded delicious.
Since I won't do another post for the drive back, let me also say that the American Restaurant in Kompong Thom, on Democracy Street not far from National Highway 6, also was very good. Our friends decided to stop there for lunch on the way back instead of the Khmer restaurant, I think because they thought we didn’t like the first one since we’d all eaten the same thing. The calzones were excellent, and Alexa seemed to like her chicken nuggets and fries, too. The bathroom, however … let’s just say it left much to be desired.

After lunch, we drove the remaining couple of hours to Siem Reap. We checked into the hotel and marveled at the staff’s celebration—we’d told them that it was the birthday of someone in our party and asked if there could be a cake and a few balloons waiting in the hotel, for which we’d be happy to pay. They informed us that they would provide those items for free, in accordance with their policy. We arrived at our villa to find a cake on the coffee table and balloons wrapped around a pillar in the kitchen, attached to the patio doors, in a large arch over the TV, and attached to the stair railing. Several staff members, one of them quite senior, were there to say “Happy birthday!” to our friend. It was way more than we expected, and the adults quickly tired of the plasticky balloon smell, although the highlight of the trip for Alexa was playing with the piles of balloons and having Daddy cut one off for her to take with her each and every time we got in the van.

Overall, the drive was very nice. The van was comfortable, the driver was friendly and safe, and we had a cooler full of cold drinks to enjoy on the way. The camera was close to hand, and although I didn’t get many pictures and even fewer good ones, it wasn’t because the scenery wasn’t photo-worthy; it’s just because we passed by it so quickly on the much-better-than-expected road.

Next up: Siem Reap. I’m not sure yet how I’ll divvy up the days into posts … I don’t think anyone wants to read a separate post for each of the six or so temples we saw. But in the next couple of posts at least, possibly more, I’ll tell you about our time in Siem Reap.