Phnom Penh - 11th December 2007

Decided on a bit of a change in scenery and so hopped on a bus yesterday morning to get me to the capital.  It was a reasonably painless 6 hr trip to get here and after fighting through the tuk tuk drivers to get my luggage I was rather surprised to hear my name being called.  Seems either the guesthouse or my driver from Siem Reap (who I ran into the night before) had called one of his mates and told him that a guy called Ben was on his way here.  It’s actually a pretty common thing - lots of the tuk tuk drivers were waving signs with the names of different passengers on.

Anyways I decided to entertain this industriousness and go along with him, if for no other reason than one tuk tuk driver is as good as the next.  I told him I wanted a guesthouse by the lake and he took me to a place known as the “No problem Guesthouse”.  Rooms are shabby compared to the previous place but they are a couple bucks cheaper ($4 a night here) there’s one hell of a view from the common area, they have some pretty cheap food,  and the straw that made this camel stay at the “No problem Guesthouse” - a free full size pool table.

That back deck is one hell of a place to chill.  As sunset was approaching a young boy in a canoe paddled up and offered me a paddle around the lake for $1.  Not much to argue about with that.  Once we got out there the cheeky little bastard tried get a couple more out of me, which I was going to pay anyways - he’s 10years old at the most and earning a living rowing folks around, least he should get is more than $1 for a half hours work…. 

 Here’s a couple shots from the boat and then of the sunset from the deck:







More temple shots

As promised here are a couple more temple shots - expect them to keep coming for a bit…






Angkor, What!? - 3rd December 2007

Ok, this is what Cambodia is all about, temple ruins.  They are touted to have the best temple ruins in the world and I’d have to say that I’d be surprised to find out that wasn’t the case.  Got myself a 3 day pass for US$40 which is a bit steep around these parts, but hey, it’d be a bargain at twice the price.  I’m told that there are many times more tourists around now than even only 2 years ago - tourism is exploding here and as such I feel quite lucky that I’ve gotten here when I have.  Sure there were other tourists at all the temples I went to, sure there were lots of them in total.  But there were also lots of temples…so the tourists do get spread out somewhat.  I imagine that in a couple more years they’ll be overrun. At the moment I was able to get MOST of the shots I wanted to get without any people in by just sitting down and waiting…sooner or later the scene that I was shooting would be tourist free and I’d grab the shot and move on.  In the future this simply wont be possible, there’ll be too many folks running around to ever get any empty wide shots.

One thing that really surprised me was the level of access you get to them.  These are thousand (some of them) year old ruins, I’m sure their value is near limitless, yet aside from the odd roped off section or sign warning you out of a dangerous bit you can just wander all through them, wherever you like.  If something like this were in Aus I can imagine there being a set route that you walk through without any chance to deviate and with the greater part of it sectioned off.

Anyways I’ve taken an obscene amount of shots these past three days.  It will take a long time to crunch through them but here are a couple edits from the first part of the first day, expect many more temple shots to come:








Street shots - November 2007

As promised here are some shots from around the streets where I am staying.  The whole place has quite a ‘village’ feel to it, which for the moment still enchants me.  I quite like just wandering about and seeing the (very foreign) sights.  One thing I haven’t managed to catch on film yet but have seen a couple times is the little kids leading herds of water buffalo through the streets at sunset.  Whenever I go out at that time with a camera the buggers elude me…


Some shots of the charming little side street I live on: 



Here’s the main street of town, in S.E. Asia two wheels are king: 


 I have no idea what this place is about but I laughed my ass off at the sign:


They take their traffic jams seriously here.  I was on a motorcycle taxi supplied by the guesthouse I was staying at, heading back home when we got into the following mess.  I decided to get off and walk and got home about a half hr ahead of the driver, sometimes two legs are better even than two wheels:

















Chillin' in Siem Reap - November 2007

After a couple days in the 3$ a night guesthouse I decided to move to a more expensive option, this one almost broke the bank @ $6 a night.  For this I get a place only a couple minutes walk from the town center (as opposed to about a half hr) free bananas, bread, toast, jam, tea & coffee.  So anytime I feel like a snack I can just wander down to the common area (which is always well stocked) and just fix myself one.  The coffee is worth the extra $3 just by itself…

Anyways back to the town, they have the largest religious structure ever built by man right next to the town here yet I’ve been unable to summon the motivation to go and see it.  Firstly because I’ve heard there are lots of tourists there and secondly because just simply wandering the town and the little side streets is enough of a delight in and of itself.

Here is a little bit of a virtual tour of my new guesthouse, stay tuned for some shots of the surrounding streets and some of the daily life that goes on here (was going to include it in this post but feeling lazy right now).

My Room:


As you walk out of my room if you turn to the left you can see the interior of the building:


If you walk striaght ahead out my door however (or turn right) you end up on the balcony:



Which has a nice view:


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