We ate at a Chinese restaurant, having not had much food, it wasn't that cheap, food wasn't great, but we hadn't had lunch and dinner and it was 10 at night. Alex got his cheap beer and all was great.

We decided to cycle to Angkor the next day, renting some bikes for a dollar each. The traffic was full of motorbikes, but after adjusting to the pace and learning how to cross junctions, it was fine. From our area, Psar Chaa (Old Market) in Siem Reap, we would cycle by the river, Stung Siem Reap, down the Blvd Charles De Gaulle... past the opulent hotels, the Grand Hotel D'Angkor, Le Meridien etc... the riverfront was pleasant... lined with lamps left over from colonial times, and there were still buildings in the French colonial style. Admission to Angkor was 20 USD for a day, and we decided to pay for that and not 3 days as we needed to move on soon. We got ourselves some riel to pay for little things. Inside... we still had a few more kilometres to cover, but it was tree-lined with good roads... we finally hit the dirt track and our first glimpse of the famous moat... it was amazing.

Now Angkor of course, is filled with tourists, being a famous temple just like Borobudur in Indonesia... but it didn't feel as if it was swarming with touts... we parked and locked our bikes just outside Angkor Wat itself. Many of the visitors were Khmer or Thai, and perhaps we missed the busloads of tourists by arriving a little later... it was really majestic, and you could imagine that kings strolled through the fields and forests... and the strategic addition of donkeys and horses added to the rustic feeling. From the outside, the silhouette of Angkor is stunning, but what's amazing are the carvings up close.

Inside the temple, which is restored, of course, not in its original state, there are numerous corridors and windows, which are themselves lined with colonnades and pillars. Some parts are dark, and a sudden streak of light from a hole can seem almost holy. There were statues of Buddha, yet the carving was predominantly of Hindu figures, like Tanah Lot in Bali. There were garudas, devas, asuras, apsaras and everything. Especially apsaras, who are dancing nymphs. Angkor Wat is roughly symmetrical... and there are huge murals on each side... in fact 3 on each face. There was the Churning of the Ocean of Milk, where the gods and demons fought over an elixir of immortality in the sea, using the giant serpent as a tug-of-war rope.

We adjourned for lunch, then cycled north to the Bayon. Now Angkor has this really "theme park" feel, but not in a bad way... I mean... it's such a huge complex, with so many temples, and each has its own attraction... and the large dust paths make and open fields make it look open and huge. And it's also lined with forest. The Bayon is another temple, with various faces of Avalokitesvara, whoever that is. It's also grand. Gosh, I'm out of words. We went to the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King, which sound really grand, but it's really nice terraces decorated with elephants.

In Angkor you get the feeling that archaeology is alive and ongoing, as you see various sites closed, as temples are currently being rebuilt or restored by archaeological teams from around the world... like China and Germany... we say Phnom Bakheng... where they filmed Tomb Raider and trees grew wild among the ruins.

We cycled back towards town at around 6... along the way, I saw the first p�t� baguette for just 1000 riel! It was wrapped in paper and behind there would be lists of common infectious diseases and ticks indicating what the said patient was suffering from, taken from the nearby hospital... hmmm.

at night, there was a "big religious debate" fuelled by the book "history of god".

Next: Phnom Penh

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