Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Jungle Rumble

Dawn start to avoid the tourist hordes that flock to the temples of Angkor. At 7am we were a bit late due to our tuc-tuc driver not showing. So we took another, but as we were paying the park entrance fee (20 dollars each Inc another ID mugg shot) our missing driver called his opposition to claim his clients and then turned up to argue his case. Too late mate, I'm afraid. So off we went with our new best mate.

Angkor Wat was first and the sheer size of the place is staggering. And this is but one of many, even bigger complexes. Only a couple of people around added to the mystery of the place. We even met one pair of incongruous looking newly weds having some pictures taken - well I guess it's not a bad background!

Inside, the corridors are dark and slippery as I found out to my cost. My ankle turned over and I followed, crashing into the temple walls. I could have saved myself but decided to save the Leica instead. Those walls are tough but I got away with just a grazed and slightly bloody arm. But my ankle got worse and after three hours I had to give up and settle for a ride around the place. It's ballooned and I can now hardly walk which means I can't hike the two clicks into the jungle to see the really impressive trees growing from the temple walls. It's seizing up and I may not be able to walk at all soon.

The people here are incredibly stoic. Some 200 have been drowned in these floods, but talking to them they just shrug. They just get on with life without, as far as I can see, any complaint. People line the overflowing river bank to fish and the rest just wade through the waters to the still open shops without batting an eyelid.

Very few cars here, it's all scooter and bicycle power and everyone drives basically where they want with just a nod to the driving on the right rule. But no one drives fast and it seems to work. I was astonished at the sight of a woman lazily brushing the dust off the main road, right in the middle of the road, as the swarm of traffic parted around her. I missed a great shot there...

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