June 14, 2008

Same, same... but different!

(I actually managed to upload, one of my own photos!]

I've kinda got into a rhythm now... Get up at 4:30 am... fall into the waiting Mr.Nol's Tuktuk (A moto with a wagon attached) and the ride through the still quiet town of Siam Reap and out to the woods of Angkor... All the security guards are sound at sleep on their posts, outside the bigger hotels/resorts, banks and VIP houses and some shops... The few motos or bicycles on the streets are driven by yawning drivers and the kids on the back (And front... all 3,4,5 of them) are sleeping against each others backs (wonder, they don't fall of!)... A few street kitchens are either opening or closing.. You can tell by the state of drunkenness of their customers, which it is... It's still pitch black and I'm freezing.. But even I learn ! So today I've brought my warm jacket and a silk scarf... Then it's not so bad, I almost is asleep as well, when a bat flies into the inside light of the Tuktuk, and he lands at my feet... His furry belly touching my toes.... This is where I yelp out like puppy... He died from the collision and it's a easy matter, getting him out... But it sure sets my heart pounding...This is way too early for me....!

But then we arrive at this magnificent artificial lake, [the 986 century] Solitary and out of the way and thus avoiding the crowd at Angkor Wat, proper! As I sit next to the lion guarding it and see the sunrise ( All 5 secs! It has and still is very cloudy!) I manage to blot out the group of babbling Japanese behind me. - And the persistence of the usual band of kids selling; bracelets, guidebooks, coffee and what have you... leaves me unperturbed... Ah... the beauty of it all; A man fishing with a spear inside the lake, the birds and the rings of water where the fish comes up for air.....!
Today we do the "real thing" meaning; I'm being driven around, from one temple to the next... And everywhere we stop, I have to buy at least a postcard from the kids.. If not their pouting and nagging will give me bad luck for the rest of my life...! ( Me thinks...)
I invite Mr. Nol for breakfast and we have a good conversation about life, economy and lack of it, loss, the joy of good health and loving children (He lost both his parents during the Pol Pot regime - he's 41 yrs now) and this mans kindness and gentle ways impress me no end...!
The we take off again and the temple of Te Keo rises before us - the only temple in the Khmer empire, which is build a bit like the Inca pyramids, it stands "only" 22 mtrs high, but the 'steps' are extremely steep and has been corroded over the years... Well, I think I can get to the top... So I start.. Halfway I'm not so sure and when I finally get to the absolute top, I'm aware of 'things' - can hardly use the word; muscle, for what I have left in legs.....- I didn't know I possessed! And hurray, what do I find at the top - besides an fantastic view over miles and miles of dense forest? Yes! Two kids selling Buddha, Ghanesh and other Hindu gods statuettes and postcards! To my complete and utter surprise; These two are incredibly nice, soft mannered and well spoken in English!!! To the usual question of my origins, the 13 yr old boy named Hin answers:" The capital is Copenhagen and the money is Kroner - Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Checoslovakia has Kroner - Same, same but different money! " Now I'm impressed! So I sit down and we have a talk; The cost of schooling ( 500 Rial a day!- 4000 Rial = 1 USD) which is preposterous, considering that an average worker makes max. 20 $ a month! So that's why they are selling in the morning, so they can attend school in the afternoon...( So of cause I buy some of them!) We compare scars we have on our legs and they tell me how a Japanese fell of this pyramid, breaking an arm, a leg, lost 4 front teeth and the camera went boinky, bonkity, boink... down the stairs... Later they teach me some Khmer words... Which I forget in the same instant I begin my crawling decent... Actually I'm scared shitless all the way down, my legs quiver, my heart's thundering and I decide that this was the last time I climb anything... never mind pyramids!
After some more of this spectacular place, I'm all "Templed out" by 11:00 am.. and we head home just in time, before the heavens opens up and an all day rain starts... It's still raining....!
Mr. Nol will be waiting again tomorrow at 05:00 am.................

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