Big Macs, Big Temples, Big Smiles

We’ve been getting lazy. The last 9 days we’ve been at the beach, eating loads of western food and drinking lots, enjoying the sea and generally doing nothing.

It seems like ages ago that we were in Siem Reap and it was actually two weeks ago today that we visited the Angkor temples. We arrived at 4:30am for sunrise behind Angkor Wat and spent the day touring temples including our favourites Angkor Thom and Ta Phrom (jungle temple from Tombraider).

While in Siem Reap we took a motorbike tour through the countryside to visit local villages and less touristic temples. We got to ride our own mopeds, with a lesson beforehand as they had manual gears. After breaking down two times we finally hit the road! Seth got the lady bike with the basket…

We spent a lot of time in the countryside in Vietnam and we were expecting Cambodia to look pretty similar but it was actually quite different, vast flat areas with tall palm trees, very dry and dusty (apart from the occasional paddy field) and the villages seemed noticeably poorer, but as always in Cambodia the people were really friendly and always had a smile and a wave for us.

Just before heading to the beach we ventured further into the countryside to visit a homestay in Takeo province. This was a unique place where we could experience living with a Khmer family, with all our meals cooked in their outdoor kitchen.

We rode bicycles into the local village and our friends had bought some toys and sweets that we handed out to the kids. This little girl was so happy with her new skipping rope.

Not just your average bike ride, with runaway pigs to contend with and we even saw a dog fighting with a snake!

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The homestay owners ran a free English class for children after school and we were asked to help teach a lesson, although I think we were only there for practise as their English was brilliant anyway!

Lastly, we were told we’d be getting a cooking lesson which the boys were looking forward to, but when they turned up she just had them pulling the leaves off a big bowl of vegetables, the most menial task in the kitchen! Quite disappointing really, but maybe she was just far too busy..good job we have a sense of humour!

We’re glad we got to experience rural Khmer life, such friendly, laid-back people who seem genuinely happy despite their current struggles and tragic past.

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