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Friday, December 29, 2006

Killing an AK47 at Angkor W(h)at?

Christmas time is over and it was different from other years...

Christmas day I spend by going on a trip in and around Phnom Penh by TukTuk. The first stop was the Tuol Sleng Museum, a prison (S-21) where Pol Pot's security forces detained, interrogated and killed approximately 20.000 people. Looked very scary and made prepared us for what was going to be next on the Killing Fields. The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek consist of some 129 mass graves of people killed by the Khmer Rouge. You are literally walking on pieces of bone and clothes of the people buried there... and yes, the pits in the picture are the graves! Again very impressive.

After that it was time for my Christmas gift. We went to a nearby shooting range and I treated myself to 25 bullets and an AK47 ($30) :-) I had never fired (or even hold) a real gun before and now I was holding an authentic Russian AK47. It was loud and I had fun, but I will never be a big supporter of guns, they just are scary! The AK47 was just one of the many weapons you could fire, they also offered handgrenades ($25), pistols, and even a Bazooka ($200).

Ruudje shooting an AK47 (turn your head...)!!! (movie)

Back in town I paid a visit to the central market and walked back to our guesthouse. That night we had a nice Indian diner, but the real Christmas feeling never surfaced. Still had a great time with some great people!

The next day I left early for Siem Reap. Different people told me the trip would take between 4 and 6 hours. That is if your bus doesn't break down... and guess what happened to my bus?! Indeed, we had to push start the bus 3 times after they had to change some parts of the engine. Fun to experience, but my trip took 8,5 hours due to these delays :-(

In Siem Reap I walked around a little and decided to go to the Tempels of Angkor to see the sunset (a tocket bought after 5pm is valid for the next day as well and that's a good thing since they cost US$ 20). Arriving at Angkor and seeing Angkor Wat for the first time, the only thing i could think of was: WAUW!!! The Angkor complex is the world's largest religious complex and that is quite impressive! The sunset was not that spectacular, but still had a great time there.

Today was going to be my big Angkor day. Rented a bike and arrived at the complex around 8.30. Describing what I've seen there is the same as describing the feeling you get when you see Mount Everest or the Great Wall for the first time. Words simply cannot describe it, you have to experience it!! I made tons of photos and walked/cycled around all day, just being impressed by the sheer magnitude of the complex. A recommendation to everyone: go there! Angkor Wat, Bayon, Baphuon & Phnom Bakheng are all stunning pieces of craftsmanship and still look great!

And then it happened... Ruud wouldn't be Ruud if he doesn't crash his bicycle at least once a year. However, the year is almost over and I haven't crashed yet. That was until the chain of my bike decides to snap, propelling me of the pedals and smacking into the asphalt :-( The result: several scratch marks on my left side (leg, but, elbow, shoulder) and some bruises all over my body. Nothing permanent, but it still hurts a little! Cheap ass, Cambodian bikes!!!

Yesterday it was time for the infamous bus trip from Siem Reap to Bangkok. Rumor goes that an airline company is paying the Cambodian government not to fix the road from Siem Reap to the border crossing with Thailand... Getting in a big minivan at 8am, enjoying the rollercoaster ride over the Road-of-Broken-Backbones, changing buses twice in Thailand because it "broke down" (conveniently at a restaurant probably owned by the buscompany) and arriving at 9pm in Bangkok were all included in the the $12 ticket ;-)

Check out part of the bumpy ride (movie)

I will stay in Bangkok for 3 nights and then I will fly to Ko Pha-Ngan. Here I will celebrate New Year and be part of one of world's most famous parties: The Full Moon Party!!! Besides that, I want to doing nothing but lying on the beach and relaxing!

I don't know when the next update will be but for now:

Laa Kawn!


Anonymous said...

Hey Ruud,

leuk om te lezen dat je het (meeste) nog steeds leuk vindt! Bij deze trouwens alvast een gelukkig nieuwjaar.. enkele uurtjes voordat wij het vieren !!


Anonymous said...

Hee die Ruud
alvast een gelukkig nieuwjaar en nog een fijne reis verder


Marjan en Rob said...

Vaanoet un gries en naat Wieert de allerbeiste winse en un gooi gesoondheid gewins vaan us 2 veur 2007. Veer höbbe al ieder begrepe dat aoch Angkor What erreg sjoen moot zien allein soms erreg drök.
Spooj diech mèh neet waant er is mèhr wienig schnie gevalle in de berreg.
Zien us wel weer in Wiert
Taant en Noonk

Anonymous said...

Hey Ruud,
Mooie foto's van Cambodja! Word er steeds enthousiaster over als ik jouw verhalen lees! Maar ik heb nog niet geboekt, dus niets is nog zeker... Veel plezier nog de laatste maand!
x Judith

Shoshannah said...

Hey you!
still no update! It's been quite some time now! I hope indonesia is great fun - ayuthaya is ok. You'd be proud of me - I rented a bike and rode it all day without crashing once! I haven't been on a bike since I was like, 10, seriously. ;) I did however get chased by a gang of ferocious dogs for 10 minutes and could only escape by jumping up onto a high wall and seriously bashing my shin in in the process. :( Anywho, I hope you're having a great time and I will (hopefully) talk to you soon!


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