...to Thanksgiving Dinner at Angkor Wat

From November 26, 2008

I did not wake up that morning with an idea to go to Cambodia. Because we all need to get back to Vietnam and no one knows when the airport will reopen, a plan is hatched. Somebody talks our driver from the post-production house into taking us to the Thai/Cambodian border. We spend the night in a hotel and cross into Cambodia the next day. We take a van to the nearest airport and fly back to Saigon.

We passed by the BKK airport on the way out of town. There wasn’t much to see from the outside. Reportedly there were masses of protestors inside. Coincidentally, every time I find myself in Thailand, some sort of political unrest gets sparked.  Even though I don't believe it has anything to do with me, after the fires of 2010 Bangkok post-production houses started encouraging me to take my color-grading to Hong Kong.

A couple police trucks driving away from the airport were the only indication we saw that anything unusual was afoot.

If you ever find yourself in Aranyapathet, Thailand, I recommend this restaurant. The menu is in Thai, but just point at a few things. Or, if your post-production house has been kind enough to lend you their driver, let him order. This was the best meal I'd had in years.

The next morning we went by Tuk-Tuk to get our visas.

We walked across the border, took a bus to our van, and took the van to our plane.

Gambling is officially illegal in Thailand. Also in Cambodia. However the walk across the border is a little long because there is a narrow strip of land between the two countries that neither one controls. Hence it's packed with casinos. Or so the story goes.

There are not much in the way of paved roads in Cambodia. It is dusty.

So dusty in fact, that it is necessary to stop at a roadside bodega like this every couple hours to wash the dust out of the radiator.

It's just enough time to sit in a hammock and drink a beer.

The Cambodian countryside has a fantastic color palette.

We arrived at the Siam Riep Airport a few hours early for our flight.

So we decided to go to Angkor Wat by Tuk-Tuk.

On the way, my driver stopped at an Angkor gas station. That is, a lady sits by the side of the road with a bunch of gasoline-filled Johnny Walker Red bottles. You give her a dollar. A three-year-old fills the tank while she takes the money.

We stopped for lunch just across the water from Angkor Wat. This was Thanksgiving. Turkey was not on the menu, but mango salad made a fine substitute.

After lunch we crossed the water to Angkor Wat where this sign offered 3 possibilities of visit. Considering how we got there, I'd hate to think what the other two are. However you visit, it's an amazing place. See it before it crumbles.

Angkor Wat is famous for its Bas Relief imagery.

My buddy Vinh demonstrates why some parts of the Bas Relief Devatas are smoother than others.

Well that's about all there is that's fit for telling, Pictured above are the folks whose resourcefulness averted what could really have turned into an adventure. I was fortunate to be along for a nice smooth ride.  We got on the plane, got back to Saigon and I found the job I was so worried about getting back for had delayed for a month.

No comments: