Saturday, 3 March 2012

Siem reap continued

We spent one more day "templing"! We hiked to Kbal Spean waterfalls, it was Suppose to take 45 min, we did it in 20. The waterfall was nice but since it was dry season there wasn't much of a flow but you could see under the water various carvings in the rocks. After the waterfall we went to banteay sery temple, it was suppose to be the best preserved temple it was very tiny and packed with tourists. An in and out kind of temple. Next was the landmine museum, I believe it was featured in the January addition of national geographic- that's how I knew about it. The owner of the museum at the age of five was forced to defuse landmines of the enemy (the USA ). Now he works for the UN and still is working to make Cambodia land mine free. This museum supports children, it an orphanage lash school for children that have been affected by landmines. My description doesn't do it any justice but it was fascinating and supports a good cause. We then completed the gran circuit.

The next thing on the list was to head to the artisan d'angkor where we had a free tour of a silk farm. Which was awesome! The worms in Cambodia are yellow unlike the Chinese silk worms that are white. The worm only eats malberry leaves. They feed in leaves for24 days and then get yellow and fat. Once they are yellow like make a cacoon which only takes 5 days. The workers kill 80% of the cacoons leaving the 20% for breeding. I could go on and on about the process but I'll skip ahead. The silk spinners are trained for six months and then pick a pattern that they will make for the rest of their career. It takes four days to make a two meter scarf.

Our last day we hit the museums. First was the war museum we arrived and an ex-soldier was our tour guide. He lost his family when he was 12 to landmines; his father collected the mines for their metal and basically one exploded killing his parents and two sisters. At 14 he enrolled in the Vietnam army in order to feed himself. When he was 17 a claymore landmine blew his arm off. All the good doctors had been killed so they had to saw the limb off without pain killers or anticeptic however they did use some coconut water- I'm not sure how beneficial the use of coconut water is. Every four years when the bone grew he would have to have it sawed off again. Kuan is now 34 and he is very happy his bone has stopped growing. I am telling you this story not only to illustrate the horrors of war but to demonstrate how powerful the impact of this museums story is. Around the museum there are shelves of guns that where used, originally left over from the Russians. You were able to pick them up and to imagine a child holding these heavy guns is disturbing to say the least. Kuan explained the beginning of Vietnam war and Cambodian civil war light hearted with a simple smile and a laugh; for a refresher to your memory this is what he told us; president Nixon wanted to make a base in Cambodia the king said no because he's friends with the viet kong but the PM said yes thus began civil war. President Nixon wanted to find the king but he went into hiding so Nixon bombed the ho chi mon trail but still he could not find the king. The king was hiding under ground with the kong. So Nixon grew very angry and used napel spray the red killing spray but still no
Luck. Humourous- I think not. Also at the museum there had been a mass grave with over 30 bodies, and so no one goes to the museum at night because of the ghosts. Also in some of the tanks the Khmer rouge would lock tank crews and generals in so they wouldn't escape and in one case they founda tank with human remains. We walked through a land mine field, it's a lot more tricky than it looks, we both go
To try stepping on land mines. We made a donation, the donation goes to supporting fifty families. We left shocked and overwhelmed. Then headed to the national museum which is more of a money grab, very repetitive and not worth it. You can easily learn anything from that museum in an Angkor wat information book sold at the temples for 1$.

Our last night there we ended uP playing trivia with an older gentlemen from Hawaii, a pro tennis player and a couple from somewhere. That was our team and we tied for first against six other teams. All proceeds went to a local charity. Ryland got a hair cut for 2$ and said it was the best haircut he has ever had. We had some amazing Indian food- we ha to sit outside with a bus driver and a tour guide because the restaurant was packed with about 50 people travelling from India so you know the food was good!!! We tried to post photos but have had some technical difficultly as the card reader we purchased reformatted our memory card and made it useless. I am not having the best of luck with technology this trip.

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