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Mekong Cruise - Siem Reap - Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Drive to Siem Reap

sunny 37 °C

Sad day today - we are leaving our lovely Scenic Spirit for the five hour drive to Siem Reap. It's not really that far and the road is excellent, bitumen all the way, but we stopped a couple of times along the way to visit the "Happy Room".

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Our friends were out early this morning, loading their winter melons. (Doesn't feel like winter to me, but it is!)

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Our bags being taken off the ship to the waiting luggage van. They were passed from one to another.

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Although it is quite a good road, it is still chock a block with all sorts of traffic, driving from dead slow to dead fast and there is no centre line, so sometimes it makes passing a bit tricky.

Our first stop was a village where the stone cutters work. Their workshops line the road and there is dust EVERYWHERE! They make the most amazing statues, mostly of Buddah and you can buy a large one for about 350 - 400 USD. Goodness knows how much it would cost to ship it home.

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Back on the bus for about an hour or so and then we stopped at this amazing Khmer bridge. It was built in 800 and is a solid stone construction. Quite lovely. It is called Kompong Kdei Bridge. It is located on Highway No 6, the main road leading to the city of Siem Reap. It was built by Jayavarman the Seventh in Angkor period about 1000 years ago. It remains in good condition however the road No 6 has been diverted by way of a 1.3 km bypass and a new bridge has been built with the aim of preserving the Kompong Kdei and preventing heavy trucks crossing the bridge. It now only allows pedestrians and villagers on motor bikes or bicycles to use it. It spans the Chi Kreng River and is 86 metres long. The bridge is recognized as the longest corbelled stone arch bridge in the world with 21 corbel arches sustained by 20 pillars which all are made of laterite. At the beginning / end of the bridge are four big nine headed Naga. The figure of Naga is sacred to Cambodian people and they worship Naga as a god giving them love and protection for their life and their country.

While there, we met the Scenic bus coming the other way, loaded with passengers who would be taking our places on the Scenic Spirit. We briefly chatted with them and told them they were in for the trip of a life time. They were filled with excited anticipation, just like we were a week ago! I was sneaking a photo of this family and when I crossed the bridge, they all wanted to pose for me.

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We arrived in Siem Reap, and immediately stopped for lunch at this lovely hotel.

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After lunch we checked into our hotel. Mao took my tablet to try to get the cracked screen fixed, but brought it back in the evening saying that it would cost about 200 USD but the screen had to come from Thailand and would take a week to get here. I'll be home by then, so will check out my options leisurely when I have all the facts.

We had a free afternoon, and after sleeping on the bus all the way to Siem Reap, you would think we would be jumping out of our skins, but no, we lay on the bed reading and of course, dozed off.

We dressed for dinner and went to the restaurant Square 24 for dinner. It was a lovely restaurant, open to the garden so it felt like you were sitting in the garden, even though you weren't. It was Cambodian food again. We are slowly getting used to it, but people are gradually coming down with mild tummy upsets.

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The wifi is so fast in the hotel that I have been able to catch up with my blogging which was a few days behind.

Posted by gaddingabout 21:40 Archived in Cambodia

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