The day began with a late start as I craved some extra sleep for my weary legs. We had a new driver for the third consecutive day, who took us to the earliest temple group of Angkor to the east of Siem Reap called the Roulos temples formed in the mid 9th century. Several temples exist in the area but beyond the scrap heap of apparently ruined temples only three main ones still have stayed intact to this day. All in all the temples weren’t anything special. If I were to do the tour once more I would begin with these smaller temples before the behemoths such as Bayon or Angkor Wat could overshadow them. I still appreciated the history resting at my feet as well as the magnificence of building such architecturally and aesthetically outstanding temples but I was starting to get templed out and these three didn’t stretch the imagination enough to keep me exploring as fervently as the first couple days. We completed the Roulos group earlier than we or the driver expected as we journeyed back to pub street for another bowl of the addicting masterpiece of culinary genius that is Khmer fish amok. After filling our bellies, the Euro couple went back for a siesta while I went in search of a bus ticket to Battambang, the second largest city in Cambodia and supposedly a French colonial style town. I had decided for some time to avoid doing business with the guesthouses or hostels I stay with since I prefer to not mix my business interests because accommodation tends to take a larger cut than most due to their ready availability. I found a fair price for a bus that would leave three days from now, giving me two more days to enjoy Angkor and all it has to offer. I think five days is more than enough; I never planned on using the entirety of my seven day pass and now I can say to myself I got my money’s worth. The bus would be leaving on the 13th of April, the day before the three day Khmer New Year festival that involves Cambodians from all over the country flooding the temples of Angkor in worship, song, dance, and pure celebration. As much of a sight it would, it would ruin my enjoyment of the temples. Knowing the three of us got rightly screwed today with only a couple hours of temples for the same price, I argued whole heartedly with our original driver over the situation, we went back and forth over the price and package of the tour, continuing a never trend of pure madness on his part. I refused to back down over how much of a rip off the three temples were and telling him the least he could do was take us to Angkor Wat one last time in the late afternoon. After many times similar to the night before when he continued his charade of ignoring me before acting like we both agreed to terms and a price he thought up on his own, he relented on taking us to Angkor Wat for an hour. Angkor wat had better lighting than the first day as the sun now stood behind us to the east. After taking the necessary pictures from a variety of angles, I toured the two libraries in front of Angkor Wat before viewing the bas reliefs one more time. Back at the guesthouse I tried breaking down how I would be spending my last two days at Angkor since I had basically seen all the nearby temples and didn’t want to spend the extra cash for the far most temples. Since tonight was my last night with Eastern Euro couple, I joined them for dinner. I had a Italian style sort of dish of peppered chicken with tomatoes, green peppers, and onions while they had their happy pizzas, which I was only too happy to sample (with less cheese on the Greek pizza, the ‘herbs’ were far more noticeable. We enjoyed the remainder of the night playing cards with beers at our sides. After a chilled shower, I read up on an Angkor book my roommate let me borrow so that I could glean some history on the temples I had been and a historical perspective of the empire as a whole before I managed to find the sand man amidst the beads of constantly dripping sweat.
‘Wats’ in Cambodia Day 120: Roulos Temples