We probably woke up later than we were supposed to. We caught a tuk tuk at the Shining Angkor Boutique Hotel (recommended, but not windowless room no. 1), drove into the park with our tickets purchased the day before, and briskly walked the long entrance toward the temple in the growing light of morning to the small pond in Angkor Wat. The sunrise photos are what folks posture themselves for in this spot.
The lotus were blooming in the small and nearly dried out body of water in front of one of the most photographed engineered "wonders" in the world. They seemed rather difficult to capture with the backlighting of the sun. However, with the warmth of the sky reflecting in the lake, I was able to manipulate my exposure just right to pick up the pink aquatic flowers near dawn.
The temples at Angkor should not be missed and we found that the people Siem Reap present a fascinating and and beautiful picture of Cambodian hospitality.
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Salad Superlative Required
I try to avoid superlatives. I think they are overused in western society. So when I say that this is the best salad in Cambodia, I am not kidding you in the least. In fact, it may be one of the best salads in the world.
To put off dinner for a few hours, my mom and I decided to have a tea and appetizers at our hotel. We saw the banana blossom salad on the menu and thought that looked like it could be enough to hold us over and - given that we were not very hungry - possibly enough to feed us for dinner. We did not know what to expect.
This banana blossom salad was simply mouth watering. It was spicy enough to warrant a beverage on hand, but so full of flavor, spices, and fresh ingredients that it was hard to keep from shoveling the whole thing in my mouth at once! The salad far-exceeded any expectation we had of it and served a large enough portion that we did not need any other food for the evening on our sparse appetites.
If you visit Siem Reap, you will find the Shining Angkor Boutique Hotel about half way between the entrance to Angkor Wat and the city center.