National Museum and Silver Pagoda

We spent last night watching telly in our room. Simon went to the shop and bought some chocolate and the stupid romantic comedy that we watched with Jennifer Anniston made for some well needed light relief after the days activities.

Today we have planned to visit The National Museum and Silver Pagoda. We have been trying to make up our minds whether to leave Cambodia within the next few days and spend longer in Vietnam or stay here. We even briefly discussed not going to Australia and staying in South East Asia but in the end decided moving on has so far, always proved to be the best option.

We have some breakfast, I can’t face fruit today and have a pineapple and honey pancake, as the calories pile on I console myself with the excuse that it is Saturday after all. We walk out to the main road and up towards The Royal Palace and The Silver Pagoda. The Royal Palace turns out to be closed until 2pm, so we make our way in a musical tuk tuk to The National Museum.

The museum houses many beautiful sculptures and includes pieces from the pre- Angkorian period as well as many of the Hindu Gods. There are also some wonderful Buddha images and we were particularly interested in the photographs that showed the restoration of one large statue. The galleries exhibits also include lots of iron work and we show Maisie the elephant bells. A bit like a bell that goes round a cats neck but we don’t think Saffy would be able to move with that weighing her down!

After a drink over looking the Tonle Sap River we walk to The Royal Palace. The palace is very ornate and similar to The Grand Palace in Bangkok and Simon takes some good photos. Me and the kids are too heat exhausted to do much though which is a shame as I would have liked a good look around. We sit on the steps in the shade bickering over who is the hottest. When I looked back at the pictures later it just looks like a lovely sunny day and there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of the absolutely draining heat.

From there we wander round to The Silver Pagoda, it was inspired by Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok and also houses a beautiful little green Buddha image said to be made of Baccarat crystal. It seems to glow in the afternoon sun and is semi translucent. The pagoda’s floor is made of 5000 silver tiles although most are covered up by huge rugs.
In front of the small Buddha is a life size gold one decorated with over 2000 diamonds, the largest of which weighs over 25 carats.

We spend an hour watching an excellent film about the history of the temples of Angkor and then head off back. The kids are a bit hot for schoolwork and take some persuading but in the end write 2 really great pieces of work about Cambodia. They include as many facts as they can about The Angkor Period and The Khmer Rouge. I’m surprised and pleased that they have retained so much information and proud that they can write about difficult subjects so well.
In the evening we walk up the road to a bar called The Cambodian Cafe. On the way we pass a small market, there are lots of families milling around and it actually reminds me of home when the firework competition is held on The Hoe in Plymouth. One thing that you don’t see there though are the piles of deep fried insects. There are some massive spiders, tiny birds with beaks intact and duck eggs complete with duckling foetus ready to eat straight out of the shell. Horrible!

We have pizza and a few beers for dinner instead and eventually make our way back to The Okay Guesthouse. I lie on the beds listening to Joss Stone; we bought 3 new CD’s today and also got the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s and The Kaiser Chiefs. Only a quid each- excellent. Tomorrow we are leaving for the border town of Kamput and The National Park area of Kep. We want to see a bit more of rural Cambodia and think this will be a good opportunity to be a bit more adventurous.

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