right around noon, during the hottest time of the day in the hottest month of the year, i asked my tuk tuk driver to bring me to preah kahn, just north of angkor thom. there wasn't much to see, and coming back we stopped at phnom bakheng (the hilltop temple with the nice view of angkor wat) and angkor wat. i chatted with some monks, both 19 years old. considering that they were monks and forbidden to have girlfriends, they seem to love talking about girls and awful lot. one of them confessed his love for britney spears when he heard that i was from america, and the other one gave me his ranking for most desireable girlfriend, number 1 being japanese, followed by european, then chinese. things were going great until one of them asked me to read his autobiography (a few pages of cursive english in a notepad), which was essentially a plea for money. is nothing free? i said good bye and went off to take some more photos. also for the first time i used a brand new strategy to get rid of unwanted touts: i pretend i can only speak chinese and don't understand a word of english. it seemed to work, mandarin as a repellent.

it was bound to happen, with so many things to remember everyday, sooner or later i would lock myself out of my own. i went downstairs to ask if they had a spare key, and i followed a boy with a pair of playing cards who went to my door and opened it just like you would in the movies, but sliding the cards through the lock. it was scary, made me realize that at any moment somebody could just come into my room when i wasn't there and rob me. maybe it's time to find a new guesthouse!

i went to that japanese cafe again for dinner, the 4th time, only because it's close and cheap, despite the crappy service. i had my usual, zasaimen with a caramel shake, but for some reason they didn't turn on the fan, so i was sweating like a pig, until the japanese boss saw me and said something to his cambodian employees, who immediately turned on the fan. i was reading "sex slaves (in asia)," a book about the sexual exploitation of asian women, sitting next to a middle-aged man at the bar who seemed like he was here in cambodia for more than just khmer ruins. it was a nice irony. after dinner, i wandered back to the guesthouse, passing by a fancy hotel and asking them how much it'd cost to stay there. "US$250," the woman told me. oh. guess i'll continue staying at my US$10 guesthouse.

water bottles

preah kahn stupa

hall of dancers

angkor monkeys

linga, phnom bakheng, angkor wat

monks, angkor wat

monster gecko (background)

normally geckos are 1-3" long at most, but that monster gecko was at least 8". it scared the crap out of me when i first saw it, i thought it was just a fake lizard taped to the wall until i realized it was quite real. how something the size of a rat manages to stick to the ceiling is beyond me. if that monster gecko ever got into my room i'd scream and change guesthouse immediately.