Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Three Srey's

The adorable Three Srey's: LtoR: Srey Lin, Srey Nean and Srey Ng
New Year's Day was spent along Route 2, foraging south of Phnom Penh, revisiting old favourites and investigating new venues. The 12th century temple of Ta Prohm at Tonle Bati was the main target. I'd not visited the area for a few years and it's a well-kept shrine with impressive carvings and well worth a visit. I also stopped by a couple of other pagodas that house Angkorean relics as well as visiting three sites where more modern-day reminders exist, in the form of genocide memorials. However, the real highlight of my day was meeting the Three Srey's. They appeared at my side as soon as I arrived at the Tonle Bati temple and never left it for the rest of my two-hour visit. They were so adorable. Six year old Srey Ng was the cheekiest and kept punching my bum before running away squealing with delight. Srey Lin, a year older, was the quietest of the trio as she held my hand, while eight year old Srey Nean was the leader of this gang of cuties, spoke a few words of English and had the biggest smile to melt any heart. We played hide and seek in the temple complex, they told me they come to the temple every day and that the weekends and holidays were the busiest times for visitors. On rare occasions, the children that frequent some of the temples around Cambodia can be a little annoying but the Three Srey's enhanced my visit immeasurably, as I flashbacked to my earliest visits to the temples of Angkor in the mid-90s, when every souvenir-seller I met was called Srey (= young girl).

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