Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Far from annoying

I introduced you to the two lovely drinks-sellers Tut Vy and Sou Ey a couple of days ago, who were great company, so I should also introduce my unofficial guide around the temple of Phnom Chisor, namely Anoy. As I arrived at the summit, Anoy (pictured) appeared by my side and asked if she could show me around. I asked her some questions and she replied in faltering English but enough for me to understand, so I agreed. I then spent the next two hours with this young lady who took me to every nook and cranny of the temple complex and did so with a smile, revealing her crooked and stained teeth, and a sunny disposition, especially when I asked questions about her. It was as if no-one had ever asked her questions that were non temple-related before. Her face lit up as she told me she had lived on the mountain since she was thirteen years old, some ten years ago. Every day, she offers to guide tourists if they don't have an official guide accompanying them from Phnom Penh and she has picked up a great deal of knowledge during that time, as he pointed out Indra-this, Vishnu-that, Kala-this and so on. She also directed me to a couple of carvings that I would've definitely missed if I was on my own. My Khmer pal who accompanied me from the city also enhanced my chat with Anoy, who obviously found it easier to converse at length in Khmer, as we took time to get fortunes told inside two of the sanctuaries and to ask more questions about the history of the site. I was impressed by her desire to make sure I saw everything that her temple had to offer, she oozed pride about her place of work, living off the tips she gets for her guiding and scampering away with delight and her crooked tooth smile when I thanked her for her help with a few dollars. Below is another photo of the two drink-sellers Tut Vy and Sou Ey, whose cackles and laughter is still ringing in my ears days after my visit. I might just go back there in a couple of months to see these two ladies again and get an update from Anoy about her temple.

Tut Vy and Sou Ey at their place of work on Phnom Chisor

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