Published: May 12th 2009May 12th 2009
We’ve been in Cambodia for a few days now and even though we flew north from Saigon we didn’t escape the heat at all. To add to it, we’re just on the cusp of monsoon season so it’s also very humid and we’ve had a few rain storms since we’ve arrived (they are heavy but short-lived and mostly take place in the afternoon). Our game plan to make the most of our time here and not be held back by the weather was to hit the temples early (like early, early - our wake up call is 5:45 a.m. - groan), be back by mid-day for lounging and relaxing by the pool to avoid being out in the hottest part of the day and
to be back out of the wilderness before the afternoon rains hit.
Most of the guidebooks suggest renting an air-conditioned car to tour the temples (they are spread over a huge area and, as I mentioned, there is that insane heat), but after the oppressive sweat factory that is Saigon - heat, shmeat - it can‘t phase us anymore. Like, I wouldn‘t walk in fire, but anything cooler than boiling I’m good to go. We thought
since we were heading for Angkor Wat first, the most famous and closest temple to town, we’d try a tuk-tuk (air-conditioning be damned) and see how that went. All the literature tells you that it’s too hot and the roads too dusty to take a tuk-tuk but I’m happy to report that they’re all wrong. Yes, the roads are dusty, but maybe because of the time of year not so that it’s unpleasant or all that noticeable even (dusty for me is the drive up to the cottage and Siem Reap has nothing on that). Plus, because the tuk-tuk is open on all sides and covered on top we had a glorious breeze the whole way and were covered from the sun. Sweet. The temples are a lot closer together than we first imagined and this quickly helped us decide that the tuk-tuk was the most fun way to get around no question and since we’d also lucked out with perhaps the nicest tuk-tuk driver in town on our first day, we decided to book him for the next three mornings.
The temples are all beautiful and very different from each other so we’re not yet templed out on
Approaching from the west gate
day three, but I am taking way, way too many pictures (I even turned the “click” sound off on the camera because it was starting to annoy me). It goes something like temple, temple, temple, dog
, temple, temple, temple, monks
, temple, temple, temple, temple, jungle chicken
, temple, temple, temple, tree
, temple. Now just repeat that 50 more times each day. My SD cards keep filling up but thankfully I can copy it all to the netbook (greatest travel toy in the known universe) and upload them online as I go. We’re also getting close to a grand total of twelve hours of vacation video (which I promise not to subject you to. Maybe).
True to dream schedule we are usually lounging by the pool (in the shade, cuz that’s how we roll) by noon for a little cool down before heading out for other adventures. On day one we even had time for a spa visit in the afternoon. I opted for the tame and usually predictable facial, but T, far braver than I, went for something new - a Thai Relaxation Massage. Sounds soothing, I know, but let me offer you all a sincere word of caution: be
afraid of the Thai massage. Be very afraid. T was probably hoping for some TLC on her travel-weary bones but instead essentially had the crap beat out of her by a small Cambodian woman for an hour. I was wondering what all that rhythmic smacking coming from the other room was and nows I knows. Not one to suffer alone, T demonstrated the most painful and weird moves she was subjected to back at the hotel and my hats off to her as I admire anyone who can not completely burst out laughing (or curse) when a perfect stranger tries to force your ankle behind your ear while thrashing you steadily on the side of the head.
There are more photos below