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Published: April 29th 2007
We took the bus to Siem Reap at 7:30 am the next morning. It was the greatest views of the countryside we had had yet. We arrived in Siem Reap at about 1:30 pm or so and were taken by tuk tuk to our hostel, the Queen Angkor Villa. We met Yadira and Angelou at their hotel “The Villa” and went for fruit shakes at the Khmer Family Restaurant. A group of boys selling postcards followed us into the restaurant. They were really clever and had a great marketing tactic.
“Where are you from?” A boy would say.
“The United States.”
“Capital Washington D.C. Where in the U.S. are you from?”
“No, but so close!”
“Where are you from?” Says another boy.
“Canada, population 3 million, minus one.”
“Want to play a game? I say a country, if you guess the capital, I leave. If you don’t know the capital and I do, you buy a postcard. No? Okay, how about tic tac toe?”
This happened to Angelou by a girl selling bracelets.
“You want to buy a bracelet?”
“For your girlfriend, buy a bracelet?”
“I don’t have a girlfriend.”
“Do you know why you don’t have a girlfriend?”
“Because you won’t buy a bracelet.”
The day ended with seeing the sunset over Angkor Wat, and my first encounter with a monkey!
We left our hostel at 5 o’clock in the morning on our tuk tuk to Angkor Wat to see the sun rise. I got in “the spot” and waited. Light came; I still waited for the sunrise. Yadira came over to me. “We’re going to get some breakfast and meet at the front gate at 8:30. Will you go with us or stay here?”
“Aren’t you going to wait for the sunrise?”
“Honey, this is it. The sun rose.”
“Where are the colors?”
She shrugs. “Too many clouds. This is all you will see.”
So, I joined them for breakfast. *Note to Kaffy~ Cambodians make the BEST coffee.
We saw temples: lots and lots of temples. My camera was getting annoyed at me. I would shut it off, then turn it on, shut if off, turn it on…. all the pictures starting looking the same. Now it takes forever for my camera to start. The day was all-in-all exhausting for my camera and I.
My favorite part of the day was at the end, when my cute tuk tuk driver, Leng, let me drive. I took off, telling him to hop in. His partner was saying “Slowly! Slowly!”
Then Leng said there were cops, and I didn’t have a license, so he had better drive. He drove us to the south gate and stopped along the way so we could see the monkeys. Girls were selling bananas so we bought some and fed them to the monkeys. Fat monkeys, small monkeys, shy monkeys, mean monkeys….
Then we saw the elephants at the south gate. Fifteen dollars a ride, and it was getting late. So we haven’t rode any elephants yet. But we saw them and they are huge!
The next day in Siem Reap was much better in my opinion. We left a little later and rented a van for the day. Our first stop was at a….temple. It was built out of lava rocks and there were a LOT of tourists. I got away from the crowd and I found a little bitty tiny frog. It was so small, as small as my pinkie nail. I caught it and held it. I
walked towards the entrance of the temple. As a group of monks walked towards me, one of them stopped to take my picture while I had my hands cupped with the frog. I thought this was odd, because the monks are usually the ones everyone tries to catch a snapshot of. The monks seemed curious as to what I had cupped in my hand. I showed the monk who took my picture the little tiny frog. All the other monks gather around me to look at the frog. One monk looked at me in the eye and said clearly, “It want to die.” The frog, which was making little hops in my hand, then jumped from my hand into the monk’s hands. The monk bent over and released the frog onto a plant in the water. After giving the little frog its chance at life, we all departed with a nod.
The van then took us on a rough journey along a dirt road through the countryside. I’d like to adopt a more Cambodian lifestyle. They seem so laid back. Their simple traditional wooden shacks built up on high sticks all have their doors open, welcoming in the breeze,
as they lie upon their hammocks. As it begins to rain, the children run around naked, splashing in the puddles, throwing around mud, and running around with huge sticks.
At the top of a mountain, with an exotic hike through the rainforest, there lies the Land of Lingus. I wasn’t really sure what it was, and neither was Bekah. But the absurd craziness of Yadira appointed Bekah, because of her nervous curiousity, as Queen Lingus. We all know that if there was a Queen Lingus, it would definitely be Yadira, but she claims to have retired from the post and appointed Bekah to proceed her.
I felt like I was in the jungle book trekking up this mountain. There were huge trees, huge rocks, and I had a good time exploring part of unbeaten paths. We saw a line of army ants and I was even bit by a dangerous spider. Well, it could have been an ant….We made it to the top exhausted and very hot. So it was refreshing to find a waterfall at the top. Climbing to the top of the waterfall, it was there that we had reached our destination, and we only knew it after
a second glance at the river. Hundreds of circles carved in the stone under the water represented the prospects of life, and only a few of these prospects were shown in the chalice. We were in the Land of Lingus. More broken and carved rocks later and we began the hike back down the mountain just as it started to pour.
We saw one last temple in the rain and had a race back to our van. I beat everyone, even the girls selling key chains and purses. We were dropped off at our hostel and we took our cold showers. We hopped onto bikes and biked into the center of Siem Reap to meet Yadira and Angelou for dinner. Since it was our last night, Bekah and I chose something exotic. We had Khmer barbeque, three main courses; ostrich, snake (cobra), and kangaroo. Then Bekah and I went for a $6 Khmer massage. We stripped down to nothing while two 22 year-old girls massaged a minty lotion into our skin. With the fan blowing cold air onto us, Bekah and I felt like minty fresh popsicles, but not as stiff.
Our last night in Cambodia had to be concluded
with something special, very very special. So at 11 o’clock at night, after our massage, we met outside a cafÃ© called Happy Special Pizza. We ordered a small, happy margherita pizza. Four of us each had at least one slice, one slice of special pizza that I will never ever have again.
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