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Published: January 19th 2010
Sunrise at Angkor Wat.
It's been a long while since I've woken up at 4:30am. The last time I saw that time on a clock wasn't too long ago, but it was simply because I hadn't yet gone to bed! We managed to get up, however tired and angry at us our bodies felt and were out the door and into the tuk tuk at 5am. The ride out to the main temple, Angkor Wat, was dark (of course), cold and very quiet, as only the crazy tourists heading to the same place as us were awake in their own tuk tuks or motos. We cursed ourselves for not bringing along a flashlight, as we quickly realized walking around a rocky temple with a moat around it in the dark could be dangerous. I only tripped once though, and we made it to a pond area in front of the temple where everyone was starting to gather. A local offered us cups of hot coffee for $1 along with free chairs, and we got a perfect spot right in front, as we were there a little earlier than most. We spent the time sipping our coffee, setting up the tripod and gazing at the millions
Martin at Angkor Wat
of stars that we've missed seeing so clearly for a long, long time. It was incredible.
The sun started to rise around 6, and we weren't at all disappointed. Martin took probably 100 pictures of that alone, so hopefully we got a couple good ones in there. We spent another couple hours just exploring the grounds of Angkor Wat and then finally moved on. We visited Angkor Thom next, and then a few other nearby temples, all of which I am too tired to look up the names of. You'll have to forgive me- which I know you will, because the names don't mean anything to you anyway. 😊 They were all beautiful, and we have thousands of pictures to sort through.
For lunch, we ate at a local little restaurant by one of the temples where our driver probably knew the owners, as they fed him too for free. I had a delicious vegetable-cheese sandwich with some spicy yummy sauce on a baguette and Martin had this delicious Khmer curry-spinach-green vegetable-chicken thing inside a whole fresh coconut that had also been cooked, leaving the coconut meat soft and easy to scrape up with the meal. How cool
Staci in Angkor Wat.
Finally, it was 2:30 and we had exhausted the temples that were to be seen for the day. We got dropped back off at our hostel, chatted with my parents online and then I fell asleep and didn't wake up again until 5pm. We decided to venture out for dinner, ending up at a place called Le Tigre de Papier, a French Khmer restaurant that we'd read about in Lonely Planet. We once again had some amazing food-- we shared a banana flower salad (omg!), Martin had some kind of Khmer Cannelloni and I went for a vegetarian version of the famed Khmer dish, Amok (the same thing Martin had for lunch, but instead inside a banana leaf and with tofu). We decided we've become some serious foodies! I also enjoyed a glass of white wine, something impossible to find in China. It made me very happy. 😊
We wandered around the city some more, stopping in a few shops, getting beer and a snack at an Indian restaurant and ending the night watching a documentary about Cambodia's history- a fascinating topic that I wish everyone in the states knew more about.
These few days
More temple visits
in Siem Reap have made us start to realize just how much we've changed since we've been in the US. My New Years Resolution (for this year and every year to come) is to never forget the things we've learning about ourselves and the world on this adventure. We are all so connected as a human race- something those of us in America tend to forget about. Life can be much simpler. A smile goes a long way. Everything you do affects other people. We're striving to be responsible tourists on this trip- buying gifts from places that donate back to the local community, eating at restaurants that employ disadvantaged community members, being quieter and just listening and watching everything around us. Our travels here aren't about seeing as many places as we can, or drinking to oblivion because it's cheap, or staying in luxury hotels. Our travels are about learning another culture's ways, connecting with other humans, connecting with each other. We've both been overwhelmed with our emotions here. I love the smiles the local children give us as we pass, I love my incredibly dirty feet after a full day of climbing around historic, magical temples, I love
Staci in temple
the taste of completely new food on my tongue. Yes, Cambodia is a poor country-- but everything about it is nothing short of amazing. You all need to come visit.
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