What a weekend! I have not had that much fun in a very long time. It was nonstop from the minute we got off the bus Friday until Sunday when we left the temple in the jungle. It was about an eight-hour bus ride to Siam Reap from Phnom Penh. It would not have been bad except for about an hour outside of Phnom Penh the roads are kept in a horrible condition on purpose. Rumor has it the airlines are behind this so that people will fly to Siam Reap. I don’t understand why we don’t take the boat! Apparently it’s about thirty-five dollars to ride from Phnom Penh to Siam Reap by boat. I would have gladly saved the money and enjoyed a boat ride on the river; however, one advantage to the bus ride was the tarantula stop. I held a tarantula and ate tarantula. It was crazy. I actually thought they were kind of cute, surprisingly.
Friday night when we got to the hotel we ate dinner on the rooftop restaurant. It was so gorgeous! So different from where we have been staying in Phnom Penh. You could see endless stars, which was wonderful and welcome sight. In Phnom Penh seeing stars is difficult.
Saturday morning we woke up early – 4:30 early – and rode to Angkor Wat to watch the sunrise. It was definitely a great experience but I don’t know if I would do it again; there were so many people there it became somewhat uncomfortable. There was absolutely no sense of personal space.
We went back to the hotel to eat breakfast and pick up everyone else. Then we spent the whole day at the Angkor Wat temples. Our guide was really great. He was funny and knew his stuff. Plus he was passionate about Cambodia and the reconstruction they are doing here. It was inspiring. The presence at the temples is crazy. There is a sense of calm and serenity even though the place is packed. The entire grounds of Angkor Wat and Angkor Tomb have this incredible spiritual feeling. I loved walking around and just touching the stone. It is amazing to think that people placed those stones there literally thousands of years ago by hand and it is still standing and functioning.
When we got back from the temples, some of us rented bicycles and went to the Old Market. It was pretty amazing riding through the city. The traffic was better than here in Phnom Penh but still a challenge. There is just a different sense of driving here I think. We biked to the Old Market and then parked and did some exploring by foot. And speaking of feet I got to try one of the fish pedicures. You put your feet into a big fish tank (on the sidewalk) and these fish just go to town eating the dry and dead skin. It felt so weird at first but as I got used to the feeling it felt pretty good. I would definitely do it again.
Siam Reap was a whirlwind and I wish I could have spent more time there but hopefully that opportunity will come around at some point.