Arrival in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Feb 19, 2008
Its strange to have been on the road for half a year now, and yet only just now feel that the trip has REALLY begun!
We arrived today in Siem Reap. I had such high expectations of this place. I have been dreaming, since Cambodia opened up to tourism just a decade ago, of coming to explore the Khymer temples. Finally this day arrived!
As our flight neared the runway to touch down I felt my stomach flip, goosebumps appeared on my arms. The red tape at the airport took place so fast it was a blur and before we knew it we were on our first tuk tuk on our way to our guesthouse. I had the silliest grin on my face the entire way. We arrived at 8:00am and were able to see the town folks starting their day - clogging up the streets with bikes, motorcycles, tuk tuks, cars, SUVs, buses... and me beside Nick with a silly grin and a request that he pinch me to make sure it was all really happening.
And so what of my high expectations? Far exceeded. I had my best day on the entire trip today - and there have been MANY good trips so far!
Who would have known that possible with a morning wake-up of 3:45am. After a quick nap at the guesthouse, and a terrific brunch (which included our now fav breakfast food - Thai rice soup) we were once again on our way. Off to the Bateay Srei - the most ornate temple site that few tourists visit on account of its great distance from the more popular temples of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. Far too many photos later, and a couple of purchases from some very savy salesgirls, we arrived at the Landmine Museum. Painted proudly outside the museum we spotted a Canadian flag on account of Canada's considerable role in supporting the museum. It was a very nice welcome. After a quiet visit through the museum we made our way back to the temples in order to catch the sunset. We had passed Pre Rup earlier on in the day and vowed to return at some point to explore so we were quite happy to discover that it was the sunset location the guesthouse host, Lynn, had suggested to our driver earlier in the day.
The sunset was stunning. More photos prove that! We befriended a 12 year old boy, Chai, atop the ruins who impressed up with his wit, his charm, and his sales tactics. We bought a small gift for our niece (don't mention it to her as it will take some time to send home) and then Chai became the youngest person we have ever exchanged money with! Just a $1 into Cambodian currency was all we needed and Chai was quick to help us out.
After the sunset we returned to the guesthouse and while showering up we noticed the season finale of The Amazing Race Asia was on. It was fun to see the teams race through places we had recently been. Singapore was the final destination.
So I now write, with a full green curry in my tummy, a $4 bootleg new edition of the Nepal LonelyPlanet, and more postcards than we know what to do with (Nick could not resist a young boy,obviously helping out his family with the sales).
Tomorrow and the following day we will have full days of temple viewing with a guide and then before we know it we will be on our way to Pakse.
Few hours remain on this best day of the trip!