As much as much butt hurts after two days of pedaling around this dusty, dusty town, I am so happy on my bike. In fact, I believe the most harmonic I have felt since my arrival to Siem Reap is whilst rolling down these streets. (And yes, that is despite the surrounding traffic chaos!) Rolling past the tuktuk drivers and their "hellooo"'s, so hesitant it comes out more like a question than a greeting.
Oh, it is so silent on these two wheels.
To be honest, I was a little scared of travelling alone to Cambodia. (And what did I do about it? Sat online reading horror stories of female solo travel ending in rape and robbery. Completely rational behavior.) It was a strange feeling for me. Usually it is excitement and travel nerves, but never feelings of fear.
The lowest temperature at this time of the year seems to be about 27 celsius. I drink litres of water and yet my pee comes out in a dark yellowish hue. Getting out of bed in the mornings is a struggle; as much as getting up to explore in the mornings when it is warm, rather than heat wave galore with thick air and fumes like midday, sounds like the reasonable thing to do, it is also the nicest time to rest.
I came here for the temples. Angkor Wat and the gang. The world heritage site and largest religious monument in the world. It is so bucket list-worthy. Yet, I cannot help but to feel a little underwhelmed by it all. Be it the crowds or the dry heat. Or how visitors throw rubbish around like there is no tomorrow, or how startled I get by watching a Chinese man flaunt his dollar bills around all while being loud and agressive towards the girl that serves him.
Then I much prefer the stuff that goes on around the sacred buildings.
How my heart aches looking into the eyes of the elephant being pushed around for entertainment. The children swimming in the mot, creating glittering prisms out of the dirty water as it splashes up through the air. The rugged dogs looking about ready to pass out. The curious looks from children who peep their heads out from behind their mother's shelter as they pass by me on a moto, I wave and we all shine up in shy smiles. The chooks looking after their chickens, digging for something remotely nutritious to feed them. The old lady peeling soursops and throwing the remains at some lucky monkey sat right next to her.
That stuff is real. More so than any old stones.
Have you been to Angkor Wat? And if so, what was your experience of it?
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