Friday, April 16, 2010

Siem Reap

I assumed that when I took buses everywhere in Cambodia that it would be a good way to meet other backpackers. That I could make friends. If this is your intention I recommend AGAINST Capitol Tours. I was the only "westerner" on the bus for every trip I took with them.

When you get off the bus in Siem reap (like everywhere else in Cambodia) you are immediately attacked by tuk tuk drivers looking to drive you to your hotel. I, someone who gets flustered when a group of men are shouting at me in a foreign language, sought out the one driver who was sitting back calmly with a pleasant smile on his face. I asked him to take me to my hotel and he then asked me if I had a driver for the temples the next day. We agreed that he'd meet me at 5am (crazy) and then I was left to my own devices.

I walked around the town, got a massage from the blind (I love supporting causes but this was kind of weird because all of my clothes were left on and there was no oil. But still, it was for a good cause. I then went to catch the sunset at the temples. I was overwhelmed at all of the people there and tried to take artsy sunset pictures like i watched Chip do so many times when we were in Laos. I was also sad that i didn't have someone with me because I wanted myself in the picture. I was convinced that I wouldn't make any friends. I accepted it.

I went back to my hotel, got dressed and then made my way to Khmer Kitchen based off of a recommendation. I decided that it was ok to be sitting alone and that I didn't mind. I ordered my food made contact with the guy at the table next to me and he then invited me to join them. I was excited and had a great conversation. The girl and I even decided to go to to watch the Ankgor wat sunrise together the next day and then explore the temples.

day 2;
of course i overslept. missing my rendez-vous with the girl but still managing to make the temple. as i sat alone on the grass i wondered how i was going to make friends. how do you just go up to strangers and be like, "hey want to be friends?" As if by fate, a pretty blond girl sat in front of me (alone) and I heard her ask the guys a little ways down how many dollars to the pound. They didn't know, but I did so I told her. This sparked a kind of friendship that lasted for 7 more days of traveling Cambodia. Camilla and I wandered around the temples on the first day, both delighted to have a friend and more importantly, someone to take all of the pictures of us that we wanted. It gets a bit old asking strangers "Do you mind...?" (Although I have become the master of the self timer. You should've seen me. I'd position the camera, set the timer, run like a maniac, pose, then run back.)We explored so many temples, were exhausted but managed to make it for a delicious dinner. C was leaving the next day but we made tentative plans to meet up again in Sihanoukville which I thought would never happen...

day 3
More temples! Alone thi time so all of my pictures were a result of the self timed run. Also my tour guide took me to a waterfall. I hiked 1 mile up a mountain in the blistering heat but figured ti would be worth it...only to find that the "waterfall" was basically dry. There was more water in my water bottle. Disappointed, i trudged back down the mountain, falling several times because i was wearing flip flops because my guide hadn't informed me in advance that I'd be hiking.
The good news is that I ran into Philip, a boy that I had met at the genocide museum in Phnom Penh and we agreed to meet up for dinner that night. We had AMAZING street food and (even more amazing) ice cream. Went our separate ways and then I set my alarm for an early departure back to Phnom Penh the next day.

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