03 January, 2007

In Siem Reap!

After a long bus ride over incredibly bumpy roads, we finally hit our Northernmost point so far, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Better known as the town outside Angkor Wat and the other heavyweight temples, it's a major artery on the tourist trail, and we knew we would be broadsided with motorbike offers, tuk-tuk toters, and all kinds of beggar children, so we were sort of prepared. We accepted the classic "free ride" to a guesthouse, but it was kind of in the middle of nowhere plus it had no internet cafes, so we gave the guy a dollar (standard rate) and despite his protestations that there were No guesthouses available for our desired rate (under $5) and there was NO way we could ride bicycles to the temples (he wanted us to go in his tuk tuk), we took off walking, which is sort of becoming a theme. After getting slightly confused and a bit snippy, we finally found a really cute little wooden guesthouse right off the main drag but miraculously very quiet for $3 a night. Sweet! And they have a porch with hammocks. Rock on. So. We rented bikes from the guy next door for $1.50 a day and took off towards the temples to buy our season pass. I mean our 3-day pass. It just felt so much like going to Carowinds or Six Flags! Looooong roads with signs that were probably saying things like, "hey, you're almost there!" and "don't forget to stop by the ticket booth, now, or we'll throw you in jail." Or something. It was awesome! We felt like such glorious cheap-skates, especially as tuk-tuk after tuk-tuk passed us by with sweaty travellers in tow, baking in the sun to the sounds of "ca-ching!" coming ominously from the wheels below. Hmm, maybe I'm over exaggerating the expensiveness of this town, but honestly: it seems like if you wanted to, you could have a real luxury experience here in the middle of the freaking jungle. So the deal is, when you buy your pass after 5pm, it starts the following day, which lets you in for a free sunset, or at least until they close the place down around 6. So we biked up the path, feeling delirious from having just parted with $80, and suddenly we're seeing some ancient moat action and there it is: Angkor Wat. In all it's big old carved stone Hindu-then-Buddhist glory. The sun set, and it was gorgeous, and then the moon rose, which was even better. And the best part is, our pass starts tomorrow, so we got a glimpse and a practice bike ride before the value for money even begins. Muahahah!! We are budget travellers, watch us re-total our spendings so far! Ha!

Ok, one thing of note: the baby riding in the seat behind us on the bus today suddenly had no pants on when I looked back for like the millionth time to see what the heck all the fuss was about. Sure enough, upon reaching our final destination, it exploded in a green poopy mess, somehow coating the entire back of the bus. "Go, go go! Get off the bus NOW!"

Life on the road.


1 comment:

thischickcantalk said...

i love reading ur blog, its freakin hilarious and i must say you are bold and have a lot of guts to go another country without much planning(i wouldnt be able to do that)

I'm on Flickr a lot.

Jessica K.. Get yours at bighugelabs.com/flickr