Sunday, February 03, 2013

first trip of the year

{what's a trip to Siem Reap without the standard pic of Angkor Wat reflected on the pool?}
Ever since my friends pulled off that trip to Kuala Lumpur without killing each other, it has been our plan to hie off to Cambodia and see Angkor Wat. Or maybe it was their plan and I just adopted it as one of my own, haha. But, whatever, we wanted to go to Cambodia and it was timely that eventually Cebu Pacific offered a direct flight.

And, as with our KL trip, this was a truly spur of the moment, a let's-check-the-website-if-there's-a-sale, and boom, sometime back in August, we found ourselves with affordable tickets to Siem Reap for the last weekend of January.

For some reason, out of the country trips with my Tuloy friends always involve me, Cathy, Ralf, and KEf. This time around, KEf brought his friend, Doc (at least that's what I call him, he's a real doctor, promise!) who fit perfectly with out group. 

You do know when I say "fit perfectly" it means he basically agreed with everything I said, never complained about the food I ordered, and laughed at all my jokes. ☺

According to the websites, January is one of the best times to visit, it being their "small winter". One website even said to bring thick clothes. I'm glad I didn't listen to that advice. It was WARM!!!

On our first full day, Friday (we arrived Thursday evening), I couldn't help but feel giddy-excited. As most of my friends can attest, I'm a city girl - I like traveling to cities, shopping, checking out malls, and walking amidst people hurrying for work. Maybe that's why I loved Kuala Lumpur so much! So I couldn't really explain why my excitement was just way off the charts. 

When I saw my first temple, it just struck me: this was not just traveling to a different country, this was traveling to a different time. People made these with their hands, without heavy machinery, and people made these monuments to reach out to the gods.

And while none of these were made to reach out to the God I worship, there was just something about man's desire to worship a greater deity that struck a chord with me.

And don't let this kid's sweet face fool you. My friends and I were waiting for KEf to finish taking pictures (that ends only when his camera dies on him) when this kid stood in front of me, started counting out postcards in that Cambodian sing-song accented English, repeatedly telling me, "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, ten postcards for one dollar." At first I was able to resist him. After five or so rounds, I caved in. With the dollar at Php40, I think I can afford ten postcards without a problem. My only condition was that he pose for me.

(I think it was that ear peeking out of his hoodie that did me in. A minute after I snapped this pic, another kid, this time in a pumpkin costume - where he got it i can only guess - did the exact same ruse of counting postcards in English. Gaaaah!!! I feel for the tourist trap!!!)

Now, I'm sure a hundred (thousands!) other bloggers would have better posts about Siem Reap ... for one, I was too amazed at everything that I didn't even take note of the temples that we visited. All I knew was that they took my breath away and that I would want a second go at this lovely country, this time armed with my guide book, more energy to manage the treks, and more time to just pore over every little bit of interesting thing this country has to offer.

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