Cambodian experience: Don’t be shock

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Today was our official full day in Cambodia and it was a long, hot one full of ancient temples, elephants and elephants on ancient temples.

Lets get up to speed. On Sunday evening we met the other members of our tour group, fifteen people to be exact: two newlywed kiwis, two Brits, two Norwegians, two Australians, three Ecuadorians, and three Americans (two of which are very special, one of which is the reason you’re reading this blog). We had an orientation in the dining room of our hotel and then we’re scheduled to have a group dinner. Thank goodness for Leonie not getting passport photos for her Cambodian visa because we took the opportunity to break from the group before dinner and get her photo taken, allowing us to exercise our mutual social anxiety.

Next day we were on the road out of Bangkok and into Cambodia. A four hour bus ride through jungle terrain and we were walking across the border at a town called poipet. At first glance, Cambodia seems very third world with dirt roads, burnt out buildings, begging children, and lots of people with carts hauling various items across the border. It’s not that different from the border into Tijuana, at least as I remember it.

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Very slowly we made our way through the Cambodian countryside passing rice paddys, stone carvers, and kids making their way home from school. Eventually we made it into the town of Siem Reap and checked into the Prumbayon Hotel. Leonie and I shared beers while watching a lighting storm from our balcony, took quick showers and met the group for dinner at a restaurant on the Pub Street.

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The Pub Street is a fun little area of Siem Reap filled with restaurants, bars, fish massages, foot massages, and a night market. I think you can see everyone you see throughout your temple days around this area.

Dinner was in a restaurant called Temple Bar, where there was traditional Thai dancing and Khmer food. After watching the show and eating some food, we walked around the night market; Leonie and I got foot massages, which for $2 was a thirty minute massage included some almost inappropriate touching.

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Today was Temple Day where we were expected to see Angkor Thom, which is the ancient city. We explored the temples for approximately ten hours, using up every ounce of water we drink, just to keep sweating. Midway through the day we stopped and had a local Cambodian lunch, including beef flavored with fire ants (here’s a shocker: it was REALLY good). After visiting the jungle temple which has been reclaimed by the trees around it, we ended the day watching the sunset on top of a temple with about 100 other people.

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Another night on pub street with two people from our group, we had dinner and after a repeat foot massage from the night before, called it an early night since we had to be up for a sunrise at Angkor Wat at 4:45am…

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