I find myself in a bit of a conundrum. I’m in the middle of telling stories about summer in Southeast Asia, yet I just returned from an amazing trip in Peru, and now I’ve started storytelling about that trip also. Do I continue talking Thailand, Cambodia and Laos? Or do I skip ahead and tell the striking diversity I have begun to uncover in Latin America? Hells bells. I don’t know.
For now, I’ll continue where I left off in Cambodia. Once I get more pictures ready, I’ll throw a corkscrew in the whole thing and just start randomly telling stories from other locales. Because that’s how I roll, all random and shit.
Where was I last we spoke about SE Asia? Ah, yes. Angkor Wat. Cue humidity, blazing sun and a smashing good time! (Obviously I think I’m British now.)
So. Remember I told you I stayed at a place in Siem Reap called the Golden Mango Inn? Lovely place. Really, really lovely. Every time I walked past the front desk, they asked if they could help with anything. One staff member in particular was so, so nice. For the life of me, I can’t remember his name. He arranged for me to have a bike at 4am when I decided I wanted to cycle to the ruins to catch the sunrise. He was my wake up call. He made sure the kitchen opened super early so I wouldn’t arrive at Angkor without eating. He packed snacks for my bike ride — and then proceeded to worry about me biking on my own so early in the morning. That’s actually funny. I assure you, the 4am bike ride was MUCH safer than the afternoon bike ride on my way home, at which point I had to dodge the insane Siem Reap traffic going in every direction (none of which seemed to be heading the correct way). The good news is, I survived to tell the story.
The Inn was phenomenal. And that particular day was unforgettable. I watched the sunrise at Angkor, then cycled through the park for over eight hours. It was hot and humid and slightly unbearable at times. But it was also an experience few people have. Yes. There are several bikers at Angkor at any given moment, but most don’t go as far or as long as I did. Most don’t ride alongside kids biking to and from school. Most don’t stop to chat with villagers that suspect they’re slightly crazy for taking such a long ride. Granted, most don’t hit a ditch and go flying into the middle of the road either. But, hey, it was an experience, right? And the two school boys riding in front of me seemed rather entertained (if not slightly bewildered) by the whole ordeal. The fact is, I would go back and do it again in a heartbeat. Except I would take it even slower and soak in every single second.
Few things in the world can outdo cycling through ancient ruins amongst a beautiful, monkey-filled forest in Cambodia.