(Mis)Adventures in Angkor (Part 1)Monday, August 08, 2011
Remember the time when we almost died on our mountain bikes in Dalat? What about when my Sole Sister Lois went the Survivor route in Puerto Galera and barely lived to tell the tale? Did you read about how I almost got kidnapped by a man named Bao Jr. in Nha Trang, Vietnam? And who would forget the classic tale of me, Carl, a sandcastle and a security guard on the beaches of Boracay?
Yep, the Sole Sisters get into several iffy situations from time to time. Why would you think that Cambodia's Angkor Ruins would be any different? We think we might have outdone ourselves this time.
Lois and I had great plans for Angkor, Cambodia's symbol (It even appears on its national flag!). We decided that we'll take our time seeing this 12th century structure - once a temple and a capital city at the same time. We have been dreaming about setting foot here and of course, crossing off one item of our 30 before 30 list.
Like they say, the best laid plans of the Sole Sisters often go astray....
Angkor Wat Sunrise Fail
We were off pedaling furiously on our bikes in time to the roosters' crowing, which is to say a time when I was supposedly still enjoying the comforts of my dorm bed in The Siem Reap Backpacker's Hostel. We thought we had more than enough time to bike the 5.5k to get to Angkor Wat; however, we forgot one minor detail. We suck at biking (our Dalat stint was proof of that) and to top it off, we were s-l-o-w bikers.
So,we got to the Angkor entrance gates just as the sun was peeking from the horizon. We were now in a hurry to buy our tickets and find our spot to enjoy the sunrise. We tried to find the ticket counter but saw nothing but a little guard house. Uh-oh, doesn't look good at all.
The guard told us that the ticket station was actually 2 kilometers back where we came from. Say what now? Mr. Sun was already starting to climb upwards, a thousand tourists were on their way to Angkor Wat en masse and all the good spots will probably be taken already. And he says that we have to go drive back to buy our tickets?! Who would build an entrance gate and have the ticket counters at a different location? Wouldn't it make logical sense to build both at the same place?
Instead of blaming Angkor's management, maybe we should be blaming ourselves instead. Why didn't we do our research like good little backpacking girls and find out where the friggin' ticket counters were? In the end, it was too late. Too late to buy our tickets and make it in time to actually see the sun rise. We pedaled back to the city with our hearts and egos trailing behind our bikes.
Angkor Wat Sunrise: Take 2
The Sole Sisters pulled a MacArthur and returned the next day. We might be bad at biking and we might have lapses in our research but you can't deny that the Sole Sisters are determined. We never give up, never!
I had to go through the agony of waking up with the roosters again . But we made it to Angkor Wat with enough time to eat our take-away breakfast on the steps of the temple.
Death by Biking Around Angkor
Again? You've probably asked yourselves how many times will the Sole Sisters be resurrected from death caused by biking? I'm afraid we never learn our lesson.
We had grand dreams of exploring the huge Angkor complex on our bikes, pedaling around in style while marveling at the intricate art on the sandstones used to build the temples. We imagine we'd be cruising around the area with the cool breeze in our hair, our laughters ringing in the air. Carefree, cool, chic and fun.
The reality was that the Cambodian sun is merciless (even to the Sole Sister with grand dreams). To make matters worse, we were there during the summer season when the sun is hottest. Carefree, cool, chic and fun? Hell no!
We were hot, sweaty and cranky before midday. There was no laughter ringing, only a lot of grumbling, puffing and a few curses. We didn't cruise on our bikes; we struggled (and panted) hard.
our (mis)adventures in Angkor Part 2.
'Til bike do us part,
Sole Sister Chichi
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