(Friday) Since I lost my phone yesterday, I had no clock. We were supposed to be ready by 5:30 in the morning today in order to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat. When I got back last night (at 9:20pm) Brent was already sleeping. I assumed he had set an alarm and relied on that to wake me up. I hardly slept though. I tossed and turned until my stomach could no longer bare the pain and ended up throwing up five times. I spent most of my evening on the bathroom floor. I'm not sure what caused it; sometimes my malaria pills can make me nauseous which is why I take them with a full meal. I desperately wanted to be at home. I hated being alone and sick in the bathroom trying not to wake my roommate up. Eventually, I crawled back into bed and rolled into a ball.
At 5:30 in the morning, I woke up to a pounding at our door. Not only had we overslept, but no alarm was ever set. He didn't even know what time we were supposed to be ready! We rushed out of the room so fast that I left with only one contact in. I have contacts that I can wear 24/7 so I did not know one of them had fallen out in my sleep. It was interesting being half blind.
The sunrise was gorgeous. We sat by the pond watching the color of the sky transform. The reflection was also beautiful. We continued to walk through the temple before getting in our tuk tuks and going to Ta Prohm. This was my favorite temple! Part of Tomb Raider was filmed here. The temple has been overtaken by the jungle. It's absolutely breathtaking!! There are trees growing through the building. Some of it has been naturally destroyed, but the destruction is unique. The roots twist and turn through different windows and cracks. The stones are covered in moss and are enchanting.
We went back to our hotel and enjoyed some breakfast. The group went to the Angkor Hospital for Children, but I decided to stay behind. I was completely drained. I can hardly handle hospitals when I am healthy let alone when I have been up all night puking. I took a long nap before Natalie and I went back to the dock. She left a bag of laundry there, and I thought I would ask about my cell phone.
When we got to the dock our boat was still there. The driver said he did not find anything. I offered him money and also said he could keep the phone if I could have my Sim card. He said he didn't have it. The laundry was also not found. What can we do? The both of us laughed about the situation as our tuk tuk driver told us that if you leave something it is sure to be stolen. Of course, we were the ones who left them so it's our fault anyways. I wasn't that upset. In fact, I was more worried that I had borrowed Sam's headphones which were still attached to my phone. My cellphone is normally glued to my hand, so the next two months will be a learning experience. So far it is nice not having a phone. I find myself relying on it for comfort more often than not. I do find it funny that I lost my Blackberry and my father purchased an iPhone. He was happy we could Skype whenever we wanted because he has an iPhone now. Must be nice ;)
Anyways, in the late afternoon we went to more temples. We went to see Bayon, Baphuon and the Terrace of the Leper King. Bayon temple is covered in faces of the king. The elaborate temple is quite the shrine. I think you have to be quite self-centered to have your face carved on every single wall of the temple. We tried to take some kissing pictures by lining up our faces with the carvings I also tried to make it look like I was picking his nose. Why not?
While walking towards Baphuon, Isabel asked a girl to take a picture for us. I stared quite awkwardly as she approached us. Then I asked her if her name was Jill and indeed it was. Here, in Cambodia, at this very temple. The girl Isabel asked to take our picture just so happens to be a girl I used to work with at Vesta Dipping Grill in Denver. Imagine that! I truly appreciate the phrase, "It's a small world." You think?
The group headed over to Takeo to enjoy the sunset. We all climbed up the sketchy stairs. After the first set there was another. We sat on the temple together, staggered amongst the stairs. The sun was still hot. The sun set about an hour after we were there. We descended back to our tuk tuks. For dinner a few of us went to a street BBQ. I personally had steamed white rice. It was probably the best dinner thus far (please note the sarcasm).
(Saturday) We woke up even earlier today to catch another sunrise. We went to Banteay Srei temple. The morning air was brisk yet refreshing. The temple was small but elaborate. It was the most decorative temple we have visited. The sunrise was nothing spectacular, but the temple was worth the visit.
On our way back we stopped at a landmine museum. The museum is ran by a former Khmer Rouge child soldier. After planting landmines as a soldier, he decided to help demine the land. He goes throughout Cambodia clearing areas so they are safe. Today, an average of one person per day is injured from a landmine. This statistic seems high, but it is significantly low than the six or seven that it used to be. The landmines cause serious problems postwar. The museum displays different types of landmines as well as pictures. There were statistics and international relations for landmines. There was also a school behind the building for children who had been injured by landmines. I think it's amazing that he was able to recognize the need to clear areas in Cambodia in order to ensure a safe future.
When we left the museum I went to lay by the pool. It was a nice saltwater pool. I had a great tofu and mango salad for lunch followed by pistachio ice cream. I cheated on my fasting today by having ice cream. Hillary has been talking about this pistachio ice cream for six weeks now, and I LOVE pistachio ice cream! Later, we went for pizza. We had a spanakopita pizza and some skordalia. Who would think you'd find Greek food in Cambodia? They were both delicious.
(Sunday) This morning we woke up and took a couple of vans back to Bangkok. There was some trouble getting started in the morning because Hillary has $1000 stolen the previous night. She had been dealing with the police and hotel, but it's hard to get much accomplished. We were finally able to hit the road. The border was packed. We waited in the hot sun for quite sometime before getting stamped back into Thailand. A couple more vans picked us up. The 14 of us headed back to a place of familiarity, Bangkok.
It's funny coming back to a place where our journey began. I no longer feel like a hopeless traveler. My wide eyes have eased bit, and I feel more knowledgeable. I wasn't afraid to cross the street and Khao Son Road wasn't so intimidating. Instead, I craved the street food and bright lights. The music was just as terrible as the first time, but things were different. Different yet good. Madeleine, Anna and I decided to go to a bar and enjoy our evening drinking a tower of beer. Isabel joined us for a drink. The three of us respectively decided to go to a club, but it was empty. That led us to The Roof. It was a rooftop bar with acoustic Thai singers. They were really good and played some of our favorites. We met a few other travelers and sang our hearts out. Then we headed to The Club to get our dance on. We danced all night and Blair even joined us! When it was 1:30am we decided to make our way back to the guesthouse. That was the latest I voluntarily stayed up the entire trip. What a great night!
(Monday) Today was a rough morning for a few of us. I walked around and did a bit of shopping. I also did some last minute things for my Secret Buddha present. I spent the rest of the afternoon laying in bed and napping. In the evening, most of the group went to the Red Light District to see the darker side of Southeast Asia. Although I was interested in seeing it, I decided to stay back with Mads and relax. I do think it's important to see this side of Thailand, but I will do it when I come back if I'm in the mood. I will not go to a show though. It was an option for those who wanted to see it. I think that would be taking the issue a bit too far. By paying to see a show I'd be supporting the business whether it was for educational purposes or not. Do you need to pay to see a crack addict smoking crack in order to get the full experience? That's the way I looked at the situation. The atmosphere and people are enough inside information. Tomorrow we're off to Southern Thailand!