12.10.11 - Siem Reap, Day 4 - Sunrise, Further and Beyond.
Today we were up at 4am again to attempt the sunrise for the second time. Since the sunrise on our first day, inlcuding sunset last night were not what I was hoping for (an experience but a bit of a let down with so many clouds), I literately said a prayer last night before bed to wish for a good sunrise this morning.
As we left the hostel in the tuk tuk the first thing I did was look up - YES, the skies are clear!! Not wanting to get my hopes up too much however, since sunrise wouldn't be for another 2 hours, we travelled to Angkor Wat again in silence, in the dark with me constantly hoping that the clouds stay away. And that they sure did. Wow is probably the best way to describe it. Just wow. As we wait there in the pitch black barely able to see our hands in front of our faces, the only light coming from those other trourists with flashlights in their hands the sky very slowly became lighter and lighter, with the clouds that were present slowly starting to shine orange. Standing there in anticipation for the specticle we were about to witness was the most exciting. I spotted a few people that were there the morning the sunrise didn't really happen so i think we were really lucky this time around. Seriously it was beyond beautiful and EXACTLY how i'd hoped it would be! Turns out that Marie forgot her camera this morning (what a donut!) so she ended up going to sit down somewhere else within the grounds whilst I stood there, alone once again waiting for the vision that i've only ever seen pictures of. As the sun got higher and higher, the sky became more orange. The magnificent temple in front of it became shaded and thank god I got to witness and take the famous picture perfect sunrise over Angkor Wat that i'd dreamed of. The tears came flooding behind my sunnies, yet I had nothing more than the biggest smile upon my face.
Todays adventure would take us the farthest temples outside of Siam Reap, one of which were carvings located in the middle of a waterfall. So after grabbing a quick bite to eat off we headed to Phnom Kulen. Where theres a waterfall, theres normally a mountain. We had to hike 1500 metres to reach this waterfall, but after the hill tribe trekking in Chiang Mai, this was a doddle and certainly didn't dissapoint either. Lion had told us that we could go swimming, but when I first looked at it, it looked so ferocious that I wondered if he'd lied. 'You first' I thought, and before I knew it he was in the water larking around bekoning for us to join him. So Marie and I both changed and followed suit. I wasn't wrong, the water was really powerful BUT, it was still cool to be in the pool of water with two waterfalls side by side cascading either side of us.
I desperately wanted to walk behind the falls as this is something i've never done before but unfortunately Lion advised that I didnt because the water was too powerfall at this time of year. Instead we played around and took heaps of photos in front of the falls instead. To actually get past the pool of water and to the bottom of where the falls splashes, it was a bit of a mission I have to say. Fighting against the current of the river to merely cross to the other side, not least past a huge slippery boulder, I did a boo boo and lost my flip flops! As I turned around and watched them float down the river, the next thing I remember was Lion coming to the rescue, swimming downsream to collect them. i couldn't believe it bless him. It was so dangerous it would have been more than fine to just leave them. But oh no... he managed to get them and rescue them for me with what seemed like no effort whatsoever. What a nutter, but a very sweet and kind nutter at that! ;-)
Not long after the flip flop incident more tourists started to arrive, because up until this point it was just the three of us. And yep you've guessed it, they were Chinese again. Onc again they found our frolicking around in I guess what would look like a dangerous powerfall waterfall quite something so once again I became the highlight of there snapping. Got knows up until this point how many randoms photographs that i'm in. I think at first they thought we were crazy, but after watching Lion and I getting into the thick of it they realised that it wasn't as dangerous as it looked and slowly but surely they each started to get in too.
To cross the river from the other side I had to go the same way back, past the powerfall water and past the huge slippery boulder. With the strength of the waterfall pushing against me, it was a tough job trying to prevent myself from slipping underneath the rock. Lion did his best to help but the water was too powerfall and i let go of both his support and the the support of the rock. Next thing i knew i was floating downstream. Oh sh*t. Now what do I do. My first and only instinct was to put my feet and my knees down to stop me from going further. One word. Ouch!!! My knees and my legs were scraping along the bottom of the water across rocks and stones as I deperately tried to stop myself. THANKFULLY, i'm still here to tell the tale (ha, i'm over exagerrating obviously) but my god did i hurt myself. Scrapes, and bruises my legs look battered. NICE!!! Well done Raz!!!. All part of the fun though in my books :-)
After drying off, tending to my battered knees and getting changed we headed back down the mountain and to our first temple of the day. These are the farthest temples away from Siem Reap and Angkor Wat but shouldn't be forgotten. I'm pleased we went there. There were two in the end. The first was surrounded in water, but he stones were intracute and detailed it was like none of the others we had seen. The second was so secluded, it was fantastic. Not only that knowing it was the last temple to see for the entire three days, I really wanted to make the most of it. It was so quiet it was perfect, and I literately just sat there, reflecting on the past 4 days in Siem Reap. Remembering all the best moments, remembering my favourite temples. Thinking of home lots (that goes without saying) and of course being ever so proud of myself, that I was sat in the middle of a long lost temple, in the middle of Cambodia - having watched the most beautiful sunrise over Angkor Wat this morning, knowing that I made this dream come true. I was elated!!!
On the way back we stopped for lunch. I love Aubergine (eggplant) and this was on the menu for lunch. it was amazing. True Cambodian style cooking. It was lovely, served with sticky rice and I managed to eat the lot using my chop sticks again. i'm getting good at this!
For the first time in four days, Lion came and ate with us. It was so lovely talking with him for over an hour, learning about how the locals live in Cambodia, what they eat, what they do for hobbies, the jobs that they do. It was also lovely getting to know the most kindest, caring tuk tuk driver i've come across in the past 2 weeks. Lion truely was a gentleman. And not in a creapy way either. 150% genuine and clearly has a good head on his shoulders. Both Marie and I really liked him.
Back at the hostel I packed up my things and got myself ready since I was leaving on the night bus tonight for Pnomh Pehn, the Capital of Cambodia. The bus leaves the bus station at 11.30pm this evening and is supposed to take 5 hours. I haven't heard great things about the Captial of Cambodia, but this is where the killing fields are, and with so much more history to take in I was looking forward to the day I was about to spend there.