After hiring a couple of mountain bikes, we'd decided to save the most famous temple, Angkor Wat, for last. As such, we were off to ride the grand circuit of the temples in Angkor. The circuit is approximately 26 kms but another few extra by taking a "shortcut" down a side road. The "shortcut" was a great way of seeing some of the local villages and our voices almost became hoarse from all the "hellos" responding to the local kids. However, our shortcut managed to bypass the ticket booth for the temples and we had to ride 5 km back towards town to the ticketbooth. Having not had a good bit of exercise for awhile, the opportunity was embraced, pushing our mountain bikes to their (and our) limits, riding in the slick streams of tuc tucs, overtaking them when we felt they weren't going fast enough.
The temples are interspersed throughout the jungle. Relics of a past of immense wealth, piety and culture. Now tourists crawl through the ruins from every corner of the world and it's hard to find a space to yourself and get swept away in the mystique.
The more profound moments were actually in the ruins littered around the main attractions. Only there, without the bustle of the tour guides and constant clicking of cameras, was it possible to marvel at the ancient stones and feel lost in the wonder of these old carvings almost one thousand years old.
The combined dust from the temples and roads plus the sweat of a hard day's riding was going to make an interesting challenge for the Scrubba wash bag. Nonetheless, the Scrubba wash bag reigned supreme. Leaving the temple clothes to dry, we were off to meet a couple of Spanish Doctors who gave us directions earlier in the day and an Italian who had ridden his motorbike from Italy. Everyone was almost asleep reading the menu after a big day exploring the temples.
Miraculously as the night proceeded so did everyone's energy levels (aided by our first taste of Mocha Martiniis, arguably even better than an expresso martinii). The night of laughter and dancing was a reminder of a saying that when travelling, the time you spend with new friends is counted in dog years; 1 day equals 7. Great friends were made tonight.