the people square

a community serious about adventuring

Wat-ing, Bike Down and Disappointing Spiderman


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After blocks of harassment, we finally lost the world’s hardest working tuk-tuk driver. We walked deep into the bustling city of Siem Reap. We’d be taunted by swanky massage parlors and turned down invitations for fish nibbling foot massages with a beer…with all intentions of coming back though, I mean foot massage and beer…jackpot! We’d stroll past tourist infested cafes and restaurants and several tuk-tuks with some of the most interesting designs. One guy had is tuk-tuk dressed in black and bats of yellow, he’d be Batman…and we’d meet his brother Spiderman the very next day.

 Mr. Adventure had been to Cambodia once before and he’d also visited one of the world’s wonders there, Angkor Wat (wat is the Khmer word for temple). Angkor is one of mankind’s amazing achievements built from around 800 to 1200 AD by the Khmer Empire. Over 200 of the temples have been restored in some way to allow visitors to imagine what it must have been like living during that period of time. There are actually over 1,000 temple sites of Angkor, but most of them are now barely standing, if even standing at all. Over in Mexico, a year after his visit, he’d be asked what his favourite Angkor Wat wat was (say that three times over). He respond with “Uh, Angkor Wat was my favourite” to which he received some laughs. Turns out there are many more wats to see around the site…many, many more. From our hostel we’d get a map that showed us the  surrounding sites…some were bike accessible, but others you’d need to get to by tuk-tuk. Mr., Mrs. and Caddie went out to rent some bikes that very day. The plan was to be up before the sun and be at Angkor Wat in time for the sunrise.

The ride out to Angkor Wat before the sun comes up in Siem Reap is the best time for bike riding. A sleeping city, empty streets and the road was ours. Before heading into the site, we’d have to stop and buy our entrance tickets, which is very careful process (odd for Cambodia) involving a photo and ID card. Getting to the site we’d have to pay to park our bikes and make our way into the site behind hordes of people arriving with the sunrise in mind. Little kids offering flashlights and coffee greeted the waves of tourists. A little boy about seven or eight introduced himself as Spiderman and led us to a good spot on some rocks across the famous pond reflecting the behemoth Angkor Wat. Spiderman pushed his best coffee and tea salesmenship on us, but we kindly refused and got camera ready; however foreboding the sky looked. The sun began to make its anticipated accent and the yawns began. Spotting a coffee girl, Mrs. requested a coffee…bad idea. Spiderman was none to impressed and gave me the third degree…I believe there may have even been Cambodian finger waved in my face. The end result was a pinky swear to be at stall number three for lunch…Spiderman would be expecting us. Showing up at stall three and expecting to see an elated Spiderman, we were disappointed to see him show next to no appreciation for remembering our pinky sworn lunch date. He’d seat us, menu us and was off to make more pinky promises.

We’d take off and peddle to some more sites. All with their own unique colours, shapes, design and dedication. Exposed tree roots and jagged rocks jutting out from the earth were the only things standing in our way of possibly visiting something. Random sign markers said so. Showing off too much of my biking skills along one of the wat trails wasn’t a good idea…the chain snapped. Stuck between a couple of the sites, Mr., Mrs and Caddie would have to alternate  towing and scootering it to a more populated area for help. We’d try flagging down passing cabs but they were all full of  Wat-ing tourists. One cabbie tried charging us almost 10 dollars to take the bike back into the city. Luckily we’d find a lunching area that had a home-run scooter and tuk-tuk wash set up out front. They’d also do bike repairs. So we’ d watch as the bike got put back together with knives, forks and fingers; a two dollar repair.

Mrs. Excellent Adventure

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