Happy Mothers Day to all those great Moms out there. Hope everyone enjoys their magnificent day.
Set my iPhone alarm for 6:15 and could barely get out of bed. I tried to force my way out, but my mind kept on pushing me back. Moping here I come. Finally dragged myself out and went down to meet Zayaa for breakfast. The days and nights are starting to mold together.
Kimsru picked us up at 8 AM. Where were we going? How could Zayaa visit Siem Reap and not visit Angkor Wat. I last visited in 2005 when I took a group of about thirty five students from the original Pepy school. Those students had never been there. A place steeped in their culture and tradition and they had never been there. Then I spent the whole day wandering around this magnificent site. We took the same Tuk Tuk driver as yesterday and off we went.
The first difference was where you purchase tickets. Cambodians do not need tickets and of course, get in for free. In 2005, you had to go to the front gate and line up to get your admission ticket. Now you go to a new facility where there are numerous ticket windows. The cost is $37 for a full day ticket. You get a ticket with your picture on it. The process was very fast. I recall that in 2005, the ticket price was almost the same. Off we went. We first visited some temples that were near the main complex. They were so beautiful. These temples are so much grown into the jungle that large trees, probably at least 1000 years old, have grown huge roots above the ground and all over the structures. My camera clicked away as the heat and humidity hit me full force. By ten o’clock the heat and humidity became oppressive. Take Florida in July and this is worse. I saw my arms get moist, but was determined to keep up with Kimsru. She told us that sometimes when she has to study, she comes to Angkor Wat to concentrate. We rested by her favorite tree that had been cut back. She told us that she cried after that happened. I had to remind myself to keep on drinking water. I felt that much more water was going out than was coming in. We visited some more temples and it was finally time for lunch. The Tuk Tuk driver took us to a large sit down restaurant near the main complex. The restaurant had a large tent over it to protect everyone from the sun. There were many fans trying to keep everyone cool. Before you are seated, there are large grills barbecueing chicken, fish and a small bird on large sticks. You pick out what you want and sit down to wait. A woman brings you over a big pot of white rice and then the items you had picked out cut up into smaller pieces. We had chicken and fish. The chicken was very tasty. The fish was cat fish. These were the smallest cat fish I had ever seen, They looked more like large eels. The had a hard head. I tried some. Some cats wandered over to me and I gladly started to feed them. They had a banquet.
After lunch, it was onto the main complex. When I was previously here, you walked over a very old bridge that was built over a large moat. That bridge is part of the original structure. It is currently being rebuilt and a temporary bridge was installed to walk over. The bridge felt like walking on a trampoline. Soft and the heat really did a number on me. We finally got to the main complex and walked all around. This is some site. There are murals of carved stone telling stores of battle and the daily life of the people who lived there. There were also some beautiful buddhas set up inside the structures. The Khmer Rouge had broken off many of the heads of the buddhas. In this way, they believed that the buddha had died. We wandered through the complex as my body started to wilt. It was now time to leave as we walked over the trampoline bridge with the heat and humidity engulfing us.
Konnitha, her five year old daughter and sister were meeting us at the hotel pool. The hotel pool is very nice and large. The water is not that refreshing due to the oppressive heat and humidity. We were dropped off at the hotel and I went up to my room to soak in a shower and get my bathing suit on. I then got down to the pool at around 3 PM and immediately dove in to just soak and relax. Konnitha, her sister and five year old daughter showed up. Her daughters name is Hannah. She is so beautiful and a whirlwind. Constantly moving and running around. She took an immediate liking to Zayaa and kept on calling her name constantly for her attention. Zayaa willingly gave her as much attention as she could. Kimsru then showed up and we all enjoyed around three hours in and around the pool.
It was now around 6:30 and time for dinner. What do the Cambodians normally eat in such hot and humid weather? Hot soup. What else. The restaurant brought over a small gas grill and Konnitha and Kimsru picked out lots off ingredients and then proceeded to cook and prepare our soup. There were vegetables, tofu, fish ad some other ingredients in the soup. Was very tasty. There is a local canned drink here called “Freshy”. “Freshy” is a natural soybean drink. I am quickly developing a taste for it.
Tomorrow is a national holiday. It is the Kings birthday. The King has no power, but the people love him. About thirty five of us are going to Kulen Mountain for the day. Kulen Mountain is a place that locals go to swim and picnic. There are some large waterfalls and natural pools. I had previously been there and couldn’t believe the amount of people there and the scene that I was witnessing. Should be a special day.
Tomorrow is my oldest sons birthday. Jonathan will be forty one. He is a great doctor and we are so proud of him and his accomplishments.
See everyone after Kulen Mountain