Wednesday, February 29, 2012


My first sight of Angkor Wat, Cambodia, was actually a touch. Our group visited three times, but I missed the first two due to a small case of 'chundering everywhere', or vomiting.

Anyway, on the third visit we left at 4:00 in the morning, to arrive at the main temple complex before sunrise. As a result, I got to explore Angkor Way in the dark, feeling my way around the ancient buildings. Almost nobody was there, but the stars were out in full, and it was so cool to watch the sun come up over the ruins.

Angkor Wat was the biggest Hindu temple complex of the Khmer Empire, which ruled Cambodia between the ninth and fifteenth centuries.

The ruins were amazing, but a lot of the empire’s most beautiful structures were destroyed during the Pol Pot regime, which was also the government that oversaw the Cambodian genocide.

The Cambodian genocide was a politically-based slaughter that killed a third of the country’s population. The ridiculous horror of that time was really hammered in by the killing fields monument we visited in Phnom Penh, explained the history of the atrocities.

In Phnom Penh, we also had some adventures in kite-flying…

And near Siam Reap, we went to a floating village. That’s right. Floating. Village. All the houses and buildings were on stilts in the lakes, and locals rowed visitors through the mangrove forests.

Needless to say, it was both beautiful and intriguing. Imagine if your daily commute was by canoe instead of bus.

As if all that wasn’t brilliant enough, we also played paintball and a rode in a hot air balloon.

(Don't worry, the balloon did leave the ground.)

Of course celebrating Christmas away from my family was sad, but spending the week so awesomely took most of the sting out of it. Wow.

(And no, I have neither reason nor excuse for posting about December in late February. Just think of it as a small dose of time travel!)

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