6 countries, 70 days, malaria pills, and traveling college girls (41 SE Asia, 29 Europe) out for an adventure of a lifetime. No one knows where life will take us, what could happen, or what we will end up eating… all we know is that our children and grandchildren will never hear the end of these stories. Kelsey and Sami will be posting about the first part of the trip in Southeast Asia and while Kelsey goes back to the States, Sami and Kayla continue the adventure in Europe.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Holiday In Cambodia

This last weekend, we went to Cambodia! We left early on Friday morning at 5 am. We arrived in Siem Reap early in the afternoon at a 4 star hotel. It was incredible! There was a huge pool with a swim-up bar and all the amenities we could imagine. Sami and I were so excited! The one downside: my wisdom teeth are starting to come up through the gums (extremely painful) and it all started on Friday. We dipped in the pool and had big coconuts to drink before we headed out to our first adventure.

We went on a tuk-tuk tour of the town and stopped to watch some local artists make a multitude of beautiful artworks that included sculpting, metalworking, painting, and much more.

We then hiked up to the top of a small temple (just a small part of the entirety of Angkor Wat) to watch the sunset.  It was so beautiful… and my mouth was in increasing in amounts of pain.

We had a huge buffet style dinner and watched a Cambodian traditional dance show before heading home completely exhausted by our long day of travelling. Not feeling too well, I iced my cheeks and watched American television in the hotel room while Sami played games with our friends in the lobby.
Saturday was going to be an incredible adventure at Angkor Thom, Ta Prahm, and Angkor Wat, which we were so excited to see!! Angkor Wat is one of the seven wonders of the world... couldn’t believe we could cross this one off our list! The pictures we took and the words I use to describe how incredible the buildings and scenery were just do not do it justice at all! It must be seen to be believed!! How they built such incredible stone structures with no modern machinery in the 12th century blows my mind. We also saw monkeys who took a liking to a few of our friends in the group, especially Grayson who had his little monkey buddy perched on his shoulder.
(above: Angkor Thom)

(above: Ta Prahm... look familiar? Yeah, this is where Tomb Raider was filmed)

(above: Angkor Wat)

After exploring the temples in the intense Cambodian heat all day, it was time to go back to the hotel for an energizing nap and swim! We had a taste of living the lifestyle of the rich and the famous... Got in my robe and Sami and I ordered room service while laying in our huge beds and a beautiful sun was setting from our balcony.
(this sunset isn't edited or filtered... this was the real deal)
That night we hit up the tourist friendly Pub Street, where live bands played great songs and Sami got mistaken for Brittany Spears at the Temple Club. We sat rooftop at the X bar, atop a skateboard ramp and saw the beautiful neon signs light up the dark streets. So much fun.
(view from the top of the X bar)
I went to bed early because my dang teeth were killing me, and prepared for the journey back to Chiang Mai in the morning. But not without a little shopping at a street market before we left! We both got north face backpacks (knock-offs) for 6 bucks (score). We even did fish foot spa therapy which tickled like crazy. Basically you pay $1 to stick your feet in a tub filled with baby piranhas and let them feed off the dead skin, leaving our feet so soft! Sami described the feeling perfectly… its like a thousand little kittens licking your feet.. so weird.
All in all, Cambodia was a beautiful place with a lot to offer, but I couldn’t help feeling that the experience was kind of off for me. Knowing that the country only recently ended a long struggle with communism and genocide (1993), and that all of the people alive there today have been directly affected by the political, social, and economic turmoil of the country, I felt a strange disconnect living in a four star hotel when the exchange rate is $1 for 4,045 Cambodian Riel. The country is poverty stricken and although they have struggled a great deal, tourism is helping the economy rise, and I guess that is a good contribution we made. You puzzle me Cambodia, but you are a beautiful country with kind people. Thank you for sharing your wonders with us! <3 Kels

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