August, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Why?  Who knows why?  Ying passed away three years ago.  Self misses her terribly.

This evening, self is thinking of the time she and Ying went to Siem Reap.  We went in August.

Oh, did anyone ever tell you that August is the hottest time of the year in Southeast Asia?  The heat in August in Cambodia is something else.  It’s alive, actually, a python wrapping itself around one’s body.

Our first day at the ruins of Angkor Wat, we arrived mid-morning and by noon both of us were limp and sun-blinded.

So, the next day, we decided to wake up at 4 a.m. and get to the ruins in time to watch the sunrise.

You approach Angkor Wat over an ancient causeway built across a broad plain.  Here and there on the plain are pools of standing water (Angkor Wat was built over a vast underground reservoir of water).  Oh, we were so thrilled to be there so early in the morning!  But, alas, so were at least a hundred other people!  And all of them had their cameras pointed directly at the ruins, waiting with bated breath for the time when the sun rose behind the temples.  Everyone was reverential, worshipful.  It was the strangest scene.

Another time, Ying grew very excited:  we had just encountered a stooped old monk, and Ying said, pointing to the cover of her Lonely Planet guidebook:  “It’s the same monk!  He’s the one on the cover of the Lonely Planet guidebook!”

We approached the Rock Star/ Monk, greeted him reverently, and held up the book:  “You/us/picture?  You are famous!”

The monk grinned, held up two fingers.  What?  What was that?  What kind of gesture was that?

The monk had to spell it out for us:  “No picture without pay!  Two dollars!”

Another thing about Siem Reap was that it was littered with internet cafés.  And these cafés had some of the fastest connections self had ever experienced, faster even than the internet café son found in a teensy-tiny house in Boracay.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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