The beautiful face of sunrise in the background saying “Hello” to the crowded people in front of the iconic Angkor Wat in Siem Riep City in Cambodia.
“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” is a quote that suits exactly what’s been in my mind lately and I took it seriously. Gosh! It rhymes! How crazy is that?
Well, instead of being crazy, I listen to my heart and let my eyes travel to what the universe is trying to send me along with these unusual signs whether I’m traveling or learning new things around me as to what I am and ought to be doing. Not to mention that I have finally arrived at the age where a woman starts to question, “Where is my tribe?” Double the crazy, right? Let’s just put it that way.
Anyway, too much of my craziness and let me walk you through to my travel reads in Cambodia where I got my five magpie creations to start from catching the sunrise in Angkor Wat in Siem Riep to catching up with two-hour talk with Elizabeth Gilbert like, to braving myself to climb the tallest peak I can get in Takeo Temple.
Now, here’s my favorite “sneak peek” at the Khmer’s Land of Evergreen.
1. Angkor What? Wonders of the World
I arrived at Angkor Wat with such crazy crowd as early as 6 o’clock. I can’t even help myself to spot a perfect sunrise background with this phenomenal temple, seriously. But once you enter the temple with such an enormous landscape coupled with respectable monks wrapped with their orange robes, old carvings about the story of heaven and hell and some pieces of ancient stones fell in the ground. All of them are the real perfection of what’s an ancient temple really looks like, (my old soul tickles me so hard) but apparently there is an even higher purpose behind it.
Out of nowhere, the long queue of people grabbed my attention so, I walked to the front of the temple and looked up to the summit of the temple and I was like that’s pretty high man! But I followed immediately by lining up to get what I want to know. After a few minutes, I overheard a tourist guide at my back and said, “Are you sure you want to climb and wait for 45 minutes? as he pointed the signage of the waiting time and still he gets a big YES from the group and he just simply responded, “Alright! If that’s what you want, I will just sit down at the corner and wait for you to go down here” and he walked away.
Just as they were talking and complaining that they should get a new tourist guide, a mental life lesson aid walked through my mind, which I learned from Simon Sinek who writes the book of “Start with Why”, that there are two ways to see the world, people who can see things what they want and people who can see the things that prevent them from getting what they want. The tourists can see the summit but the tourist guide can only see the long line as to which the result of the unfull-filled job. Pretty swag huh!
I spend a total of three hours rolling inside the temple of Angkor Wat, seriously. I was hooked in everything I see inside that makes me so wonderful and grateful.
- The Unfinished Temple Mountain of Takeo
Now, this was a first for me. And since this is the first time I have used the word ” brave” for stepping off from the pointed top of the temple a few minutes later to a very thin steep stairs and where I immediately went down to the other long steep stairs—and I can only hear the soccer-stadium like who cheers you for a job well-done. My own face was delighted and I never imagine in the wildest dreams I can do that under the hot, sunny disorder with full of sweats, dusty barefoot. So, I am so proud of myself.
Quite abruptly, a man in his late sixties walked towards and said to me, “Congratulations!”.He was the same man who went before me because he wanted to climb but he was forced to back off since his daughter cued him not to do it due to his off legs.
I concluded that the fun part will not come later, now is the fun part. The purpose of life is not only to work without resting but also to mix it with some leisure. Don’t just wait until your too old to keep your job and discovered that you need to travel now because you already have the huge resignation money plus your savings for years of working. Well, we have to remember that there are things we can do right now, physically but can’t do later on.
This massive temple will welcome you with a long and steep staircase to climb and another set of very very steep staircases of the peakest summit of the temple, where you can some Buddha along with a magical music at the corner. I love the music, though! It makes you calm and relaxes after from an uphill struggle of climbing.
This temple teaches me of the things I never thought I can. I will never forget this place!
3.Holy Water Basin of Srah Srang
How I wish I could freeze this moment, right here, right now so that I could see the beautiful face of nature. Everything was in place. The calmness of natural water while only a few people scattered on the brick temple are one of my favorites.
And since I am already down with my photos, I overheard the children squealing with innocent delight, jumping, paddling, splashing water each other and pretending to swim nearby the baray. So, I came closer to them and saw the joy in their faces. This was the exact joy my own face had radiated when I got my diploma in college. And I wonder what ahead for them with their ignorance of life and have no idea if the world is bad and ugly or not. But the future didn’t exist for them yet. They were living in the present moment, where they only know love and security from their parents. But for now, that’s the only idea I wanted them to stick and carry wherever they go.
I just simply love the white clouds overshadowed on the water. I can see my reflection on it. This is my best shot for this Sranh Srang Baray
They are so happy kids despite their unhappy circumstances. So, much of love and I think the only heart desires that you cannot take from them is their precious heart. Because they are the experts of HAPPINESS.
- The Guru comes from the Bamboo Hostel
One reason that staying in a hostel is a great way to meet fellow travelers and really open doors for each of you. But that’s not the only reason you should consider because sometimes, they teach you how to do it differently.
When I arrived at my hostel, went straight to my room, let go of my bag, drop my body on the bed and pressed my head against the pillow. And then, I heard a very compassionate heartbeat asking me ” Hi! It seems like you’re tired”, Would you like to eat with me? I paused and began to say, Sure!
We were sitting in an outdoor pantry with a scrumptious meal, having our conversation practice, and I asked her what she thought about Cambodia. She told me that she loved the place and she intellectually knew that she had specific temples lined up to meet and none of those she hasn’t meet. And she explained that there’s so much to see and experience here aside from visiting those places. And was like, “Am I talking to Elizabeth Gilbert right now?” by the very fact that she has just come through a failed marriage and quit her job to travel in different countries like India, Nepal and so on at the age of 40-ish. Pretty dope huh!
After a two-hour conversation and Gosh, she told me not to lose my identity for being a savvy observer and always pay great attention to the things that really matter because those things are permanent.
Thanks to the Bamboo Stay hostel, they put me inside that room aside from being so generous sending me the tuktuk driver wherever I go and making me delish food. I like the entire place, it’s cozy and close to the locals.
The Nepalese woman let me sleep like a baby after getting wet because everyone is splashing some water on the street because that’s how they celebrate their Happy Kmer New Year’s Day. Not to mention that she even bought a huge water gun to play around.Pretty cool!
5. Khmer Num Krok (Cambodia Rice Cake)
After saving a power nap for 3 hours, my tummy was growling to death so I went out to the nearest market to get some yummy munchies under the scorching heat of the sun. Not until then, I was hooked by the unusual dessert that looks like moshi (not really) but the filling is coconut, so I ended up getting six pieces of it.
But after several minutes of waiting, my order was not yet finished. However, I stay put, to immobilize myself in a small stall from the empty gallon of milk to grabbing the phone to arriving someone with ripped jeans from nowhere to calling my name since my food is ready.
Until I found out that they’re missing one ingredient that they should have to bake the cake if not, they’re in trouble. Now, I remember one of my closest friends told me once that it’s going to be sad, sad if you forget one of the ingredients in baking goods. It’s like getting all the ingredients together and you’ve got to make sure everything is intact or else you’re gonna lose the texture.
So, I tried to be quick-witted as I can be and remember the quote by William Shakespeare, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” And I’m pretty sure it should make perfect sense for those ingredients to share a bowl for everybody.
This is the best rice cake I have eaten in life by far. Love the mix and match of the food!
The city was awake and alive in the sunshine, so dolled up in the mid-day and sexy in the night. But I have to end my day with a sweet goodnight since I went for an early morning sunrise just to explore the whole Angkor Archeological Park not to mention that I had a sleep deprivation due to non-stop overland trip between two cities of Vietnam and Cambodia. Purely as a matter of principle I wouldn’t inflict my sorry because everything was truly amazing! By the very fact that I want to do it again in the future.Aha!