Angkorian Times

July 6

In the restaurant yesterday, looking at the downpour washing through a back ally, a man shook his head sadly when Kate asked him about the weather for today. However, the day progressed under a fine, clear, fine firmament, which is what you want when cycling (as Kate’s husband Ed and I would be doing).

By the time we arrived at Angkor, people by the hundreds were already at their preferred snap stations, cameras in hand or on tripod. There also seemed to be enough oil portraits of Angkor on sale to accommodate every single person there.

I ventured a coffee afterwards which seems to start out as the second worst coffee I ever had, but which slowly got better with each sip, building to a winning final act. Coffee as showman. It was also in the thinnest cup ever I seen. Ed liked his so it must be my issue. Need more heat-resistant taste buds.

The others in our group clambered aboard the tuk tuks while Ed lead me into the jungles for a series of gruelling off track survival and endurance trials adventure treats. We saw fishermen casting nets and drawing dozens of small and large fish to the shore with seeming ease. The first bush tracks were dotted with micro villages of two or three elevated huts. We came across a young man ploughing a field. He was dap pram muoy years old.

The tracks held hazards too. Some less beaten paths were thickly edged with thorns and lashy things ready to snag a passer-by feeling too relaxed.

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Exploring more complexes of temples. One has an odd relief of what seems to be a stegosaurus! Ed suggested it could be from the “Angkorian” geological era. I love the chamber that somehow much magnified the sound of thumping on your chest. The climbs to the tops of some of the loftier temples were enough to get you wondering about your cardiac health. Perhaps this is where heart check ups were done before the invention of the EKG.

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Ed and I continued our cycle along the wall enclosing the “place of the dead.” I posed on a stick bridge for a photo only to have the stick I was on start to crack and give way. Would have been some photo!

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Big thanks to Ed’s friend who gave over his own driver’s licence as bike hire surety for us as Ed did not have his with him and I don’t really have one at all!

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