We left Chiang Mai yesterday, saying a sad (but maybe secretly relieved) goodbye to our two scooters. We had spent our last day venturing east and south of the city. The highlights were the little side streets we 'discovered' because, in all honesty, we mostly got lost a lot. We did end up on one of Chiang Mai's highways on the way home which one sign referred to as "Supper Hiway", but at least it was in Anglo letters and in English, cause signs in Thai are indecipherable (see earlier comment about getting lost). I won't however be scootering on a 6 lane highway in the tropical rain during rush hour anytime soon.
We flew into Siem Reap from Thailand, a bit nervous that our e-Visas would not work, but tada! they did. For Camilla and me that felt like some sort of important travel victory. We were inordinately happy after clearing customs. In Siem Reap we are staying at the FCC Angkor which has turned out to be a great choice. This is a city with a lot of good choices for hotels. It clearly lives from tourism dollars, for better or for worst. Interestingly, I've never seen such a well developed "feel-good" network of NGOs competing for our tourist dollars (dollars: very important, to be discussed). We spent this evening at a circus that was set up by what has to be some French people to help street kids. Really great idea and a must see. Afterwards we walked to a street market that was full of stalls from NGOs selling anything and everything. I admire their missions but getting this much guilt with every possible transaction is exhausting,
We woke up before dawn this morning to do the obligatory and truly lovely visit to Angkor Wat. Seeing the sunrise was a motivation, but a far greater consideration was the heat that we knew would bear down on us as soon as the sun was up. What we didn't expect was that by 9 am it was already barely bearable. After we had finished, at around 11, Camilla and I walked back very slowly to our tuk tuk dripping in sweat and with our t-shirts plastered to our bodies. We are both in awe of all the Asian tourists, mostly from China and Japan, who walk around in the heat of the day with what we have started calling the Asian Burka. Long sleeves, long pants, usually with another layer on top, a hat, a neck guard, occasionally gloves, and sometimes a bandana like face guard. They are not the most impressive though, the ones that amazing me are the women, also mostly Chinese, Japanese, and from what I can gather some Thai, who are dressed to the nines in long dresses, cute jackets or, get this, cardigans, with their long hair down, and there is not a bead of sweat on their perfectly made up faces. I, in the meantime, have sweated through my clothes so much that they probably have to be washed twice, I gave up on any makeup about two weeks ago, and I feel like fainting if my hair even touches the back of my neck.
Oh and yes, Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom are phenomenal. We are apparently in the low season. If this is low season numbers, then I can not imagine what it must be like in the high season. Anyhow, I'm done! Enjoy the pics: