After an exhausting first week in Siem Reap, it was time to visit the attraction that put Cambodia on the map: Angkor Wat. It took 30 years to construct the temples during the 12th century (113-5 B.C.E.) with incredible artistic detail, earning it a well-deserved title as one of the seven man-made wonders of the world. When we walked over the moat and under the archway leading to the main Angkor Wat, our eyes brimmed with tears. Even though it was my third time visiting Angkor, the lotus-shaped perfectly symmetrical temple took me aback. Wow. However, loud-mouthed vendors quickly snapped me out of my trance. No I did not want a scarf, or a photo, or a tour…
We explored Angkor Wat, climbing steep staircases to reach various temples and take in the beautiful jungle skyline dotted with temples. But religion and history are exhausting. We recharged with iced coffee and noodles at Mary’s stand “007: Licensed to Coffee” squeezed next to other stands called “Angelina Jolie,” “Nicholas Cage,” and “Brad Pitt.” The coffee came “Cambodian Style” with heapings of condensed milk – Silken could only muster a sip, whereas I chugged the whole thing: bad idea. For undisclosed reasons, I could not make it to view sunset over Angkor Wat.
Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world, a holy place where Silken has ripped her pants in the crotch region twice. That’s 2/2 visits, or 100% of the times we’ve visited Angkor Wat. I’m not saying it was intentional by any means, but she does keep commenting on how cute monks are. Just putting it out there.
During our first visit, her bright orange elephants split while climbing ruins at Angkor Thom, where the famous image of a tree eating a temple comes from - proof that nature will always beat man. While elephant pants are loose, the fabric enjoys sticking to sweaty skin. One wrong step and they’ll rip wide open between the legs, which is exactly what happened to Silken. For the remainder of our visit, Nicole and I took turns walking behind her. We told her it wasn’t “that bad,” but there’s no way she believed us given the throngs of Cambodian retailers chuckling and chasing her shouting “Lady!! Elephant pants, only three dolla (a discounted rate to start at- usually it’s eight dolla)! You need pants!” Thankfully for Silken’s modesty and the purity of the monks, the Cambodian condensed milk gave us an excuse to leave early.