Okay, so I trained (lightly!) for and did the Angkor Wat Half-Marathon with a bunch of other PCVs this year!  It was amazing, and it was my first trip going out of country.  We travelled by bus and crossed the border into Cambodia as a group, which was lucky or I'm sure I would have used my amazing talent for getting lost and ended up in Wales or something (it's almost astonishing, my ability to get lost).
I'm really glad I went as part of a group, because it meant we could room together, tour together, do the run together, and all that.  Super fun!

The first day my friend Linzee and I got up crazy early so we could see the sun rise through the ruins of Banteay Srei Temple.  This temple was consecrated on April 22, 967.  That's A.D.  ...Do we, in America, have ANYTHING that old?  A redwood tree, perhaps?  A rock or handful of dirt that used to be a rock?  Fossils?  Nothing I can think of that matches this in terms of age and construction quality, I'm sure!
After seeing Banteay Srei Temple Linzee and I took our tuk-tuk to Pre Rup.  This temple was dedicated in 961, or early 961, so it's a few years older than Banteay Srei.  There weren't any carvings like we'd seen on the earlier temple, but Pre Rup was so much more vast!  We got to climb and crawl all over these ruins without fear, and it was super fun!
It was barely lunchtime by then, and Angkor has so many beautiful temples!  We decided to visit one of the more famous temples next, Ta Prohm.  The youngest temple we'd yet visited, Ta Prohm was dedicated in 1186 A.D.
Leaving Ta Prohm I discovered that Cambodian people trying to sell you something _do_not_stop.  Shaking your head and walking away doesn't deter them, they will follow you!  They will follow you for a long time, and if you are foolish enough to buy something from someone, EVERYONE will follow you!  Don't take money if you go!  That is, if you don't intend to buy overpriced tourist stuff!
Because we'd rented the tuk-tuk for the day, even though we were getting a little tired of ruins (heat, other tourists...) we decided to hit another temple.  We went to the site of the ancient city Angkor Thom and saw Bayon Temple, which was (like Ta Prohm) part of the civic works plan of King Jayavarman VII.  While Ta Prohm was dedicated to his family, Bayon was to be his state temple, so it's a temple-mountain and supremely impressive.
After Bayon we headed  back to the hotel, and rested up for the Half-Marathon!
The race the next day was oodles of fun, though after the first 10 k I fell behind the rest of the group and was, by far, the last of us to cross the finish line!  It was beautiful, though, and running around the ruins was super.  It was lovely, and with that scenery as well as the tunes I was listening to, I had a great time.  Children would line the route and some runners had backpacks that they'd lighten by giving the kids pencils and notebooks, or other goodies.  Other runners would give high fives and fist bumps, and I had a really great time just enjoying the fact that I was there, running around the ruins of Angkor Wat!
Going home the next day was no trouble, more lines and the like, but once back at site there was plenty to do, so getting back into the swing of things was easy!
5/1/2015 11:35:30

woah dang! cambodia is crazy awesome with history! and the carved temples?! fugeddaboudit! they're super impressive! thanks for sharing, I'm glad you had a good time!

5/1/2015 16:12:47

This is so amazing, so much information and rich history along with your adventure.


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    These are the personal opinions of Spook, and do not reflect those of the Peace Corps.


    January 2014