Once upon a wing, after sailing on a little wooden boat along the Mekong Delta and spotting a very sweet little tree cottage, my friend Emma and I arrived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. As our boat pulled into the shore, we scrambled up the steep, rocky steps and ran straight for the ATM. After two days on a boat having only consumed one bottle of water and half a pineapple, money was our first thought. Hello food.
We jumped aboard a tuk-tuk and found a little street-side balcony hostel to call home for a day. We then met a local Cambodian Couchsurfer and had some more food. Wandering the streets, we stumbled upon a gem of a bookstore. Sweat was pouring from every inch of my skin; I realised I was very sick. We rushed to buy me magic medicine and I tossed and turned the night away in my little room.
We woke up bright and early and headed for the Royal Palace which was very grand and majestic. The sky was bright blue and meshed perfectly with the bright whites of the palace and the fusion of pink flowers splattered around the block.
Before long we were on a bumpy, but beautiful bus journey through the soul of Cambodian countryside. Our destination- Siem Reap. We were immediately whisked away in yet, another tuk-tuk. This time we found ourselves at a wedding, a random Cambodian couple’s wedding. We danced the night away, pretended to speak French, got chased by duck heads and laughed until our faces were tomato red.
We awoke barely three hours later to be taken by the same tuk-tuk driver-minus yesterday’s enthusiasm- to Angkor Wat for sunrise. And it was beautiful. As we neared closer, the moon got smaller and began it’s smooth journey down towards the lily pads floating on the pond as the giant round sun emerged from behind the temple, colouring the sky the way only our imaginations dream of.
We saw elephants and a little girl that seemed at one with the temples. We played and climbed and walked and walked. It was so beautiful.
Siem Reap was our favourite place. We decided to stay for a few more days and get to know it better. Butterflies flew around our heads as we ate, kittens danced across our feet. There was a lot of curry eating and we drank rainbow juice from luminous green buckets with straws. A day of cycling led us on the greatest adventure being chased by children through emerald fields, all the while singing Edward Sharpe’s ‘Home’ continually. We spotted a rustic gate from some forgotten fairytale, and we basked away an afternoon in road-side hammocks.
Cambodia seeped into our hearts and we didn’t want to leave. We let little fish nibble on our feet in lost lanes. I spent a day talking to children in masks at a cute cafe while I waited for my plane to other lands, far away from the postcards of this friendly temple town, tucked away in my notebook.
Cambodia, ‘I want kiss you’, I do.