It was a sultry late afternoon in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Our tuk-tuk driver paused alongside the dirt road to fill up his small motorbike tank with gas. He thumbed over a few Cambodian Riel to the woman at the “gas station,” a small cart selling reused Pepsi bottles full of clear-yellow gasoline. Tank full, we buzzed away, kicking up new clouds of dust into the golden air.
The Temples of Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia are one of the seven wonders of the world. They are mind-blowingly intricate and expansive.
We witnessed sunset at Angkor Wat, the crown jewel of the Angkor complex, and spent the following morning exploring the remaining temples.
At Ta Prohm, a marvelous tree-entwined temple, we saw a spindly spider poised in the center of its web. Its legs spanned a human hand. Once I recovered from my heart palpitations, I appreciated the wildness of it all. This spider wasn’t in a zoo, it wasn’t living in a terrarium – it was just living in the wild, doing spidery things. Unreal.
I later Googled Cambodian spiders and learned that this spider, apart from being fairly poisonous, spins the largest web of all spiders.
We climbed one temple that rivaled an Aztec pyramid with its steep, crumbling steps. We spotted elephant crossing signs and vendors selling Khmer artwork along the roadsides. And although the place had tourists roaming about, it still felt exotic – we were in the jungle.