Mr. GeoK and Oldest GeoKid rose about 4:30 this morning to head to Angkor Wat for the sunrise photo shoot. To their dismay, there were thousands of people trying to catch the sunrise between the towers. Factor in the haze in the air and the scaffolding in place for some restoration work, their photos did not turn out as well as they hoped.
Meanwhile, Mrs. GeoK and Youngest GeoKid headed out at 7:00. Their morning was spent touring 3 temples in the company of local guides: Bayon Temple, Elephant Temple and Angkor Wat. While the guide was more than competent at pointing out the features of the temples and very willing to answer questions, we did not come away with much sense of the engineering excellence of the Khmer Empire, nor what daily life was like 900 years ago.
The unexpected highlight of the morning was an elephant ride around the Bayon Temple. We couldn’t stop grinning as we trundled along, working our core muscles to avoid whiplash and excessive jostling. Then, Youngest GeoKid fed the elephant! He started with just one banana at a time, but the elephant’s insistent trunk soon grabbed up the entire bunch!
Over lunch at the hotel, we compared notes about the morning, most notably that none of us had managed to find a geocache in Cambodia! The reality is that this is one of the major downsides of being part of a tour group. Twice over the course of the morning, Mrs. GeoK and Youngest GeoKid were within 150 meters of a geocache, but both times we were riding on a bus! We reviewed the geocaches hidden in the Siem Reap area and determined that we had one last chance, at Ta Prohm in the afternoon.
Ta Prohm is more familiarly known as the location of Tomb Raider. Our guide set us straight on some of the details of the movie “on location” sets – back home, we’ll watch the movie again, with a whole new perspective! After walking to the center of the site in the company of our guide, Mr. and Mrs. GeoK peeled off from the group to undertake an increasingly frantic search for GC1Q564 – Tomb Raider. Despite pushing our search time past the limit (the bus left without us to the “happy houses”), we came away with a very disappointing DNF, our first of the trip.
The lesson we took away from this is that when preparing for a such a big trip, especially when you don’t know whether you’ll have access to the internet , take the time before you leave home to print out critical geocache information, including critical spoiler photos. It may make the difference between success and failure in adding a particular country or state to your geocaching map. If only…