About 13km away there is a river filled with floating homes and markets. Instead of taking a tuk-tuk or bus, Rob thought it would be better if we rented a mountain bike for 24 hours and explore the area on our own. Sounded great! But before we did that, we had to take care of a little problem.
My bed in our dorm is on the top bunk and Robs is directly across me but on the bottom bunk. The morning before Angkor when I woke up around 8 am, I remember looking down and staring directly at Robs camera which was sitting right on top of his red bag. I must of been deep in thought while I just stared at the thing for no reason whatsoever. I snapped out of my trance and turned over in my bed. The guy above Rob woke up and started packing. He was running late so he rushed out of there. Soon, Rob woke up and noticed his camera was wasn’t there. “No, I saw it right on top of your bag.” I told him. “I was staring right at it.” “It’s not here!” he said. He kept looking around and we came to the conclusion that the guy above him has stole it. As a traveller, arguably the worst item you can lose is your camera. Not necessarily the camera, but the memory card inside the camera, full of photos and memories. Passports, credit cards, phones, cameras – those are all replaceable. But a memory card with photos is not. Fortunately, Rob backed up most of his pictures onto his tablet the day before. He also has traveler’s insurance so he would be able to make a claim. He just had to get a police report which proved to be more of a hassle than anything.
We rented our bikes which costed $5 for 24 hours, and rode to the tourist police station, about 7km away. The “officer” who was dressed in regular local clothes gave Rob an annoyingly hard time. He told Rob he would need to question all of the people in the room at the time which was impractical and impossible because most of the people, including the guy we think stole the camera, has already checked out and left. “Well what do you expect me to do then?” asked the officer. How about a different career…“The chance of me getting my camera back is almost impossible.” said Rob. “I just need a police report to show my insurance.” The officer treated this stolen camera like it was a murder case, to the point where he asked me to wait outside so they could talk in private. It was laughable at how serious the officer was over a simple camera. After more than an hour, Rob was finally let go and he would have to wait to get a police report later while the officer thought about it. It wasn’t even my camera and I was frustrated. It took so long at the station that we postponed our bike trip for the next day, which was better because the weather proved to be much more clear…and hot!
We left around 11 am and first went to grab food. We found a nice Indian restaurant where Leticia joined us for a quick bite. Soon after we headed down the road towards the floating villages. After a few kilometers, it turned from a busy city to a more of a village through a jungle. As usual, I was sweating my face off from how intensely hot it was. A few more kilometers and the road went from paved to unpaved and the surroundings became more rustic.
Soon, the jungle started to disappear and we came to an open field, flooded with water. We could see the floating village in the distance. We were getting closer!
As we rode along, we saw numerous tourists getting an easy ride on tuk-tuks and tour buses. I was so tempted to latch onto the back of one of the buses and get pulled along on my bike. I was literally drenched in sweat. Fortunately we didn’t have much longer to go and then finally we made it to the floating villages.
I’ve seen other floating villages and markets before, so we decided to roll along further to the boat station and see what it had to offer. We looked around and saw the route of the little boats for tours. It went in a giant circle and most of the tourists were older. You know, the iPad welding, fanny-pack kind of crowd. Nay a backpacker in sight. It also would cost us $15 per person for a ride. We’ve both been on these types of boats before (me during the Mekong trip in Vietnam) so we weren’t really bent up on going. Instead we chilled out at the boat station on comfy lounge chairs and gazed along the river. And I have to mention, the clouds in the horizon were as big as mountains! I’m a big fan of clouds!
We decided to hit the road back to Siem Reap but along the way, stopped at a restaurant made of bamboo, elevated above the river. What caught our eyes were the hammocks which were practically calling our names. We knew we had a long haul ahead of us in the hot temperature, and we were in no rush, so this became the perfect place to wind down for a little while.
We remembered we had to return our bikes by 4 pm. So before we could of easily fallen asleep on the hammocks, we decided it was best to head back through the villages, back to town.
We returned our bikes and went back to our hostel. After a much needed shower, I went out in the lobby to catch up on blogging. There, I overheard three backpackers booking a tour for Angkor Wat the next day. They came to sit down and I asked them how much they paid so they didn’t get ripped off. They paid a bit more because they had a tour and were going for two days instead of one. From there we introduced ourselves and made chit-chat. They are three siblings from Germany traveling together; two older sisters, Lulu and Toni, and their younger brother Schunk. We became fast friends so I invited them to come upstairs to the sandbar later for some fun and games, along with Rob. It seemed like most of the backpackers in the hostel were up there that night and we all had a really, really great time!
Before I knew it, I realized I only had a few more days left here in Siem Reap before I left Asia to begin the next phase of my trip. The bittersweet end was just ahead. Time has flown by so fast!