We asked Mr. Saly, “Jauh tak tempat tengok sunset tu?” our main concern.
“Tak brapa la…dalam 200 meter…”
We looked at each other. Another long walking distance. Mesti kena panjat bukit ni! (Phnom is hill in Khmer.) We looked at the entrance, quite a high land. Kitorang bermusahabah diri sebelum membuat keputusan. Mesti Mr. Saly ni kata kitorang ni gila sebab tak penat-penat nak berjalan. Hahaha!
“Ok, kita naik! Nanti tunggu di mana?” “Sana…” Mr. Saly showed the place where all tuk-tuk drivers waited for their passengers.
We hopped down the tuk-tuk and headed to the Phnom Bakheng checking ticket area. There were two paths in reaching the temple, elephant path or panoramic path. Since we were 100% sure that we were going to walk, of course we had to choose panoramic path. (If you guys see this path on the map, you will definitely say that we are crazy!) The sun didn’t show any orangish sign. Battling with gravity walking zig-zagly upwards on clay in the middle of Khmer jungle, quite frustrating and tiring. We stopped at the middle of the journey and joined the old folks and believe me, we were the youngest! See how un-fit we were! Looking at the windy and gloomy sky, we blamed and scolded our own madness. We later continued the 200 meters which FINALLY, reached the front wall of the temple. (Baru front wall ni!) Few local aunties walked towards the jungle to have a pee. Soooo Cambodian style bebeh! Hancing plak tuh! (How do I know? Coz I climbed the temple stairs, right behind them! Choyyy!) Once we entered the complex, the place was too huge and high until we can barely see the temple top. We had to climb up these very STEEP stairs to reach the top and I don’t know how those monks did this, in their yellow clothes, back in their days! Tips? Take off your shoes and climb sideways! (And why locals came here too? I have no answer for it.)
The sunset crowd started to pick their own spot. Facing the Tonle Sap for a panoramic view, we also saw Angkor Wat from a distance. But…but… …rain was coming…and…and…falling… Few sightseers lost the battle to the rain and started to walk down the temple. But those who with umbrellas (like us), raincoat (not more than 5 persons), big lenses (many many many pro photographers) stayed. We laughed at ourselves since our RM3 umbrella can’t really last long…water started to come from the tip of the handle. Hahahahaha! BUT WE STAYED! At last, the rain stopped…but the sky almost turned darker and darker. We were forced to go back by the guide, afraid that we couldn’t reach down at the expected time. We were the last 4 small groups who left behind. Hubby and I started to panic and walked like crazy rhinos, pushing everyone to the side. Hahaha! (But we lost to one Japanese guy and his guide who walked twice crazy than us!) At the middle of going down, we finally, got a chance to see sunset, FROM THE PLATFORM THAT WE STOPPED on the way up just now! HUH! BUANG MASA JE PANJAT SAMPAI ATAS! Hahahaha! We laughed and two British couple, who wore raincoat at the temple top just now, who have been to Sabah and Langkawi, stopped and laughed with us as well. Hahahaha! The surroundings were getting darker. I, the short-sighted, started to complain not seeing anything on the road. We reached the checking area, and saw Mr. Saly was looking for us. Sian dia. Mesti takut kitorang hilang or sesat. Dah la dia kata takde orang M’sia yang jalan camni. Hahahaha! Rileks la Mr. Saly… He droved us back to the hotel and promised to bring us to the famous Cambodian “daging lembu naik bukit” nearby. Huh! That sacred dish! The one that my officemate told me to try! Cooked by a “tok kadi” at his own house! WOW! After got ourselves cleaned, we met Mr. Saly and he drove us to meet “tok kadi” who actually was “pak imam/mufti” of Siem Reap! He just finished his Maghrib prayer and came to greet us. (Oh boy, I wore baby-T plak tuh!) This family restaurant was actually his house and located behind a mosque. 70% of the villagers were Muslim.
His helper later prepared the stove and ingredients. He brought butter, soup, red meat, vegetables, rice and the Korean-BBQ shaped pot. Ustaz Musa suddenly stood up and started cooking.
“Eh Ustaz? Takpe ke ni?” we shy-shy cat.
“Takpe…kalau dua orang, takpe…kalau ramai, tak boleh la…” he smiled.
While cooking, we asked him how this dish was prepared and marinated, who knows we can try it at home. Hehe! And the result??? MASYAALLAH SEDAPNYERRRRR! SUPER DELICIOUS! USD8 for two persons and we can’t even finish the rice! (Yes, makan lauk je, hehe!)