[I had written this prior to Indi’s post, and she posted before I could complete my three-part series on Angkor Wat. My OCD nature went haywire, but she had a fantastic post so I couldn’t argue. Here is the conclusion of our temple viewing at Angkor.]
We took Monday off and spent it as shut-ins at our hotel, what with Indi’s damaged ankle and my sudden contraction of a 24-hr stomach bug (must’ve been the water – I’m all better now.) Tuesday I met back up with Dara and he took me out to three temples known as the Roluous Group. These were much smaller and less-impressive, but still a testament to the dedication of the Khmer peoples. The final temple was a beautiful moat-surrounded pyramid amidst reconstruction that I enjoyed quite a bit, actually.
It was also the last time I would be spending with Dara. Let me tell you a bit about him.
Dara is 25 years old and is originally from Phnom Penh. His family still lives there and he works here to send money back to them. He doesn’t have a tuk-tuk of his own (they cost about $1200 for the bike and $1000 for the carriage, which is a LOT for Cambodians) and works primarily for our hotel. He only gets paid $2 a day for taking tourists out to the temples, when we paid the hotel $15 a day for the service.
His English is limited but self-taught and better than he gives himself credit for. He is very caring and felt bad that many days ended before his scheduled time…he would often suggest other places to go so we felt we got our money’s worth. When Indi hurt her ankle, he was quick to help support her and provide whatever help he could. After we visited the clinic, I bought his lunch (had to nearly twist his arm, but he finally relented) and we had some good conversation. He would love to visit Thailand someday, but many Cambodians can’t return to the country if they leave the borders (not sure why) and he didn’t want to risk that; besides, it’s quite expensive and he has to support his family. He hasn’t seen them in a year.
I wished him luck and hoped he finds the success he desires and is someday able to buy his own tuk-tuk. We will miss him.
And thus ended Tuesday.