Arrival in Siem Reap

To Cambodia we go, me and all the other holiday-makers from all round the World. So many different languages in the departure lounge at Luang Prabang it was a veritable Tower of Babel. Now we are on a prop plane 20,000 feet over the border with about thirty minutes to go.
I took the opportunity to revisit the alms giving/receiving ceremony at dawn this morning and discovered the cunning plan behind the chaos I beheld that first morning. Now that I know my way around town better I got off the bus at an earlier point than previously and cut down the back alleys to a street that parallels the great seething mass. Ha ha, local residents lined the sidewalk complete with rice baskets, ready for the procession and not a camera in sight. This then is the secret, avoid the chaos on Sisavangvong Road, this is presumably where the City Fathers want the cameras to go, and go one street over, towards the Mekong. You will have the street to yourself, well apart from the residents and the monks. I hope some photos come out (do we still say that?) as the sight of that Saffron ribbon heading down the street, unhindered, was mesmerizing.
Onward to Siem Reap, the gateway to the largest religious building in the World, Angkor Wat. I was greeted on arrival at the airport by the hotel’s tuk tuk driver and we headed off on the 7 km drive into town. First impressions, it’s hot, it’s wet, it’s dusty, it’s noisy, it bustles, there is food, everywhere, it is amazingly inexpensive, it looks like it just fell down and is being rebuilt. I absolutely love it. Oh,and holiday makers sitting with their feet in fish tanks!

This seems to be the thing to do, a fish pedicure.

A fish pedicure. A tuk tuk ride from the hotel to the restaurant area is a dollar, after which you would be hard pressed to spend more than ten dollars for a meal. There is great shopping, I saw some very attractive silk pashminas. I want a hat and a bag to carry stuff around, like a shopping bag. So back to the market after completing this.
Up again before dawn tomorrow and spend the day with a tuk tuk driver and a guide book. See the sun come up, walk about, take photos, hope to understand why the complex was built and how it has survived all these centuries. It is the chronological twin of Chartres, Winchester, and other European cathedrals.
Sorry if I sounded a bit blue last evening but it was Valentine’s day and I had hardly spoke to a soul all day.
Better now.

7 responses to “Arrival in Siem Reap

  1. Sounds like you are really finding your feet in each new place. Sounds really exciting. Looking forward to your photos. Keep safe.

  2. Very cunning thinking to get an honest view of the alms procession – some would say as cunning as a fox what used to be Professor of Cunning at Oxford University but has moved on and is now working for the U.N. at the High Commission of International Cunning Planning!!

    Angkor Wat sounds incredible; as incredible as it is wonderful the picture book my mind creates of you touring cities with trusty tuk tuk drivers at your side!

    Keep the stories coming and looking forward to more photos

  3. Love your descriptions….keep it going on…we’re virtual travellers with you!

  4. Happy Wednesday (or Thursday is suppose!) sorry for the absence on the good old corporately high jacked holiday of love…busy busy busy as usual. Things are clearing up, easing up and movin up (on the great list!) you are so loved by many, even on the other side of the world… wow, I love that you discovered the great locals secret, truly an advanced traveller thing to do! Bravo! Hope the pictures come out onto the Internet as well. 🙂 I absolutely loved your description of seim something (err name blanking) it really sounds like you could have been describing burning man to the T!; without the wet part generally… 🙂 but I bet its a bit different than the playa. lol, fishtanks. Treat yourself to a petty eh!? Look forward to hearing about this massive building Ive never heard of.? Maybe we can Skype tomorrow eve (or mornin in Cambodia!) wow! I can’t imagine What life is like for you right now…hope you’re enjoying every up and down and strange moment that you will never be able to fully convey to anyone! •;~) love you dad. Xx xx

  5. Hi Tim-glad you are feeling better and less lonely. I just want to remind you that you can be lonely anywhere, even on Arroyo Avenue. I find that when I don’t talk with anybody all day, I too border on lonely. I love to hear about your descriptions and think about you every day as I pull into my driveway. I check in with a map of the region and it looks like you will be headed to Thailand soon. I’m wondering if this is part of your plan. Great Skyping with you the other day, incredible views of the streets, the dust, the people. Let’s do it again soon. Be safe and keep writing to all your friends and family and neighbors who love you!

  6. Back in London after a ‘no service’ break in the West Country. It’s a treat to catch up on your amazing travels. Hope you find some good company.

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