Siem Reap and the Temples of Dorm: Part 1

I was very excited to be en route to Siem Reap as it’s the base from where I could get to see the infamous Angkor Wat, Bayon and the remnants of the ancient civilisation that once resided there.

When I arrived I saw a large group of tuk–tuk drivers ready to ascend upon the bus to I waited until everyone got off so I wasn’t stifled with so many drivers. Luckily the Grab app was my saviour so I headed off to meet my driver and a fair price!

Unfortunately the hostel I chose wasn’t the best and it was riddled with mosquitoes that the owner did nothing about, not a single mosquito coil anywhere! He also expected me to pay a $2 room cleaning fee that was slyly added onto my booking fee in the small print. I wasn’t impressed, made it clear that I wasn’t paying to have a room cleaned for my arrival but I paid for a blanket for the night — another no, no! In the morning, as I was booking another hostel, I met two German guys who I’d met in Phnom Penh and they were doing the same due to the crapness of the place.

As luck would have it, I moved to a cool family ran hostel in the centre of Siem Reap — better than the previous which was 2Km away in a rather poor area. Regarding the previous place, it was clear they had money as their home was massive with a very nice car, unfortunately it looked as though greed had got the better of them rather than providing a good place — the first time I’d seen this!

Time for some changes.

I’d been speaking to my good friend Anna back home and I was reminded to let go a little so I finally bought some loud shirts instead of adorning my usual trekking gear.

Anna told me tales of when she was in Asia and her and Si had hired a moped to zip around — something I really wanted to do but unfortunately I don’t know how! In typical ‘me’ fashion I got researching mopeds and scooters and discovered that an automatic bike is very easy to ride. Taking my first baby steps I was lucky to have two electric bike companies just around the corner from the new hostel and I went for it! Thaaaaaaaaaaanks Annaaaaaa! 👍🏼

Pure unadulterated POWER!

The centre of Siem Reap is full on tourist driven. Unlike Thailand I found the Cambodian people pulled this off with taste and bar one time where I was offered a ‘massage’ of a rather personal nature, I wasn’t put off. Unfortunately the lady ‘on offer’ was quite attractive and luckily my resolve kicked in to save my day … among other things.

I walk around everywhere, and I mean everywhere. I love to investigate places and side streets for those awesome nuggets that most miss. Having the bike was so much better so I rode all over in search of a good place to eat, even taking the bike 12Km out of town down a highway one evening just because … Brilliant!

Before I’d hired the bike and during one of my wanders, I stumbled across a local family singing karaoke on a rather large and loud system they had among their shack homes behind one of the town markets. After being beckoned to join them, I took the offer and joined in what turned out to be their Chinese New Year celebrations!

Everyone was drinking and a beer was forced into my hand together with the offer of food which unfortunately was a charred duck complete with head covered in too many flies for my liking. Cunningly avoiding the food, I found it a challenge to avoid the advances of their son who was obviously gay and kept shifting faaaaar too close for my liking! (Note my comfortable smile in the photo above!) 😀

“… Do you dance? — Yes. Do you go clubs — Sometimes. Do you want to go dancing in that club (points to club across the river) — No. ”

After many pushes I ended up singing. I chose a well known Elvis song which I thought would be ok … until … once I started singing everyone seemed to switch off, doing heir nails or whatever! Embarrassed but holding my corner I finished the song and handed the mic to one of the others where more beers were passed around and everyone seemed to come alive again!

ABOVE: Why didn’t she have that look when I was singing?!

Now I know what you’re thinking, and no, my voice isn’t ‘that’ bad! It was just the music they knew was so different and I’d forgotten that people we know aren’t known in other parts of the world. Oi! I said it wasn’t my voice OK!!! 😄

Unfortunately the son had to spend another night dancing alone as I found my opportunity to bid them all farewell and head back into town to laugh at the entire scenario.

Next: Temples, temples and my love of bikes.

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