Friday, October 27, 2006
Day Two Siem Reap
I woke early to find the monks already begging for food. They'd walk door to door and they would be given gifts of food in a daily ritual. I walked further up our road and found what looked like a nunnery. All of the women were dressed in white standing around a large richly ornate building, while music was being played somewhere in the yard. Banners were stung around between the buildings and it look like some sort of celebration.
It still being very early, I started walking towards the river and away from the hustle of the small cars and motorbikes darting off to work. Walking the streets at this time of day can be challenging, yet it's amazing we haven't see an accident with the congestion and speed they travel at.
I stopped at a small roadside vendor by the river and had a coffee and noodles, while watching people go about their daily business and children off to school. I walked further along the river and finding that nature was calling, I found a toilet and quickly learned how the cleaning up goes when there is no toilet paper. Other than hotels and airports, most facilities are pretty sparce. It consists of a hole in the ground for squatting and often you rinse out the bowl with a cup found in a bowl of water. Cleaning you is even more interesting. The use of the left hand does most of the work of the paper with help from a spray, if there is one, that's conveniently place beside you. Testing the pressure before using is suggested unless you are in need of an enima.
I arrived back at our guest house and found the group enjoying coffee or tea before we rented bike to tour the city. We visited the old market place first. It was a huge complex of small shops selling everything from buddha's to live fish. The food area was most interesting watching the vendors keeping the fish alive in shallow trays. They'd have their feet in about 2 inches of water and would accossionally splash water on them, as they wiggled back and forth.
Everyone was pushing their wares as the cheapest, but haggling was the order of the day. Most things could be had for half to two-thirds the asking price. US $ or Thai Bhatt are accepted and most speak enough english to understand us. Oozing seemed to be best at getting the most for less, or is he just cheap??
It was lunch so we went to a small shop on the main street. All of the people we've met have been friendly, but the shop owners were super. Helping us out with the language and different foods. We then traveled along the river to a small village along a winding dirt road. The houses were not more than shacks on sticks with grass roofs. Most had some tarp or other material to stop rain from falling through holes, but eveyone was cheerful despite the poverty.
We arrived back at the guest house to pack for the ride to the airport. The tuk tuk quickly made there way along airport road and shortly afterward we said fairwell to Cambodia.
Posted by Bill Matsinger at 6:03 PM