Friday, April 15, 2011

Angkor Wat, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Khmer etc. 3

(continuation : Angkor Wat, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Khmer etc. 2 and Angkor Wat, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Khmer etc. 1)

Where have we left ? Oh yeah, we went to our hotel after the awesome tour of the Khmer Ancient civilization. Then we had to prepare for some walk and night surf of Siem Reap central as we were invited by Helia, the Australian we met, to some sort of fun chat and ll of the couch surfer people. We had an hour to prepare and we met at the hotel lobby. After some few sms exchange, Helia led the way going to the rendezvous.

We met some couch surfer from the US, Australia and someone from Poland, I think. I forgot where in Europe, actually, but she looks like the mature looking version of Dakota Fanning. There we saw the friendly and chatty British couple, Tony and Jill, also dining at the restaurant. We then seated a few tables away from the British couple after some his-and-hellos. We were then introduced and shook hands with the couch surfer people. It was a night of cultural performance by the restaurant, a night of sharing experiences and interests and a night of I guess strangers connecting each other to become acquaintances or maybe friends. It was a bit of fun talking but I was and I think same goes for Olga, were a bit hesitant on some topics. Personally I am not that chatty to strangers but for socializing, I make some ways to make it happen, but yeah a bit hesitant, still.

After the couch surfer meet-up, we went to the night market and we ate ice cream. Helia decided to go ahead but then we wanted to stay to check some pubs for a couple of drinks. So, we were back to Pub Street and I had a can of Angkor the local beer, and Kay was having a glass of wine. Oh it was a very relaxing night, plainly talking and munching some chips and watching rowdy passersby. After we finished the drinks, we headed back to our hotel. It was already late in the evening.

The next morning, we were scheduled to go to the floating village. It was a short trip and we have booked Bud, our tuk-tuk driver, in going to the river. When we arrived at the river dock, we then proceeded to getting tickets for 20USD each, which was quite expensive for the place. Well it's a touristy area so that explains it but the place was not what it looks like to begin with. Anyway, we get on to our motorized boat which looks weird I guess, because the propeller was protruding outside of the boat which as really visible at the back of the boat. So, good luck to those who might be ran over by the boat or whatever it is. The journey to the village was not that long, and as advertised by the boat captain, we would be going to the school, to the fish and crocodile farm but prior to that, they are bringing us to the schools supplies store for the kids in the floating school. It was way of helping the kids according to the boat guide. We bought pencils after the floating store attendant explained things. There was this mistrust with the way she spoke her terms of helping the school children as the food and supplies were ridiculously expensive. So we just bought a set of pencils and since the pencils looks used, we marked them. If we knew that it was such a situation there, we would have bought it in the city proper and label it accordingly. We feel that there was some kind of exploitation in the area. Anyway, enough of the dramatic commentary, so yeah, we rode the boat again to go to the school. We saw there some children playing and having fun, unlike some children near the temple where they were selling some goods. We saw some noisy class conducted. After giving the pencils to the teacher, we then went back to our boat and then they brought us to the farm. There were fish and crocodiles but not really that exciting. It was warm and hot and the food they were selling was really expensive. I don't think I would have to recommend the place and if you want to help, it's better to channel it to some valid charity organizations who knew the drift in this kind of business. Sadly, according to a Filipino friend based in the UK, the government is playing some kind of entertainment of the village's plight. At some degree, I agreed with her, and I have to be reminded that it is also happening in my country in minuscule and subtle way, but Cambodia was worse I've seen and I think it's happening all over the world done by corrupt individuals, governments and capitalists. It was bit drama and we were tourists looking to have some fun and to relax so we went to our own state of dream lands and so we finished the tour and decided to go back to the mainland. The guide made the trip interesting as he asked me to try driving the boat. It was scary but I want to try it so I jumped to the maneuver and we sailed towards the dock. It was scary at first but later on it went so much fun which drew some smiles in my face and too bad some scare to Olga and Kay. I had to have the boat captain take over as when we were about to enter the mouth where the path going to the dock was, there were some boats and they were bigger, cruising the opposite side, so it was a bit dangerous already. When we reached the dock safely, we gave 2USD as tip. We washed up and needed a bio break so we immediately searched for the toilet area. Then we looked for Bud and then asked him to bring us to a restaurant suggested by the travel magazine. We had some local food there and as usual the local food was sweet which was not really that appealing to us. Anyway we still enjoyed the food simply because we were hungry. After that late lunch, we walked our way to the city. We again, when Olga and I saw the mango vendor, we bought some and eat it the street way I guess. We also went to the new Siem Reap market and shop some goodies. We wanted to shop more so we decided to go to the Old Market. After the shopping, we went back to our hotel to fix ourselves for another night out. After that, we found ourselves back at the Pub Street. We ate at this two storey western restaurant and we ate a lot, fattening ourselves in the process. We were again, talking endlessly of a lot of things, family, work, and other accounts in our lives. Well mostly centered on personal adventures. After that, we checkout to have some few shops and also some drinks, then called the it a night as we were a bit exhausted as well from the long walks we took.

The next day was the last, so we woke up late. It was checkout time in the hotel at around 12 so we managed to leave our belongings at the reception and we went out to have some nice meal. We ended at the NYDC restaurant which was kind of interesting because they are non profit so by that, they give their profits to some worthy cause which was kind of interesting. After the meal, we headed back to our hotel to get our stuff and we decided to go to the airport. But prior to that we also checked the arts and craft on our way to the hotel.

Going to the airport was a good all thirty minutes and when boarding time came, we bid our good byes to Cambodia.

It was such a great experience all in all and an eye opener as well. Hope things will get better in Cambodia ....