Siem Reap – It’s a wonderful place
We have landed in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Yesterday was a fantastic start to our Cambodia adventures. We were picked up by our hotel and met our wonderful driver and guide, “Tom” (obviously not his real name, but he says that his nickname is Tom). He is a character and had my parents laughing the whole drive to the hotel, while also explaining a bit about how Siem Reap has developed in the past 10 years. We drove by lots and lots of flooding. As we flew in, I saw that the countryside is absolutely drowned. There is terrible flooding all around Siem Reap and it reminded me of how important it is that we will be building houses, at the end of this week, that sit above the water.
Our hotel (The Mulberry) is not too far from the main part of town near Pub Street and the Night Market. It is down a quiet lane with family houses lining the small street. We arrived and were greeted very warmly by everyone that works at the hotel. Even the cleaning staff were waving at us and saying hello. I love boutique oasis-style hotels. Absolutely gorgeous. We were then shown to our rooms. The hotel really went all out for Mom and Dad as I had mentioned that they were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary via email weeks ago. They have been upgraded to the suite that is enormous. They also delivered a lovely bottle of New Zealand wine in celebration of their anniversary and decorated their bed with flowers (all complimentary!!). So we sat on the balcony enjoying a short sunset, watching the storm clouds come in and celebrating their 40 years together. Then we ordered another bottle of wine J
After the rain passed by, we decided to head out for some food and check out the town. The Siem Reap I remember visiting years ago was that of a small town. It is no longer small. Nor is it much of a “town”. It has really changed and tourism has really taken a bite out of the quaint place I remember it to be. However, despite the bright lights and music pumping from certain places, I was still able to find some things that reminded me of how it once was, and share that with my family. We decided to avoid the throngs of tourists on Pub Street and head to another quieter street lined with restaurants and shops, but with a much more down to earth atmosphere. We decided on a Khmer BBQ restaurant that allowed you to cook your own food at the table. It wasn’t much in the way of “traditional” food (as there seems to be some form of the hot pot or BBQ in most Asian cultures), but the food was delicious and it was fun to do together. We also tried crocodile (which is readily available in Cambodia near the water). Tastes like chicken! No, really it is a white meat and has a lighter texture than chicken and has a very mildly fishy taste. Talk about risk-takers on their first night in Cambodia!
After all that croc, it was then time for bed. We are just getting up to start our day of temple sightseeing with our new friend Tom. I am looking forward to seeing the temples from a new perspective and watching the looks on G & P’s faces as they see how amazing a sight the temples are to behold.