Sunday, July 22, 2012

first night, siem reap and a headache

at long last i'm putting down into words how siem reap had me during our scrimpy stay and yet, it was something remarkable on my imaginary going-away-to-places board. i have just realized that travel is such a strong word, loosely used in conversations insinuating self-imposition and transcendence above the average. but it's just me. i may have used the word from time to time but i would like to reserve the word for the people out there who are doing travel beyond the photos; but for the real experience in a different place.

as for me, i'm not even halfway to that nor i seek to be entirely in that direction. wherever life takes me, i'm just writing it down the best that i'm capable of and as frequent as i can.

oops. this is one of the times that i'm overly melodramatic when there are a few drama happening all at once in my life.

or maybe, my first night in siem reap had somehow evoked this fuzzy emotional outburst. whichever is the case.

dusk had already settled in siem reap when our tenacious van made its way in this small roundabout and with this interesting statue, beckoning us towards the gateway of the angkor region.

i know that i have horrible photos in this post and i'm even blowing it up into a proportion where its image noise would surely bother any enthusiast and expert. anyhow, i still love my point and shoot even if i have moved on to a slightly better one.

when my brother, me and eva were dropped off at the siem reap branch office of our van, i was quite surprised when our would-be tuktuk driver for our entire stay recognized my brother and greeted him in such a friendly gesture. like they both knew each other for long! well, it turned out that he was the brother of my brother's tuktuk driver during his stay. still follow me? haha

this was my brother at the airport during our send off, carrying his monolithic camera and wearing a new pair of replica but sturdy-looking crocs, after his shoes gave up during his temple run around the angkor. he made sort of quite an extraordinary relationship with his tuktuk driver who volunteered to drive him to have his shoes repaired. but being stingy which obviously runs in the blood, my brother refused the 5USD charge and opted to buy this spanking new pair of sandals instead. his old pair of shoes was still ok except its soles and we gave them to the woman and daughter in phnom penh who were scavenging the garbage for plastic bottles. was it being rude? i hope not.

a stark contrast from phnom penh, siem reap at night was buzzing with life and the city center was filled with people, mostly tourists hanging out in the pub street, eating in the food stalls along the streets, buying souvenirs in the night markets (yes there were quite a number) and just doing about anything.

eva and i walked a bit around the city center, following the neon lights of a night market signage and we came upon this night market which mainly had stalls for arts and crafts.

we saw these talented trio outside the market and i already knew beforehand that these men were land mine victims. i just think that war is one of the most hideous things men ever created. it's almost always the common people and the innocent who suffer.

we tried hard in figuring out the welcome essay but in the end, we deduced it to be a warm welcome to their fish spa.

painting in siem reap seems to be a serious business as there a lot of these stalls displaying paintings some of which depict life in cambodia, that stood still in a canvas.

after we went around the market and in the small stalls along the narrow streets, we still had not found the pair of sturdy-looking shoes or sandals that could withstand our turn in the angkor temples the following day. it was eva who was in need, more than me because i had faith in my amost 3-year-old pair of flip flops. we, however bought the comfy cambodia pants in the end and they proved to be the best fit for the weather.

the heat inside the van during our commute to siem reap, had eventually taken a toll on me as we hung out for a while in the temple bar at the pub street. the space seemed to be more constricted than my comfort and i was then in dire need of fresh air to alleviate my headache.

the coconut milkshake that the waiter mistakenly gave us instead of the pineapple, didn't help at all. the milkshake tasted like it came from an old coconut which lacked the sweetness and it wasn't tender like the young coconut would be. but the khmer green salad with strips of chicken made me a bit happy. my headache overpowered my senses that i didn't even care how my photos would turn out. of course, there were also the ever-present spring rolls!

i was only able to take notice of the establishment's columns with these intricate carvings in this photo. yes, the place was poorly lit because that's supposed to be like in a bar. i know. i'm not sure though, if that necessarily includes a flying cockroach.

as for my headache, a much-needed cold shower did the trick and my head retained its cool with the help of the air-conditioning in our room. in the morning, i was beaming in vigor and sure was ready for the temples!


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