schnuffichen (schnuffichen) wrote,

South-East Asia - Siem Reap (Cambodia)

June 21 (Monday): Siem Reap
  • museum
  • Old Market
  • cheap Mai Tai!
  • got screwed with food twice ("tourist price")
Well, that sounds like an exciting day now, doesn't it? Really, compared to the exhaustion of the day before we decided for a much calmer pace. The museum on the Angkor temples was quite impressive (in general and even more so given that this is a developing country) but, well, we had seen the temples before... ;)
Outside the museum we found a tuktuk driver who'd drive us to the market. Well, more like... he found us. And as it was so hot, we acted against our general rule "Opt for the person who bugs and jumps at you the least." He was nice (and cheap) enough for us to book him for the next day to go see a floating village.
The market was all you'd expect from a tourist market in this part of the world (which was surprisingly less so the case for outside of Cambodia). Crowded little stands were cramped in a dark hall, all of them selling basically the same kind of things (jewelry, bags, t-shirts) -- and as soon as you venture a quick look (or sometimes even without doing so), the vendor will run towards you, pull your shirt and attack with a flood of "hello mister. lookie lookie, mister. very nice, lady. cheap price just for you, lady. i have many colors, sir. very nice, sir."
And as you can see on that list up there, we got to drink cheap cocktails -- and either their rum is much stronger than what I'm used to or the sun was just too damn hot. ;)
Also, we had to get to know the two tier price system in Cambodia. Remember the 25 cents food from the previous day? Well, today it was $3 US. Only for Westerners, of course -- how else would any Cambodian be able to afford to eat out? (This was btw mainly a Cambodian problem. While for instance in Burma pretty much everything else is more expensive for white people, at least the essentials such as food have the same price.)

June 22 (Tuesday): Siem Reap
  • floating village + countryside by tuktuk
  • cheap Gin Fizz + "Plsnters Psnch"
  • night market
As mentioned earlier we had hired a tuktuk driver for half the day to drive us to a floating village. There are several of them around the region. For 2/3 of the year they are quite normal villages, except for that all houses are built on (more or less massive) stilts. During the monsoon period it rains too much for the water to seep away or evaporate, so it becomes a "floating village" and people move around in boats. Sadly, this has become a tourist thing now, so getting there by boat cost us $25 US (and I know I'm complaining about peanuts here but... really... seeing how much things cost here, this money is just ridiculous). I hadn't really wanted to pay this much but Ry seemed intrigued and we had paid our tuktuk driver for half the day anyway.
The village itself was... well, cool to look at, as you can see. Of course they brought us to a souvenir shop first and when we didn't want to donate money "for the children" (yeah, right), we were brought back to place where the boat had picked us up without giving us a chance to have a closer look at the buildings... oh well.
Luckily our tuktuk driver was a really nice guy and we talked a lot with him. He offered to show us a bit more of the countryside and his home. Of course, his main incentive was for us to eat at his sister's place but you could tell that he was proud of his country and I really fell in love with rural Cambodia. As little as I want to live there (Cambodia was really my least favorite country of the ones we saw), I loved all the green-ness, something I missed in other places.
I don't remember much of the night market, just that it was exactly that. A market at night. Presumably very touristy. ;)

Pictures can be found here.
Tags: trips
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