Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Siam Reap, in the land of pajamas


The city of Siam Reap is a group of villages clustered around approximately 1000 temples of Angkor. The name Siam Reap means the defeat of the Siamese aka the Thai referring to the century old bloodbath.

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The Siam Reap airport was pretty much what I expected. The small hut-like building on the side of the airstrip managed to efficiently get everyone through passport control and my e-visa, printed out of my gmail, was legit. At the entrance, there was a mob of people standing around with signs and it took me a while to find the guy with my name. He lead me through a parking lot carrying my big bag to his tuk tuk, which is like a modern "carriage" towed by a motorbike.


I arrived at the "Golden Mango" guest house and was greeted by Julie and Jill who were screaming my name off the balcony "O-lee-a, O-lee-a". In comparison to all the hotels thus far, this was a mansion! The room was large, with 3 beds, clean towels, nice bathroom with shower accessories and air conditioning. All for $15.

I'd like to introduce Julie and Jill, the two Canadian girls that I traveled through Cambodia with. Here's Jill in a restaurant, in deep thought.

Here, Julie and I are enjoying our first Cambodian meal. I had rice with stir fried veggies and pork.

Of course the main attraction of Siam Reap is the Angkor temples, but we found a few things to do aside from that.

I finally got to try out the fish spa where fish remove any dead skin you have. I'm ticklish, so I lasted about 3 minutes in there. There was another lady who decided to try it out with me and after some chatting inbetween the giggles, it turned out that she's from Burbank. Small world.

We also went to get a massage after a long hot day of temple wandering. 1 hour massage cost $4. There was a peculiar sign though (Thanks guys, good to know).

The first night in Siam Reap, we had dinner at Karo restaurant which was recommended to us by a local. We were told that all tuk tuk drivers will know where it is. We grabbed a tuk tuk and asked him if he knew where Karo was and he said yes. He drove down the street and pulled over to ask someone. Cambodians have an annoying habit of agreeing with everything even if they don't know the answer to a question. No one seemed to actually know where the restaurant was. Eventually, we found it and the food was very yummy. Flipping through the long menu, I ran across a couple interesting pages. First of all, they pointed out what they do not serve and they also seemed to have invented a new drink called a "Block Russian."



On another night, we decided to try the "happy" pizza that I recalled hearing about from my cousin Anya years back. When the hotel owner inquired as to what our dinner plans were and we told him the happy pizza, he loudly exclaimed "oh, you want marijuana." At that point, we realized it's not a secret thing and whispering about it was unnecessary. We ordered a happy pizza which came sprinkled with some grassy bits that tasted very much as they should. However, I wasn't any happier than I would have been had I eaten Papa John's back home.

And last, but not least, I'd like to explain the title of this entry. One of the first things that I noticed on my way from the airport to the hotel is that pretty much all of the women were wearing pajamas. I figured, well, it's morning time so maybe they haven't changed yet. As the day progressed, pajamas remained. People were wearing pajamas all day long, at work, on motorbikes, laying around in hammocks, etc. I've come to a conclusion that it must be a fashion trend similar to the track suit trend (which still exists in glendale...heehee)

More photos can be found here: http://public.fotki.com/FierceKitten/travel/2010-atw/siem-reap/


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