after another 3 hours worth of sleep in the taxi from poipet to siem reap, we finally arrived in angelina jolie’s adopted hometown. it was an exhausting ride all in all but you can’t waste precious time sleeping when you should be out exploring another country. and so after a quick bath, we were all ready for another adventure.
one of the nice things about siem reap is that you can go biking around the city by renting a bicycle for US$2 a day. they even have this charity organization that rents out bicycles to tourists and the proceeds are used to fund educational programs for people living in the rural areas. but there are a lot of places where you can rent a bicycle there. i think most hotels and guesthouses rent out bicycles.
they say you don’t forget how to ride a bicycle. in my case, i had partial amnesia. because although i can balance myself fine (kind of), the problem is, i don’t know how to get off. like i have to crash myself either on the concrete floor or on a wall for me to be able to stop. but i think the guesthouse’s bicycles were just too big for me, that’s why. with a smaller one, i’ll be fine. my sister and her friend went biking, though. aleth and i took the tuk-tuk. (don’t you just love saying that last sentence? haha.)
lunch was at butterflies restaurant. i expected lots and lots and lots of butterflies but they were not really that many. and the garden wasn’t even that gorgoeus. because when i think of garden, i’m thinking beautifully landscaped designs of plants and flowers blooming in harmony. that wasn’t exactly the case. but the food was good, though. no amok for me from now on. that much i know.
strolled around the city during the afternoon. found this stall selling handmade khmer scarves. and when you’re in cambodia, you cannot not buy a kroma. because it’s an ancient cambodian fashion. which is why i am super glad aleth bought me one. i love it! nothing colorful for me, of course. i am forever the fashionably boring one.
funny, but the kroma is not really as popular among the city locals as it is among the tourists. did a little research and this is what i found:
“One reason why the kroma has lost its appeal may be attributed to its affiliation with the Khmer Rouge regime of the brutal communist leader Pol Pot,” Srey Yar Phout Savdy said. Between 1975 and 1979, Khmer Rouge soldiers ordered every Cambodian to wear a kroma throughout the day and night. People did not dare object to the fashion order, he said, adding that even today some people are reminded of Pol Pot’s cruelty when they see the colorful scarf.” (source)
the aimless walks around the mazelike restaurants and stores in the blocks where the old market is led us to some interesting finds. most of the boutiques in siem reap have really good interiors. i enjoyed seeing their creativity when it came to interior design but not so much their goods. spending in US$ was just too painful for me. lol. i did buy ram a bag and a coin purse, though (on sale!). it was our monthsary and the bag reminded me of him. all made in cambodia. $18 was enough to give me myocardial ischemia. but what the heck.
dinner was at this newly-opened restaurant called beaches. they had beach sand, comfortable lounge chairs, and colorful lamps. all the time i kept wondering why restaurants like this thrive in siem reap but not in cebu. i mean, the place is too close to the street in what seems to be a semi-residential area. they don’t even have a parking area. but tourists still go there. (in fairness to siem reap, their streets are not noisy or polluted or crowded. maybe that’s why their restaurants click.)
went back to the old market again after dinner. met this really cool artist with his paintings. i wanted to buy one (a very small one) but another $5 would just about aggravate the ischemia and give me a heart attack. so i just chatted him up. and bought a $3 scarf which looked sooo much like my pillow from the lady on the stall right next to his.
had ice cream again at the blue pumpkin somewhere near pub street. i love their white minimalist interiors too. as well as their ice cream. really makes you wanna come back for more!