Saturday, September 12, 2015
Siem Reap I: Dust, Skin, Sweat
Months and months ago, KH tried to convince me to go on a holiday to Cambodia. To be honest, I wasn't thrilled. In my mind's eye, I could already see "stone, stone, stone, temples, temples, temples, ruins, ruins, ruins". I replied "No". He went ahead with his plan anyway by jio-ing Moonlight Piggy. However, she FFK-ed in the end because the trip came too close after her London trip. KH came back to me and I said "Yes". I wasn't busy at work and it would be a great opportunity to spend time with him regardless of "stone, stone, stone, temples, temples, temples, ruins, ruins, ruins". Bought my flight tickets one month before the departure date and it cost about MYR500. I had just started working on Tuesday after the long Raya weekend and I flew on Wednesday. Lovely. On Wednesday morning, KH's dad dropped him at my place and we took a cab together. It was actually his first trip from KLIA2. Had his first experience trudging from immigration to Gate P. While waiting to board, we lepak-ed at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Fried chicken with a McCafe flat white. Found the spicy to be too spicy and the mild to be too mild. Guess I'm hard to please. At the gate, I purposely sat opposite a hunky European. I shall share his photos in a dedicated post as I don't want to make this berjela-jela! The flight to Siem Reap was smooth with little turbulence. The only turbulence came from KH giving me surprise nipple tweaks!
On our descent into Siem Reap International Airport, one could see that the terrain is mostly flat. The airports pretty small and no sky bridge too, so have to walk on the tarmac. Best first taste of the Cambodian heat. The immigration hall looked quite nifty from a recent renovation. Less than 50 metres from the counters is baggage claim. Our hotel arranged for pickup from the airport. Saw KH's name on a piece of A4 paper and followed the fella to the parking lot where our ....... tuk-tuk was waiting for us. Hehe. The driver put our luggage at the front, unfastened. But it was safe cause the tuk-tuk couldn't go very fast anyway. A perfect way to take in the sights and the sounds with the wind in your hair and the dust in your face. Yes, the place is super dusty. For some reason, mounds of dirt and dust are found at every corner. And when the wind blows, you get a nice dust shower. If you're sensitive to this, do remember to bring face masks on your trip there.
The airport ain't too far from town so it didn't take too long even for the tuk-tuk. We were dropped off at Landing Point Villa Hotel deep inside a residential area off Wat Bo Road. Couldn't make heads or tails of the nameless roads. Reminded me of metro Jakarta. A small place converted from a large detached house with a small pool at the side. No more than twenty rooms there. Checked in with an iPad and we were given cold towels and welcome drinks. Our room was at one corner of the ground floor past a row mini statues and a Tua Peh Kong altar. The room was large enough to fit a queen sized bed and a single bed with space to spare for bath tub! And the garden view was basically a smoking area with two chairs facing the outer wall. Can't even have sex there cause one can peek in from the outside.
Our first order of business was to snog, unpack and wash the sweat off our backs before heading to the small pool. Interestingly, it was salt water pool. Definitely not big enough for laps (I remembered to pack two pair of swim trunks but forgot my goggles!), but it was quiet enough for us to kiss and be naughty. Luckily we wore our N2N trunks cause those had pouches with room for 'growth'. Haha. Unfortunately things didn't escalate to pool sex. When it was time for dinner, we got out and took another shower. I'll use the stereotyped 'one thing led to another' and we ended up having a shower skank. Rare for KH to indulge me in that.
Somehow we found the energy to walk out to dinner after that. The guy at the front desk recommended that we eat the Viroth's. While on the streets, one can't help but notice Siem Reap's fondness for rubbish bins made out of recycled tyres, square-ish bricks with holes in the middle and star-shaped lanterns that were left over from their new year celebrations in April. Found the restaurant easily enough and was surprised that it looked so atas. A garden sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of Wat Bo Road. Al fresco dining in a very low light condition. Luckily we did not need extra light when we ordered, but the later customers were provided with portable LED lamps. Mains averaged at USD5. KH went for the famous amok fish and stewed pork in palm sugar with mango salad. Both dishes were quite yummy in ngam-ngam ho portions.
Our post-dinner entertainment was Phare, the Cambodian circus. The circus is part of a social programme to provide employment to Cambodian youth from difficult socio-economic backgrounds and provide income to sustain their parent organization Phare Ponleu Selpak NGO school where they teach performance arts, acrobatics and visual arts. Took us quite a while to get to the circus. Not exactly the Big Top. Found it at the side of a road with no street lights. :S. The ticket came with complimentary popcorn or bottled water. On the way in, we were given plastic fans. Even with that and the arrays of electric fans, the interior was quite stuffy. By the time we got in, it was already 70% full, so the choice seats were all taken up. KH and I sat behind the roneat ek (Cambodian xylophone) player. Seemed like an eternity of fanning ourselves before the show began. But it was worth the wait. Topless, sweaty, lean and athletic Cambodian guys showing off their skills. Basically a mixture of acrobatics and story-telling. At times it was a little too arty-farty (not Cirque du Soleil style la) and it just felt draggy. At the end of the show, we were give a chance to donate money to the cause, chat and take pictures with the performers. I zoomed in on one of my favourites and got KH to snap a pic for me! Gembiranya! After all that excitement, we took a tuk-tuk back to the hotel...