Local Life – We are getting to be well known around Siem Reap, and I feel that I am almost living like a local here. I have my own special market lady who expects me to buy mangoes at the market every afternoon. She usually sets aside some special, ripe ones for me and sometimes includes another fruit treat in my bag. Another family eagerly waits for us to come to their food stall every night. Their little boy chases us on our bicycles until we pull over and sit down for a hot bowl of noodle soup. We tend to eat in the street stalls along the main drag of downtown. Meals are cheap, only 50 cents, and oh so yummy.
Further along the main drag in Siem Reap, there are a handful of actual sit down restaurants, all of which have signs that claim they don’t serve dog, cat, rat, or worm. Signs proclaim, “Tourist Friendly”, “Easy on Tourist Stomach,” “Clean Food!” I haven’t gotten sick yet, so I’m guessing their claims are true.
We met up with two fun English guys whom we bumped into both in Thailand and in Laos, further proof that people tend to travel along a “backpacker’s path”. They hung out with us for a couple of days, keeping us entertained. We spent one afternoon biking out to the only free pool in Siem Reap – 15 km out of town and later enjoyed happy hour at a local pub. We spent the rest of the night at the town’s biggest night club- the Martini Club. Apparently, we don’t dance properly. Several times during the night we were pulled aside and shown the “proper” way to dance – simply walking in a circle, hardly moving our lower bodies at all, but waving our arms in front of us. We put up with that for awhile until the DJ played some real music. I think they were American songs that were translated into the Khmer language, but they sounded better than the elevator music they were playing beforehand.
On a side note – whenever we pass a gas station along the road, I can’t help but giggle. These “gas stations” are usually simple wooden stands or a broken and taped together table. On top of the table are liter and two liter bottles of gasoline, usually left over coke bottles do the trick. A moto driver just pulls over and the little lady empties the coke bottle/gasoline, takes the money, and waves him on his way. Such a simple way of doing things. Welcome to the easy life!