My Last Day in
In Siem Reap.
Getting ready for the boat race.
In the center of Siem Reap.
November 2, 2006
Ahh… A day to do no sightseeing. All I was setting out to do was to have an enjoyable time.
On my first day, I passed a sign for a ‘Massage by the Blind’. Today I was feeling the urge to test it out and see what it was all about.
I went to the place and there was a blind woman there. I assumed she was the one who was giving the massages. But then I inquired as to
the price of the massage. She then called for somebody from upstairs. Coming down the stairs was a blind man…a big blind man with only
shorts on. I asked how much it would be and he told me about the two different prices: one for a fan in the room; the other for an air-
conditioned room. Because the massage in the A/C room was more than the other massage places in the center of town, I decided against
having a ‘Massage by the Blind’. The thought of being in a fanned room and having his sweaty man-boobs make contact with my body was
making me a bit ill on the spot…
I proceeded into town and went into a place on the main street for a full-body massage – Khmer style. This was different from other
massages I have had. He focused mostly on my feet and legs (which was nice as they needed the extra TLC). He did some fun chopping
and snapping motions and put me into some yoga-esque poses. He spent quite some time massaging (it actually felt a little bit like groping)
my inner thighs and my upper arms. I was just assuming this was due to the fact that he doesn’t see fat pockets like that on many people
out here. He was probably taking advantage of the situation due to curiosity. Not sure.
I spent a good chunk of time strolling around Siem Reap. It is nearly impossible to stay even remotely clean while walking around here as
dust flies up all over the place. The only thing of importance to me was to keep my sunglasses on to keep the dirt out of my face and to not
open my mouth.
I also must say that the river in Siem Reap is quite a sight. I felt like I could catch a disease just by looking at it, let alone touching it. The
color was similar to a watery light-brown mud. And sadly, this is what the kids and people out here would use to bathe.
I learned that there is a holiday this weekend called the ‘Water Festival’. I don’t know much about it except that it revolves around boat
races. It was great seeing the excitement in the air while people were getting their boats ready for this. Initially I thought this was only in
Siem Reap but I have since learned that it is throughout Cambodia and I will get to watch the festivities while I am in Phnom Penh.
I admit I ducked out of the ‘third world’ for a bit when I went to the Hotel de la Paix for afternoon tea. There was no way a night there
would fit into my travel budget…but a couple hours of relaxing there would be a nice rejuvenator. Well, I didn’t quite need a ‘rejuvenator’
for my day as all I had really done up tp that point was get a massage and wander around town. But everybody needs to unwind now and
then…and this was a good place to do it.
When dinner time rolled around, I went to a place that oozed some French charm called Carnets d’Asie. I was clueless as to how similar
Khmer food is to my much-beloved Vietnamese food. Obviously it makes sense considering they are neighbors. But for some reason the
word ‘Khmer’ just doesn’t strike up visions of summer rolls with shrimp or light coconut curry sauces in my mind. I sat in a beautiful
garden that would have been oh-so-romantic had I had someone there to share the moment with. I would say farewell to Siem Reap with
a couple glasses of Chardonnay, a banana leaf and squash blossom salad and some summer rolls.
Before I had the motorbike take me home, I had him make a pitstop at the Angkor Market. It was time to pick up a Diet A&W Cream Soda
and a Diet Dr. Pepper for the road tomorrow. After all, who knows when the next time I will find such products?
And now it is time for the dreaded task of packing…