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Published: August 14th 2007
OK.. rather than update that last blog I figured that I would start fresh. Always a shame to lose everything that one has written. Cambodia continues to be an 'in your face' experience for all of us. Really, you often can't believe the things that you see... or maybe you just can't see becuz of all that sweat in your eyes. Yikes. Our arrival day here in Siem Reap was deceiving as the afternoon was a 'comfortable hot' with a breeze... leading us to believe that the days would not be as hot as expected. But NOOOOO. Not the case. Yesterday and today were killers by noon. We headed out each day as early as possible (which is not easy with 2 little ones... well, not so little I guess). We entice them with the words 'tuk tuk', as for them riding in one is the highlight of each day.
Our drive here from Phnom Penh was scenic... even moreso that the guidebooks lead you to believe. Flat and rural, but a great look at 'real life' here. Stilt houses and rice paddies. Though, crazy traffic as well. Kids thought that taxi was the coolest as he had a dvd
monitor in the dash, and with the press of one button it slid out from where the cd player was, and flipped open to present a nice little screen. From his dvd collections I determined that this was mostly used for karaoke purposes!! Only broke the journey up in once place... a town that I had read about that was nickamed Spiderville!! I had read that the local specialy of this town was grilled or roasted tarantulas... so this was a must see. We pulled into an informal truck stop where local buses could make a stop, and sure enough there they were..... literally hundreds if not thousands of them. Several ladies were walking around with trays of these hairy creatures... and offering them up for sale. The place was really a bit of a freak show to say the least... and you felt on edge the whole time. Not sure what the going rate was, but we didn't want to find out. Luca was all eyes but Riel stood behind Tordes or I for most of the visit. It was almost time to go when this older tourist grabbed one and bit off a huge chunk... at which point
Tordes shrieked!! It was crazy as you could hear him munch it... and he had bitten into the abdomen which was just full of gooey crap. The guy just smiled and mumbled something about crunchy chicken. At that point it was time to go... but not before I saw the true horror... large buckets of live tarantulas!! Then this girl started taking them out and pushing them towards me. I was convinced that she was going to throw one on me, as I had read that they do that for kicks. Go figure... here I am, the tourist snapping pics and not buying... so who knows... maybe they were pissed. Was not taking any chances and told the fam that was it and we were done. I think that Tordes was delighted.
The afternoon of our arrival was low key and easy... wandering and shopping... going everywhere in foot or in a tuk tuk. Kids love the tuk tuks, and telling them that we are going to ride one delights them to no end. Riel begs for them everytime we walk somewhere... and Luca always says "I want a Tuk tuk'. It is so funny. But, they are so
cheap it is hard not to ride them around.
In the mornings we head straight to the temples after breakfast and visit until we surrender to the heat (usually about 3-4 hours max)... then we eat / shop / swim / etc. Kids join us for about 1/2 the temple visits... and just sit in the shade of the tuk tuk for the other visits. I think that Luca is friends with all the drivers by now. He of course flirts with all the girls but is now tired of having his chin tickled and his cheeks squeezed. Locals and tourists all try to take their photos with him... or just photos of him. He seems tired of it now and occasionally tells them to go away... or he will hit them with his flute. Yes.. a little bamboo wooden flute that he just had to have.
Tuks tuks for a day cost us $10 - $12.... are comfortable and 1 can hold all of us. If it rains then the sides can be rolled down. It does rain every afternoon... massive downpour for 10-15 minutes... not much more. A point-2-point ride cost about 1 or 2 dollars max.
Tomorrow morning we will head back to the temples of Angkor... one last visit to see the remaining few that Tordes really wants to visit before our time here is up. As you can imagine, we don't get the true in-depth visit that one would without kids.. but we knew that would be the case before we came. But... we do manage to see a lot, and when they are drained then they just sit in the shade of the tuk tuk and wait for us. This place where we are staying is truly the best travel deal that I have even manage to secure. It is a stylish 5 star resort and spa.... and the cheapest place we are staying this trip. We even have 2 rooms... adjoining... yahoo. A door to close to remove ourselves from the noise. I swear, what we are paying probably does not even cover breakfast. Now wish that we had stayed here for a week!!! The town is not that busy, but this is low season.... lucky for us. The rain keeps some people away... not the heat... as it is always bloody hot here. Much more development than when I was last here about 6 years ago. It is a bit like Kathmandu, but is not just a backpacker haven. Quite unique in that it attracts the true budget traveler but also the high end tourists looking for all the frills. You can find them all here if you want, but can also get a comfortable bed for 5-10$ a night and eat well on the cheap. Ideal for the backpackers. Even flights here are cheap.
OK... all are probably asleep upstairs... and I should now go. The fruit bats have flown out from the trees across from the hotel, and the resident geckos (or echoes as Luca calls them) are dining on the insects being drawn to each light. I can now hear the squeak of the baby crocs in the lobby pool... Luca's best friend... and will retire to the a/c... and comfy white sheets...
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