Going with the flow

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February 14th 2011
Published: February 18th 2011
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$7 Room$7 Room$7 Room

Add a chair or two, tidy up the paintwork and you pretty much get yourself a $65 room!
Gosh, so early in the trip and already I am behind with the blog. Really must try harder. Am still in Siem Reap as I write this and plan on remaining here for another few days yet (hmmmm, really must let the guesthouse know of this plan or they will throw me out Friday) but enough of the future, lets back track a little shall we...

Arrived in Siem Reap 7:50am Monday morning, 1st plan of action was to find a guest house. Not so hard (I thought) as I had a few ideas of where would be good. Had swithered over booking before I left but on this trip I am holding firmly to the "this, or something better" philosphy and so booking is not allowed.

Seemed to go well enough at first, there is a fixed price sysytem for transport at the airport so no fear of being ripped off. I booked a moto, advised him of my destination and off we went. I must admit I had a sneeking suspicion that the hotel I was dropped off at was not infact the one I had asked for but, in the absence of any glaring signs to
My First Cambodian MealMy First Cambodian MealMy First Cambodian Meal

Believe it or not that orange drink is actually iced green tea with lemon - who'd have guessed!
the contrary, I took it on trust and asked to view a room. Very nice it was too. Until I asked the price. Eeek.

Now, I'd like for you to hazzard a guess here, go on, pick a number, any number....

OK, so let me give you the same information my driver had.
1) The most expensive, all singing, all dancing single room at my chosen GH was $8 per night.
2) I'd chosen a moto at $2 rather than a car at $7 (price over comfort here) for the ride into town
3) When asked my max budget per night I'd clearly stated $10.

So, given all of the above you can imagine my horror when I heard the prices this hotel wanted. What was your guess? anywhere near $65?...

yep, $65 for one night - that's more than two months wages for many people out here (and way more than my total daily budget, let alone accomodation budget). Quite clearly my driver was bonkers. At a loss as to how to procede I gave two rooms (oh yes, in for a pound and all that) a thorough once over, blithely announced I had another few hotels to check out yet, I may well be back (not this side of my paycheck I can tell you) and took my leave.

Trying to get my driver to take me where I wanted to go was no mean feet, there were a further 2 illicit stops before I made it. This time I was more canny and asked the price of the rooms before even alighting from the moto - same, same - began to wonder if my driver was in possession of all his faculties for I could not have been clearer about my budget, and I reiterated it at every stop. Anyhow, made it at last to where I wanted to be. Hurrah! Found out they'd just let their last room 5 minutes ago. Boo!

For some reason this news resulted in a very smug moto driver, clearly he did not comprehend the full facts of the situation. So, off we set once more. One abortive stop at Green Town (place I'd been stranded at during the floods previously) where moto driver was most upset at my refusal to look round as, he quite rightly stated, it was within (at last) my alloted budget. I think at this point the he gave up and simply asked me where to, I plucked a name at random and finally got my self a room at 10am. YAY!

The look on the drivers face was priceless when I handed over a mere $2 for the trip. "But we come so far" he bemoaned, and indeed we had, however I remined him that much of that distance was down to his poor ability to take instruction and he left with no more in his pocket. I do feel guilty about that as it is a daily struggle for many people here and I don't like to think of him making a loss on the journey. However, it wouldn't do to encourage such shenanigans and hopefully he'll take his next fare to where they ask, and finding them grateful not to get the run around will manage to engage their services for the ubiquitous temple run.

Very much like my GH, it's so laid back it's practically horizontal. No fear of the hard sell here, if I want something I simply prod someone awake and ask. Perfect!

The rest of the day was spent reaquainting myself with the town. I'd forgoten many things:

The scary traffic (who cares which side of the road you drive on, at least you're on the road!)
The sad pitying looks when I announce that I am "only one" (how could I forget that lol)
The community spirit
The focus on family (hence the horror that I am unmarried at my age)
The sheer unadulterated joy of a good Beef Lok Lak
The joy of getting on a moto and finding out he has no idea wher your chosen destination is - once you are the other side of town!


It is good to be back.

Day two was much the same, I arranged a few stupidly expensive trips and a few more reasonable trips. The resonable trips are done and dusted (and very much enjoyed) the heart breakingly expensive trips begin tomorrow. They'd better be good!


21st February 2011

well Jen i understand your guilt at moto man, but he was giving you the runaround. so well done you, you have got a pair...hmmm photos pleeeeese. lol xx

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