Enjoying Siem Reap's Vibe Again


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January 22nd 2015
Published: January 23rd 2015
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Sweeping Up The LeavesSweeping Up The LeavesSweeping Up The Leaves

Everyday these girls use their grass brooms to sweep up leaves along the banks of the river.
This morning (Wednesday) I decided to take a closer look at Psar Leu Market, a local produce market, which still remains largely undiscovered by tourists. It's located on National Road 6, the main highway between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. It's quite a walk from Horizons but I ambled along and got there eventually.

Road works are in progress, it seems the road is being widened. No detours or work place health and safety regulations enforced here. The traffic swerves around the heavy machinery and keeps on going! Outside Psar Leu the machinery was hard at it, digging an enormous hole and piling up the dirt to lay underground piping. Utter chaos reined.....hundreds of motor scooters parked outside, people and produce going in all directions!

Psar Leu is a sprawling covered workaday market buzzing with locals going about their daily business. You can buy almost anything here from the fresh herbs you need to prepare dinner to a 'knock-off' handbag. It's a fascinating labyrinth of passages but I found the fresh produce sections the most interesting of all. It's not everywhere you can watch a stall holder skin a frog then aptly chop it's feet off with a meat
A Work In ProgressA Work In ProgressA Work In Progress

National Road 6 is undergoing roadworks..
cleaver. Other points of interest being pig's heads lined up along the front of a meat stall and live fish thrashing around in big tubs whilst the stall holder fillets her latest sale. Definitely a more authentic experience than the Old Market which sees hundreds of tourists a week.

Later in the day I walked down Pokambor Avenue, following the river along to the Art Centre Market and crossing via the foot bridge. I was on my way back to Pub Street, planning to browse the shops and enjoy the vibe. I purchased an original watercolour by a young local artist from the Cambolac shop. Started in 2012, Cambolac focuses on job creation for young poverty striken people from Angkor Park and the hearing impaired. Their work is beautiful. I purchased one of their lacquered boxes on my last visit and was very tempted to buy again today. At the back of the shop was a large work table, every seat occupied by kids busy drawing, colouring, and being creative.

As I wandered around I was drawn into Beatnik Speakeasy, a bar near Pub Street, which was playing rather loud music from speakers set up outside their establishment.
Traffic JamTraffic JamTraffic Jam

National Road 6 teems with traffic of every description.
I throughly enjoyed their upbeat tunes and Bundy Rum as I took a seat near the street and people watched for an hour. Dinner tonight was at a Khmer BBQ Eatery. Chicken skewers and a potato baked in foil, with that lovely smoky BBQ flavour, was also thoroughly enjoyed!

Thursday morning I contacted Meas and we arranged for him to come to Horizons and collect the gifts I had bought from Australia (from all the family) for his little boy Muni and his wife. I had an hour to kill before his arrival so decided I'd walk around the corner and down the road to where Globalteer House is situated. Ginny and I stayed here whilst doing volunteer work with Globalteer in 2013.

I remember writing in my blog back then that Thea Chamrat Road was the worst road I'd ever had the misfortune to travel over. Well, things have changed - a little. The road is now paved, one lane of bitumen which you can't see the edges of because of the dust. It's still full of potholes in some sections but a definite improvement on what it used to be. There is a footpath too now, in
Resting...Resting...Resting...

In the street outside Psar Leu Markets
places. Big concrete blocks laid side by side, uneven and covered in dust. One section of it is missing altogether and someone has thrown a dead bush into the litter choked drain below, with part of it protruding above pavement level. Hopefully it stops inattentive people falling in.

A huge Gloria Jean Coffee Shop has appeared on the corner of Wat Bo Rd. It looks completely out of place but you can't hold the multi nationals back forever. The road was busy, lots of traffic dropping kids at the public school. Dust was thick in the air and I had to make lots of detours off the footpath and onto the road, but nothing new in that! Footpaths aren't used for walking on here, they are used for parking cars and scooters on.

Globalteer House is now a very nice guesthouse - Samros Khmer Villa. Someone has spent a lot of money there, ripping out the front walls and replacing them with glass. A coffee shop has been built on the side and lots of mature palms and well tended plants fill the entrance courtyard. It looks cool, clean and inviting. To my surprise, the dog we ocassionally
Collecting PaperCollecting PaperCollecting Paper

This young girl was collecting paper scraps in front of Psar Leu Markets
fed still lived next door. He scored any food that may have gone off due to power cuts. He looked better fed, but was still wary and unapproachable. A small trip down memory lane....


Additional photos below
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The Lady With The CleaverThe Lady With The Cleaver
The Lady With The Cleaver

As mentioned in the blog, the frog lady.
Public SchoolPublic School
Public School

Looks like a detention centre but is actually a school
Watch Your Step!Watch Your Step!
Watch Your Step!

Concrete block footpath in Thea Charat Road, with a couple of blocks missing. It opens into a filthy drain below.
HamdogHamdog
Hamdog

Ginny named him Hamdog in 2013 as he got a lot of our ham after power outages. Surprised he hasn't been turned into a ham bone himself..
Samros Khmer VillaSamros Khmer Villa
Samros Khmer Villa

Once Globalteer House
Samros Khmer VillaSamros Khmer Villa
Samros Khmer Villa

Once Globalteer House - a closeup of the entrance courtyard
Samros Khmer VillaSamros Khmer Villa
Samros Khmer Villa

Once Globalteer House - the cafe which has been built on the side.
Footpath or Parking Space?Footpath or Parking Space?
Footpath or Parking Space?

You risk life & limb walking on the roads, but often you have no choice.
Beatnik Speakeasy QuoteBeatnik Speakeasy Quote
Beatnik Speakeasy Quote

Stencilled on the wall inside. Kinda wish I was like that....
Beatnik SpeakeasyBeatnik Speakeasy
Beatnik Speakeasy

This place could easily become a favourite...


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