What to do if not a tourist
24.11.2015 - 26.11.2015 34 °C
Home in Cambodia
This hotel is really "Home". If you decide to visit, this is a place where you will enjoy Cambodia long before you do any touring. The hotel: Siem Reap Riverside Hotel is on Sivatha Road, also the main road through town. It is about 5 minutes walk along the river into town. The owners are Samnang (which means Good Luck) and Sona. They are very kind and caring. I love to come back here to see them
I'm sitting in the lobby with Samnang and Sona. Behind us is a painting of Apsaras.
Apsaras, carved in stone at the West Gate of Angkor Wat Temple. The temple was originally constructed as a Hindu temple for the Khmer Empire, gradually transforming into a Buddhist temple toward the end of the 12th century.
By the way Apsaras are beautiful, supernatural female beings. They are youthful and elegant, and superb in the art of dancing. … They dance to the music made by the Gandharvas, usually in the palaces of the gods, entertain and sometimes seduce gods and men. As ethereal beings who inhabit the skies, and are often depicted taking flight, or at service of a god, they may be compared to angels. (Wikipedia)
Pizey is manager and often working at the front desk, alternately with Khemra. They are both wonderful and super-friendly. If you want to book at this hotel, just phone and probably one of them will answer (Phone: 011-855-12-517000). Their English is great; just say that Susan told you to call them. Honest, they will treat you so well.
Pizey is always so professional (mostly)
I kept odd hours while in Siem Reap. Often I woke up at 3:30 a.m. and came out on the terrace overlooking the town. I would sit and enjoy the sultry air and the darkness, listening to the crickets, or sometimes do email. By 4:00 a.m. Wanai (I don't know the spelling) was up and starting to prepare the kitchen for serving breakfast. We'd exchange a few words and he'd always offer me coffee. He would work quietly until the guests started appearing for breakfast at 6:30. Then things became very busy. Pelee, a lovely, shy young girl would appear, and serve guests. She didn't have much English, but she was very friendly and helpful, and had such quiet grace that she seems very special.
Wanai.....Always cheerful at 4:00 a.m. or any time...................Pelee.
When I first arrived I was disappointed that Jasmine was no longer working there. I managed to get in contact with her, and she came by to visit. We planned to enjoy the Water Festival together, and to bicycle out to visit her family in the countryside.
Jasmine offered me a feet massage. It is very hard to say "No" to that. Then it was time to head out into the festivities.
The Water Festival
Attending the three day "Water Festival" and jostling with the friendly crowds of people who have come to watch races on the Siem Reap River.
A female monk is not a common sight.
..Cricket buddies..Cutie pie
There were hundreds of teams, They gathered to listen to speeches and encouragement. I'm sure they sized up their competitors
A close finish for one of the races is accompanied by frantic shouting. Just click on the video below.
These races went on all day. There was much excitement as we sat on the warm banks of the river. Crowds of onlookers enjoyed the boating till dusk.
The next day, it all started again. Jasmine and I had decided to bicycle out to visit her family.
A Visit to the Countryside.
I followed Jasmine along as we wove through streets, then out into the outskirts of town. We arrived at her sister's place, and soon we were sitting in the shade and chatting. Kosal, her brother -in-law, was a monk for 13 years. He is now married and has 2 beautiful little girls.
Kosal and his little 2 year-old, Prom-pro.......Kosal's wife, Kimsrn and the older daughter, Visili. She is a bit shy.
When Kosal is not at work or with his young family, he digs wells for neighbours and neighbouring communities. Kosal also teaches school in his neighbourhood and is not paid for that. It is a relaxing day, visiting and finding out about the ongoing well project. He has done one for me already in the village of Angkor Wat. Last visit here, we went by motorbike to see where the well was needed. I had the chance to visit people in the surrounds of Angkor Wat and to see their homes and how they live. On this visit, we sit in the shade and talk about the projects.
We sat in the shade and talked. Of course, the kids scampered around and found other things that were more interesting.
Kosal is a very contented father, and Prom-pro loved him playing with her.
There was a pawpaw tree growing among the mango and banana trees.
Mother cow had a one day old calf - so it was good to keep clear of her.
Visili and a little friend had scampered off to fly some little kites in the field beside the house.
Preparing a meal. Kimsrn chopped and prepared (I hoped for crickets, but sadly, this time, not on the menu)
I have seen people harvesting morning glory growing beside the water. Jasmine efficiently removes the succulent young shoots to saute.
The new litter of 5 piglets are happy to eat the rest of the morning glory.
Prom-pro is a very independent little 2 year-old. I spied on her from a distance, and it seems, she had decided to cool down on her own.
Jasmine asked us all to come and eat. These dishes are unusual but certainly authentic Khmer cooking. We all came to the table and
spent the next hour relaxing and talking.
I think that Prom-pro has warmed up to me. Finally I get some smiles.
This is a very dear family, and part of the reason I came back to Cambodia for another visit.I have a feeling I will be back. Kosal wants me to get onto Facebook to look at his school. Town School I think. I promise to get with the program and "learn how to Facebook !!!!!!!". I think I will have to - I want to see his work at the village school and digging wells for those who need them.
It is time to bid goodbye, and to get on our bicycles. Jasmine is starting a trial job selling crafts in the 'Night Market'. We will head back in time for its opening at 7:00 p.m. I'll see her when she finishes work. She has been having a 'sleep-over' the last few days, staying in my room and renewing acquaintances at the hotel.
Tomorrow is the last of the Water Festival so we will go to the market together, and I will make plans to visit Vietnam. I have found that I have extra time, and Vietnam by overnight bus sounds like a little adventure.
The next travels are: Vietnam by Bus...........Be sure to click on "next" for the next entry of this travel blog : )
>>> Entries are made to travel blogs over a number of days or weeks. Using the same link I sent you, you will find additional entries if you revisit this site in another few days or weeks....util I have finished writing about my travels in Cambodia/Vietnam. <<<<<