Sunday, April 21, 2013

Biking around Siem Reap, Cambodia

Humid, sweltering hot weather sounds perfect for biking around town. So after a quick breakfast at the Golden Banana, that's what we did!

We first went to a small buddhist temple, then around a park, then way off the map and got completely lost. By noon the sun was sizzling hot so it was time to ask for directions back downtown. But the two people we approached could not read our map. We just turned back to retrace our steps.
Biking around a small town is the best way to see more, get off the beaten path and get lost. You end up with interesting stories to tell. 
My Dad read in many websites and guidebooks that men can get a $1 haircut in Cambodia. So we walked into a small barbershop which was also a living room, with two kids running around. I carefully explained in multiple ways with hand gestures "Please don't shave off his sideburns" and the barber nodded and said "Ok, ok, ok!" Then he proceeded to shaving his sideburns. Oh well, I tried! We still gave him $3. Meanwhile I drank a "winter melon" drink that tastes strangely like maple sap, and watched a bit of Ghost Rider in Vietnamese with the kids.
Dad getting a $1 hair cut in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
On the otherside of the road there was a cinema: A big room sheltered from the sun, with 30-40 chairs, and one large flat screen playing a cheesy soap in vietnamese. Once my Dad's shor' shor' haircut was done, we biked back to town, around the market and to the B&B.
Siem Reap market - I noticed this local delicacy, among many other insects on display. But I didn't dare have a taste.
Before going back to the Golden Banana to pass out in the pool we got a dead-skin-eating-fish-massage. That sounds disgusting. It kind of is. But I'm sure it has a fancy name. The little "Doctor fish" wriggle around your feet to nibble off the dead skin. It's really funny! And it was nice to sit in the shade, feet in cool water and beer in hand.
Our feet getting eaten away by tiny fish. Weirdest feeling.
Finally back at the pool, I was greeted by my little welcome committee of geckos on the outer walls and ceilings... also there are always a dozen flowers floating on the surface like someone put them there for me.

I did a bit of reading: Les Chroniques Vietnamiennes written by Claude Potvin, a friend of my parents. He wrote it in 1995 and has been living in Hanoi for many years now with his vietnamese family. Interesting anecdotes, very well written and quite funny at times!
Walking like an egyptian under the soothing, refreshing "waterfall" at the Golden Banana B&B.
After a relaxing pool time & nap we dressed up (however you can dress up in 34 degree heat) to go to a traditional Khmer food buffet and Apsara dance performances. They wear lovely outfits, bracelets, headdresses and of course... they dance so well! It requires a lot of balance and strength to pivot ever so slowly on one foot. Also... I think they are all double jointed. Fingers and elbows can't possibly bend that way.
An evening of delicious Khmer food and traditional Apsara dancing at "Angkor Mungdial".

No comments: