It’s time for a new adventure! This time I’ve set my sights on Thailand, although first I’m gonna cross one big item on my bucket list by finally visiting the Angkor temples in Cambodia. I have the impression that most people see them when visiting Vietnam, but I didn’t find the time then, so this time around I built my two-week itinerary specifically to make time for Angkor.
After my leisurely swim and rest, I ventured out into the city to find an early dinner so I can catch some much needed sleep soon (I am so sleep-deprived I may not remember any of this tomorrow). At six o’clock it’s already dead at night, but that’s about the end of the similarities with Versailles nights; even at night and with some wind it’s still very hot. It’s super weird to feel hot while it’s dark out!
I walked a bit around the area surrounding my hotel, which is where all the action is: there is one main avenue nicknamed “Pub Street” with all that tourists want, and what tourists want is apparently a metric ton of Italian restaurants. I mean, I get it, I could eat Italian food forever, but it’s not like Italian restaurants are an endangered species in the West. Some of these are enormous two-story enterprises! To be fair, there were also some khmer restaurants that looked good -at least to my untrained eye!
There are also night markets, or bazaars, with souvenirs or food, and lots of street food vendors; my favourites were two teenagers who sold photo opportunities with fried scorpions: as in, you gave them a dollar to take the typical picture of “Oooh I’m about to eat a grasshopper” without actually having to do it. These kids have vision!
I am drawn to the English advertising in these places. One shop had a sign that said: “Clean water – we speak no fraud”. There’s a restaurant whose menu said “We don’t serve dog or cat”, which isn’t as reassuring as they may think, and then they had cages with bunnies and parakeets… only as pets, I hope!
I ended up settling for a restaurant right next door to my hotel which, if nothing else, was much cheaper than the fare in the main road: I had khmer chicken curry with a side dish of rice for $2.50! Although the official Cambodian currency is the riel, in practice all businesses (from shops and restaurants to the visas or the Angkor tickets) operate with American dollars. This is definitely convenient for knowing how much you’re paying!
That’s it for today! It’s time for me to get some rest and get ready for tomorrow’s discovery of Angkor!