Posted by: Richard | November 28, 2009

If eating pineapple is wrong…I don’t want to be right

Wow, what a great past week.  We managed to move our flight up a couple of days  from Vientiane in Laos to Siem Reap in Cambodia.  Very glad that we did, as the extra days here in Cambodia have been magical, with Siem Reap vying with Hong Kong as our favorite destination.  Our days here have been filled with good coffee, touring the temples and watching cheezy 80’s action films on Cambodian TV.

Highlights:

  • The temples here are incredible.  We spent three days just looking at the ones close to town (30 minute bike ride).  After looking at them all, our favorites are Ta Prohm (a somewhat dilapidated temple with trees and ferns still growing throughout) and Bayon (the temple with all the faces).
  • We had a great 35km bike yesterday in 33C heat around our favorite temples.  The bikes we rode were like the 1940 models from The Ranche.  It was so much fun, it felt like we were always going downhill (it wasn’t, but just too much fun).  I probably rang my bell 1000 times.  Maybe more.  I just had it going non-stop.
  • The other two days we took a nice tut-tut around the temples.  Very relaxing and still a lot of fun.
  • We’ve found a great little place (well, moderately sized) where we eat at least one meal a day.  A french chef has created a cafe / bistro called Blue Pumpkin and EVERYTHING is great to eat.  Right now I’m having coffee, fruit salad and yogurt.  Lynn is the same + an Orangina. Yumm Yumm.
  • Last night we spent two hours at Dr. Feet.  Not his real name, but a reflexologist working on the feet.  I didn’t think much of it, but today is the first day since before our hike across the alps when my left foot doesn’t hurt.  So, we are going back again tonight.  We also had massages.  It was quite funny, as the masseuse was walking on back (from neck to knees) trying to crack or knead something.  She thought it was funny, though it actually didn’t do much.
  • Reminiscent of Electric Avenue in Calgary, there is a Pub Street here.  Full of restos and bars.  The main difference between Electric Avenue and Pub Street is the lack of trucks and guys yelling here at Pub Street.  We spent a couple of nights on Pub street, enjoying pitchers of Gin and Tonics and usually being offered the opportunity to “get stoned”.  I can think of nothing I would like less.  Especially when the G&Ts go down so smooth in this heat.
  • Actually, I am remiss in saying that there are no loud hooligans a la Electric Avenue here.  There was a table of 20-something Aussie ladies behind us one night.  They were loaded and kept yelling to the two quiet Swedish fellas beside us “HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A GROWN MAN NAKED….DOYAWANNA?”.  After the cackling this elicited (from their table only), another would yell “HAVE YA EVER DRANK BAILEY’S FROM A SHOE…..DOYAWANNA?”.  This one made me laugh.  Finally, one of the ladies stumbled down to the road and did a chicken dance for 30 seconds.  Needless to say, the quiet Swedish fellas left.  We followed soon behind.  An hour later, two of the women were at the side of the street, heads in their hands and another in tears.  I think the booze got on top of them.
  • We eat a lot of pineapple.  Yesterday I had 1.5 full pineapples + pineapple in my dinner + pineapple in my breakfast fruit salad.  Cost for a full, peeled pineapple: $0.50
  • Our guesthouse is great.  One problem is that our old room (we moved the third night) had a mouse.  Now, one little mouse isn’t a problem, but this little guy would spend the evening laying a minefield of poops on the other bed, the dresser, our guidebooks, our hats, the floor, the TV remote, etc etc.  I thought we got rid of him night 2, but Lynn woke me up Night 3, and who is in the trash bin (reading our discarded Economist magazine perhaps?), but Terrence, our friendly little mouse.  Well, I really hope he was a mouse, I just caught a glimpse, either a giant head or small mouse.  Luckily the owners were up late that night and moved us into a nice room on the top floor, where for the past 3 nights we have slumbered in peace and tranquility.
  • We have realized that we tend to buy the same souvenirs over and over.  We have a preference for bags (or satchels for me) and scarfs.  Here in Siem Reap, we got bags made out of giant fish food sacs (cooler than they sound) and some silk scarves.  Very cool.  There are lots of shops focused for re-habing disabled people, so we’ve been shopping there.
  • The kids here (much like many other touristed developing country children) know a lot about geography.  “Where you from” they ask.  I reply “Canada” to which a chorus of voices yell out “Ottawa capital”, “Toronto big city”, “Montreal”, “Vancouver” and most bizarre “Stephen Harper”.  I quizzed the kids on one occasion, and found them knowing most major tourist nations capital cities (I actually didn’t know that Spain had (not officially) three capitals – Barcelona for Catalan, Biarritz for Basque and Madrid).  I then asked for the capital of Laos….. “Ummmm, ummmmm, i forget that one”.  Laos borders Cambodia!  I guess they don’t get many Lao tourists.

Tomorrow we leave for Koh Samui, where we are on a 10-day retreat that includes a 7-day fast (detox!) and some yoga.  I’m really not sure how much yoga we will do with no food in our system, but we shall go and see.  The bungalows are on the beach and I’m going to pick out some books to keep me occupied.  I’ve only once gone even a day without eating, so trying to go 7 days (well, we get some fruit shakes and veggie broth) will be unique.  I figure the human body is designed for centuries to feast and famine, however this guy only does the feasts.  Now, I’m sure my mom is freaking out reading this, so please know that the resort also has one of the top 50 veggie restaurants in the world (I think rated by Conde Naste), so I can simply walk from the beach to the restaurant and get some good eating if I need to.

Today we go to a real floating village on the Tonle Sap lake.  I think it will be a bit Disneyfied, but still looking forward to seeing it.  Lynn keeps promising to do an update (which I really like as she sees a lot of things that I miss), so email her and ask her.

Oh yes, finally I need to say that Warehouse Computers in Siem Reap are great.  They spent an hour with me trying to get the power charging to work.  Nice people.

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