I have a friend a couple of doors down who usually wakes me up at dawn.
My last post was about Cambodian food because, in the past five days, eating is about the only interesting thing I have done. I have mostly been in bed with a cold (it’s over now!). During my time in the hotel room, I also wrote a little about Cambodia. I have gone back and forth about whether to post a story that is so tragic. But I am not describing the real Cambodia if the only things I share are my isolated experiences as a privileged tourist.
Cambodia has been a sort of feeding frenzy for me. Maybe because its tourist infrastructure is relatively new, Cambodia has a lot of restaurants that have updated traditional dishes in ways that make them less greasy, less salty, fresher, and healthier than food I have had anywhere else in Asia.
On Tuesday, I returned to Siem Reap, home of magnificent Angkor Wat about 200 miles northwest of Phnom Penh. I hopped a 40 minute flight after being advised to avoid the road from Phnom Penh, which is a hot mess in spite of the billions Cambodia has paid a Chinese company for improvements.
Between the 10th and 12th centuries, the kings of the Khmer Empire built some very spectacular stuff in this part of Cambodia, which was originally called “Angkor.” Iconic Angkor Wat is the most dramatic jewel in the crown but Angkor is a 150 square mile park full of temples, each one a world treasure.
For the past few days, I have been in Siem Reap, home to Cambodia’s famous historic site, Angkor Wat. I haven’t visited Angkor Wat yet because I am waiting to enjoy it with friend Carol, who is arriving tonight from Ho Chi Minh City (yippee!!). In the meantime, I haven’t had a hard time entertaining myself.
Have you ever wondered what it is like to ride a bus from Battambang to Siem Reap? That’s what I did today and it was quite a day. Bus journeys in places like Cambodia are pretty different from, for example, a drive from San Francisco to LA in your own car. Or even a bus.