Displaced Yankee Productions | The Road To Siem Reap

The Road To Siem Reap

It’s early in the morning and apparently after experiencing my dramatic “waker up” attitude, Theresa has appeared at the door with a cup of instant coffee. Instantly, resentment turns to love. Yeah! I am happy. We attempt to get all of our stuff together to head to Siem Reap, our “vacation” spot for the next couple of days. Theresa leaves a five in the room for a tip. It is a large sum of money here for the maid, but we’re sure she thinks we’re totally disgusting and she probably deserves it. She cleans our room everyday and it takes us about 12 seconds to dismantle it. The nasty sneakers I wore to the dump are still sitting outside the door. I don’t even plan to touch them. They are going directly into the trash.
Our driver from the motorbike the day before is waiting for us…thankfully with an actual car for the six-hour trek to Siem Reap. After only a half an hour on the road, I turn to Theresa and comment that I don’t know how we possibly thought we could have navigated this on our own. Between the trucks and the cows and the motor bikes, you have to have nerves of steel to get around here. We’ve learned quite a few tips about Cambodia, which are amusing listed in various guidebooks. They are all the more hilarious because we know how true they are. Here are some of the better tips and phrases we have run across:

“We drinkers enjoy nothing more than a friendly cantina that is willing to give us a liquid libation at a cheap price.”

“Happy hour – I can’t think of too many people who haven’t relished a frosty cold barley soup after a long hard day harvesting their rice”

“The Dead Fish Tower Restaurant…. Why are we so popular? We don’t serve Dog, Cat, Rat or Worm, there is a crocodile pit and a 10% discount to well known Hollywood stars”

“If peering into people’s private homes while seated under a shade cover in a motorboat is your idea of leisure…take a trip to the silk farm.”

“If you eat a Happy Pizza (i.e. one baked with pot) make sure you head back to somewhere safe, like a date with a hammock”
Rules Of The Road
*Siem Reap Travel Guide – ALL VERY TRUE
“One way streets aren’t, in practice, one way”
“Locals never look before entering a road”
“Chatting with your mates while sitting three abreast is normal behavior”
“Stopping at red lights appears to be optional”
“Cows, chickens, pigs, dogs, geese and children have not read the highway code”
After a few hours on the road, it’s time to stop for lunch. By this time we are far out in the middle of nowhere and we stop at the next bustling town and make a beeline for the big hotel, figuring it would be the safest. Sadly…no. We sit down with our driver. The china on the table – teapot, cups, plates and bowls are dirty and stained. And I am not talking permanent stains; I mean stains from simply not being properly washed off before the next use. Flies are everywhere. Plunk! And there is the glass of brackish water with our silverware. This time we are prepared. Under the pretext of getting my camera, Theresa goes the car and hauls chopsticks out of our luggage. She drops one at my plate and we grimace at each other across the table. We’ve been extremely lucky so far but if we are going to get sick, this is gonna be the place to do it to us… and on a six-hour drive in a country with no public rest stops to boot. We feel very out of place. The wait staff walks up and takes the order of our driver and walks away. Guess she figured we didn’t want to eat. His food actually arrives before he can flag down service for us. He is visible annoyed by this. It takes three people to take our order and they still get it wrong. When it finally arrives, we have both pretty much lost our appetites. We ordered fried Thai noodles and pork but the pork is pink and I’m not even sure it is pork. The noodles are fried, if by fried you actually mean lightly sautéed. I pick around the pork and veggies and eat only the noodles. Theresa has a napkin over her rice to keep the army of flies interested in a carb diet from helping themselves. I go to wash up before we leave and when I return to the table, Theresa is gone. I look under the table to see if she dropped from heat stroke. Nope. I look up and she’s looking at me from the men’s bathroom all befuddled. Now I know we’ve had some gender identity mix ups since we’ve arrived, but I can’t believe the heat and food has caused her to forget she’s a girl. But then again, they do flavor their food with pot….

 
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