Thursday, 2 August 2007

siem reap: day 1

finally! managed to upload all the pics i wanna use for this post... took me ages! and blogger is really getting on my nerves! took me so long to tweak and adjust the layout, coz the spacing and layout kept running away like it has a mind of its own... couple that with the stupid autosave function kicking in every few seconds. dem irritating! *phew* ok, ok, deep breathing... here goes...


original plan
- had a job pending which i ABSOLUTELY MUST send out before my departure, so will stay up all night to finish it, hopefully by 4am, then i can pack my bags (yep, NOT YET PACK!) and get ready
- N to come to my place at 6 something in the morning, take the star lrt to bandar tasik selatan station, change to the klia transit to get to kl sentral and take the shuttle bus to lcct
- visits: old market, floating village of tonle sap & silk farm


reality
5.15am
job took longer than expected! finally managed e-mail it out. *panic*panic* ran frantically around room, throwing the things i want to pack on my bed.

6.00am
finished packing in record time! *phew* take bath and waited for N to arrive.

7.00am
N finally arrived, so we set out at a brisk walk for the lrt station. contemplated hailing a taxi to bring us straight to kl sentral, but all the taxi drivers parking along the roads were sleeping!

7.30am
reached bandar tasik selatan station. can we make it to lcct before the check-in counter closes at 9.20? decided not to take the risk, so instead of going to kl sentral, we hopped onto the transit train going the other direction towards klia and took the shuttle bus to lcct from there.


backpacker in the making... at bandar tasik
selatan station, waiting for the klia transit


9.10am
made it for the check-in... have some time to kill, so went to mcD’s for breakfast. forgot that we can’t bring any liquid on flights. dem! had to pour away my water from my tumbler.

10.05am
siem reap, here we come! N can finally breathe properly... she’s been worried sick that she’d be prevented from leaving the country as she’s not been repaying her study loan. but should i be mentioning it here? :Þ



last minute read-up on the country...









*cambodia is 1hr behind us, so the time from here onwards will be in cambodian time...



first sight of the magnificent tonle sap from the air.







11.30am
touched down in siem reap, 20 minutes late! feels a bit like in terengganu...









12.30pm
checked-in at guesthouse... room was not bad at all.

erm... *looking lost* what to do now? guesthouse proprietress suggest we walk over to the old market. so off we went!






this window caught our eyes... very creative!








cute rite?







next door is some other shop in renovation.







we saw this japanese ice-cream shop, looks kinda interesting... so even with stomachs growling, we decided to spoil our appetite with some ice-cream!









mango ice-cream, a slice of mango fruit and some mango juice, all mixed together on the freezing cold pan. the mango juice really froze-up!






magic mango ice-cream with nomthongmoun. (nomthongmoun is that long thing that looks a bit like love letters, but with a nutty taste)







ice-cream is creamy, but can taste the frozen juice/mango... something special! 1 mango magic ice-cream = USD2















1.30pm
even with ½ an ice-cream in each of us, we’re still famished! found a khmer restaurant and decided to go for some authentic cambodian dishes.

according to dr. david hill in ‘dos and don’ts in cambodia’, always order bottled drinks! coz their water source is very questionable. even when we were washing our hands at the sink back at our guesthouse, the water smelled of rust! anyway, notice the ice in our glasses? well, we forgot abt the ice until i’ve started pouring my coke in. luckily we remembered after a bit and asked for iceless glasses instead.











u’ve not been to cambodia until u’ve tried their amok. this is chicken amok, tastes a bit like thai green curry. yums!











another cambodian dish, 'cambodian spices' (that’s what written in the menu). yummers too!
lunch for 2 = USD8










internet cafe is BIG business here. well, it’s no surprise really, with all those tourists flocking there...











2.15pm
found ourselves a tuk-tuk driver, saman. this vest is their license! drive a tuk-tuk without it and u can land urself in jail...











after deciding on the fare (USD5), we set off for tonle sap!

















halfway there, saman stopped at the petrol station to refill. i’m not kidding!
1 litre petrol = USD1














houses along the road towards tonle sap. the ppl here lived an extremely simple life, just a square pondok called home! but look closely... see all those tv aerials? we were wondering for the longest time: where did they get the power for their tv without electric cables? finally we learnt the answer from saman: car batteries!

and the road! leaving the town behind us, sorry hor, no tar road here... it’s bump bump bump all the way for nearly 30 min! we were so sick of the bumping that we scrapped out the idea of going for the silk road adventure immediately!

at one point, saman's phone began to ring...
N: wah, not bad lar, they also use handphones.
me: but u know what is most amazing? even this san-ka-la (ulu) place also have signal ler! dun play-play o!

whole boat for only 2 of us... that’s the way things work here.
boat ride = USD12/person
tips for boat guide = USD2

that boy in the pic was our boat guide, a 16 y/o boy who tried to con us into tipping him USD40!

con-boat guide: "...hopefully enough for my 1 month english night school fees?"

yeah rite! dream on, boy!








a floating primary school! land kids will go from the road while river kids will row their boats to school.














floating basketball court...












high school...












sundry shop...













a snooker place!













and even have a floating church! it’s a whole community out here!










upon arrival at the tourist centre at downstream,
we were barraged by these kids trying to get us to
buy bananas: “lady (pronounced ‘lεdI’), you buy banana! 1 dollar!”



some ppl keep fish ponds outside their houses... but here, the fad is crocodile cages!
























here’s me giving out chocolates we brought specially for the kids here.











we were shopping for normal sweets when N spotted this! ain’t they cute? we thot we’d be much happier giving out these than say, hudson sweets! how boring rite? so even tho it’s more expensive, we bought it anyway. and watcing the delight dancing in the children’s eyes when they received it, i’d say it was worth every sen!






the tonle sap lake is the lifeline of these ppl. it’s their food source, they swim in it, wash their cookeries and eating utensils in it and bathe in it! this pic is of a vietnamese peddling their wares from house to house
boat guide: “those r vietnamese. pointed hats”





4.30pm
after a bumpy ride back to the old market place, and being informed by saman that the silk factory is very far away, we got saman to bring us to Artisans d’Angkor, an institute recruiting 18-25 y/o uneducated apprentices from the rural areas to train them skills in khmer crafts.

deaf young women are recruited for silk painting.

others do wood carving...



sandstone carving...

























6.00pm
ok, maybe that’s enough for the first day. back to guesthouse? not so fast! saman cleverly booked us (that’s right, HE booked US!) for the evening and the next day...

*note: from what we’ve deduced, being a tuk-tuk driver is a big challenge. there’s a whole throng of tuk-tuk on the streets. u can’t walk 3 steps on the streets of the old market without being called out by tuk-tuk drivers, offering to take u temple lar, to tonle sap lar, to wherever lar... we reckoned, tuk-tuk drivers will sometimes fail to get any customer for days! so when they do get any, they’ll make sure they hang on to them with dear life, if possible, for the whole duration of their stay here! so we sort of got our personal driver, who would drive us somewhere, wait for us while we sight-see, makan or shop, then drive us to the next destination... and at the end of the day, make arrangements for the next day!



7.00pm
saman brought us to angkor mondial for buffet dinner and the famous apsara dance (traditional cambodian dance), apsara being the fairy in cambodian’s mythology.
buffet dinner: USD12/person

































9.15pm
gosh... the dances were so slow and each movement so meticulous n calculated, it’s really lulling me to sleep! well, it’s no wonder, i’ve not slept for more than 24 hours! so we left before the performance ended. the dining hall was nearly empty by then anyway...

11.00pm
well, it’s been a long and tiring day! zzZZZzzzzzZZzz...

3 comments:

=t= said...

woww... it s time for you to update ur blog gal!!!
wakakakka... ei that chocolate looks familiar.. can get in Langkawi!!

So how;s life?

Biow said...

wow.. looks so much fun! got lao sai from the food? tired or not?? where are pictures of temples?

stargal said...

t, must forgive me lar... dial-up at home is a bitch to connect!

oh, u've seen the chocs b4? we bought it at lcct. hehehe...

life is ok lor, so far so good...

yeah biow, it's fun in an adventurous way lar... no lao sai lar, coz we were carefull to avoid those hawker stalls and not so nice looking shops. we only go for restaurants and bottled drinks!

temple pics, later lar... this is only day 1 mar.