Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Siem Reap

After checking into my hotel, I am both famished and exhausted. I am also still trying to get my head around the fact that I am in Cambodia.

Its about 4pm and I opt for sleep over sustinence, mostly because the bed is closer than the food. I wake up around 6:30pm, disoriented and with hair that would make Einstein smirk. It is dark out and I have no bearings. Tentatively, I head out into the night. There are streetlights here, but not one of them is operational.

Model by Dy Proeung, in Siem Reap, Cambodia, o...
The street is busy with an endless stream of scooters, motorbikes and tuk tuks, with the oddly rare car thrown in. I head down of the main roads, which is unpaved. The dust kicked up and lit by the scooters, produces a spooky and cloudy luminescence, through which I am trying to find my way.

I feel like I am in the opening scene of a movie that is not going to end well. It feels like a scooter riddled Asian version of Tombstone, Arizona.

In the light of day this locale is much less foreboding. I walk around the town and find a delightful array of restaurants, markets and stores. Siem Reap is unabashedly a tourist town, being the Gateway to Angkor Wat and the many other magnificent temple ruins in the area.

As I walk around, I hear the exact same refrain from every lady in front of each shop. Hello sir! You buy something sir? Feeling peckish, I opt for breakfast, giving in to the exhortation of a young lady. I am seated in a little patio, right by the entrance. As I quaff my coffee, a monk approaches carrying a pot.

After a moment, a lady from the cafe approaches with a Sprite, which she reverently passes to the monk with both hands. He then places it in the pot. The monk then offers a blessing, and I bow my head in some lame attempt to show reverence. Before I am finished my breakfast, the scene is repeated with a different monk.

I never saw that at The Detroit Eatery.