Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Catch up day

Wednesday 9th February 2011

MP3 track of the day: Stop and Stare - One Republic

Weather: Hot and humid … and I didn't even go out until 5pm.

I would have liked to have slept in a little longer, however at 9am I was awoken by two British girls – who I was sharing my dorm with – getting ready to go out and teach English. They were very apologetic; they told me that they would have got their stuff ready yesterday but they didn't know someone else (i.e. me) would be coming into their dorm at midnight. I said it didn't matter and I used the time to have my first good look at my surroundings. I was very impressed; this was the cleanest room I had stayed in since Thailand and I was even more impressed with the hot water shower. I had a very, very long and hot shower.

I eventually emerged from the bathroom and got ready for the day. Today was a catch up day which involved the internet and not much else. First of all though I had to get something to eat. Not wishing to waste my day, looking for a place to eat breakfast, I opted for a local restaurant. I had a bacon butty and a hot chocolate for $2.50. Breakfast was delicious however I did think that $2.50 was a little expensive, compared to Laos, and so maybe I need to look around a little more ... or maybe Cambodia is generally more expensive than the rest of South East Asia. Only time will tell.

I made it back to my hostel, got my computer and surfed the internet … until 5pm! I don't know where the time went. I completely updated my blog, uploaded a few photos and sorted through the photos from Don Det. I answered all my fan mail, a few emails about my volunteer work and spoke to people on Facebook. I finally finished my 'day of surfing' by investigating what was happening within the world by viewing the BBC news web pages (Mclaren have launched their F1 car for the 2011 season … and it looks good).

Itching to get out of the hostel I finally gave my computer a rest, put it away, and went for a short walk around the city. I went out to get some money however I also discovered a few other interesting things:

  • Mars Bars are only seventy cents. That's the cheapest chocolate, that I've found on my travels, so far … think I'll stock up.

  • Cambodian male adults spend their leisure time within parks. They have what looks like a elongated shuttlecock that they kick to each other.

  • There is a KFC in town. I haven't had fast food for over a month; whats more KFC has big whole pieces of chicken which sounds good right now. When ordering meat, within a South East Asian dish, you normally end up with either not much, small pieces or not the best cuts of meat. I was so tempted by the KFC logo that I was debating on having it for tea, though I did eventually fight the urge.

  • Siam Reap is quite well off. The buildings are well maintained, my hostel is lovely (I keep on thinking that I have the wrong price for my room) and generally the whole area has a air of richness to it, at least compared to smaller Cambodian towns that we went through yesterday.

  • The people seem friendly enough, especially the children. I had quite a few hello's as I walked past. However I also had quite a few people shouting at me asking if I wanted a tuk-tuk, massage or anything else they thought that they could sell me (that didn't happen in Laos).

  • There are quite a few cake shops!

I walked back and forth along the main road taking in the atmosphere before it got dark. On my way back to my guesthouse I went back to said mini-mart to get lots of water, and snacks, for tomorrow. Tomorrow my plan is to visit Angkor Wat … but how would I get there. Motorbike was a no, no so that left bicycle or tuk-tuk. As I'm traveling on my own tuk-tuk would be a lot more expensive ($15.00 to $2.00 to hire a bike) as I would have no one to share the cost with. A bike would give me more freedom once at Angkor Wat however I wasn't sure how to get there, or traffic and road conditions. Plus if I wanted to see sunrise and sunset I didn't fancy riding a bike in the dark. This was one of the worlds most important sites … the lost temples of Angkor Wat and I knew that, later in life, if I skipped on $10 or so now I would regret it. Therefore, once back at the hostel, I inquired into a tuk-tuk and agreed a price. I didn't actually agree there and then to hire said tuk-tuk, I decided to wait until 9pm to say yes; I wanted to see if I could drum up others who might want to go. Someone else did want to do with me; Carolin – a French student going to study in China – said she would like to go with me, however there was a slight complication. Angkor Wat is actually a large site containing many temples, there are two tracks (the small circuit and the grand tour) that you can do around the temples. Tomorrow I was going to do the 'small circuit' and spend more time in each place, however Caroline had already done the small tour today and so wanted to do the grand tour tomorrow. As I was planning to spend three days within Angkor Wat it didn't really matter if I did the small circuit today or tomorrow and so I changed my plans, which has saved me $7.50.

I had a meal from the hostel and went to sleep early. I had to be ready by 5am tomorrow to be able to see sunrise at Angkor Wat (I would be staying until sunset so tomorrow was going to be a long day). I had another lovely hot shower before packing my bag for tomorrow and heading to the land of nod.

Tomorrow Angkor Wat and I am very excited.

Toodle Pip!

P.S. The people working at the hostel are lovely. The owner is so helpful and I had a race with his son to the fridge. Basically, when I ordered my dinner, I had ordered a can of coke. My food had come but the can was still sitting within the fridge. I have two legs and so I went to pick up said can, however the son saw me, apologized twice, and started to run to over-take me to get to the fridge first. I matched him for speed and we both ended up at the fridge laughing. I love moments like this; it restores your faith in a country and gives you something to remember.

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