We’ve just finished our week-long work stay in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It was such a great experience. We had the pleasure of staying with a very warm and welcoming Khmer family of five, all who treated us as part of the family. We were able to experience much of their general way of life, including their delicious traditional home-style cooking (and plenty of it too).
One night, it was decided that we would all go out for dinner. We were taken to a popular local picnic spot called 60 Road, a buzzing long strip covered in family-sized mats, food vendors and market stalls. You park your car, sit at a mat, and your food is brought to you. It was a massive spread of fish, pork, savoury pancakes (khmer-style), fresh herbs, sauces and sugar cane drinks. It was an absolute feast, and all eight of us ate for only 10USD!
Not only were we lucky enough to be getting a truly local experience at home, but we also gave a few hours out of our day to teach orphans english at a rural school 6km outside of Siem Reap. These children were incredible. So eager to learn and just beaming with excitement and positivity. Smart too, with some of the older students even correcting a few of my own spelling mistakes. I blame autocorrect.
After school one night, Anita and I decided to ride in to town to check out the night markets. We stumbled across a street vendor selling the usual assortment of insects, including tarantula. Anita and I are always up for trying local delicacies, so we popped a few crickets before deciding we’d try the tarantula. They’re tumbled in spices before being fried, so they’re crunchy but also kind of sweet. Am I glad I tried it? Sure. Would I rush out to buy a 10 pack? Probably not.
When Anita and I came back to our bikes which we had bolted together with a chain lock, we struggled to unlock it for some time. After a few bystanders also had a crack and had no luck, we thought we’d better call our host dad. He sent his son and nephew down who after a few tries, decided our best option was to jump in a tuk tuk with the two bikes and haul them back to the house. Tuk tuks can be sketchy at the best of times, but with two full sized bike wheels hanging out of both sides and Anita and I sandwhiched in our seats, sketchy levels were through the roof. Luckily, we managed to get them back in one piece, both the bikes and ourselves, that is.
On our last day we decided that we’d check out the Angkor temples, getting up nice and early to see Angkor Wat at sunrise. They are all such amazing structures, so large in size and just with so much detail. After four or five hours of temple crawling, we thought it was time to head back and spend the last few hours with our host family before packing up, saying our goodbyes and climbing aboard our overnight bus to Phnom Penh.
Laters, Siem Reap!