It has been a few days since last I blogged. To be honest with you I have been so busy lying on the beach in Koh Lanta and getting pampered that I just haven't had the time or energy to write. It's a hard life I know!
Anyway, before I fill you in on my time on this lovey little island off the mainland of Thailand, I need to take you back just over a week to continue from whence I left off ...
We had stayed the night at The Home-stay, where everyone made us feel very welcome, especially the Mosquitos! Our guide's brother in law had told us a little bit about his childhood during the war; how he had never gone to school because he had to spend nearly every day hiding in holes in the ground with his family in case the Khmer Rouge should find them and then they would surely have been killed. He told us how that there was no food left, they were all being starved out and so they had to learn how to eat insects and to be careful about which unknown fruits to pick as many were poisonous. He said his stomach was so swollen from malnutrition and worms that it hurt every day.
We all went to bed that night feeling very humbled.
After a night of practically no sleep, due to the hard floor, the intense heat, Sergio snoring and the TV blaring downstairs, (electricity runs off a car battery for a few hours in the night), we gathered all our belongings and had breakfast together around the big table outside. The grandma came and sat with us and our guide translated any questions we wanted to ask her. When it was her turn to ask us questions, she only had one: "When Westerners come to visit us, why are they always so white? And what long noses you all have!"
Interesting?! Well I am sure there are a few plastic surgeons specialising in Rhinoplasty that will be benefiting from her observations!
We bade our farewells and piled onto the coach to set off for our final leg of the tour to Siem Reap, within minutes everyone was fast asleep!
Siem Reap is the home of Angkor and its many ancient temples. And not forgetting Pub Street and the three vast night markets!!
We arrived at our destination formerly known as The Angkor Way but now it's name has been changed to something to do with a Chinese airline, however no one refers to it as anything but The Angkor Way!? After dropping our ages into our respective rooms, Karen and I along with Nicola went for a walk to try and suss out the local shops and buy an ice cream. There didn't seem to be much in the way of mini marts, there was however a cute little shop that sold some charming nick-backs, clothes and bags. For once I managed to refrain from diving into my purse, however Karen bought a rather fetching bag made from Cambodian silk.
Later on that afternoon, when I was lounging around the pool with Nicola and Andrea, my iPad started to ring; it was Karen 'Face-timing' me from the balcony just above. Apparently, she didn't want to alarm me by screaming across the pool area, but she wanted to let me know that she had been given an added extra in her new bag! On reaching in to it to take out the newspaper stuffing, she noticed some movement and stepped back just as a lizard leapt out from within. I told her not to worry, that it was quite harmless. Then she informed me it was heading towards my back pack!!
Within seconds I had sent Nicola (our resident vet) up to our room to deal with the situation!
That night, all Lizard free - thanks to Nicola - four of us decided to go and check out Siem Reap's FCC (Foreign Correspondence Centre), then Sam and the rest of the group were going to pick us up on route to dinner.
Caroline, Nicola, Karen and myself piled into the waiting Tuk Tuk and a couple of minutes later stepped out in front of a stunning French Colonial building, beautifully lit up by lanterns and a tiny footpath over a little pond. And to top it all, it was Happy Hour until 7! Two cocktails for the price of one! That was two cocktails each! Generally not a good idea for me as I rarely drink.
By the time the group came to fetch us, I was two Daiquiries down and had started to lose sensation in my knees and tongue!? (Yes I know, it's pathetic! But I hadn't eaten either!!)
We got to the restaurant Sam had booked for us. I think it was lovely, I don't really remember?! But I do vaguely remember ordering my dinner and just playing with it when it arrived. I think I may have had what I thought was an in depth conversation with Sergio (74 year old University lecturer on Engineering from Chile), about leg waxing and eyelash tinting?!
Dinner was almost finished when the stage dancing started. And no, thank goodness, that wasn't me - though I was tempted. We sat and watched a group of dancers performing traditional Cambodian Dancing, known as Apsara Dancing.
The costumes were beautiful as was the dancing, tho it has to be said, the dancers were quite young and not too professional. You see their faces are supposed to look unemotional and still so as not to distract the audience allowing them to concentrate on the dance. However, a couple kept 'corpsing' (those of you not in the know with us 'luvvies' that means laughing or grinning) and unfortunately that's where most of our attention went. (Mind you my attention span was pretty short that night due to the cocktail consumption earlier).
And that was the end of our first evening in Siem Reap. The others went off to the night market and I crawled into bed and slept really well ... Had to prepare for two days worth of Temple watching!!