Despite this, we did actually enjoy Siem Reap itself. Cycling everywhere and feeling the excitement was in the air, for in a few days it would be the countries biggest celebration, Cambodian New Year!
The city today has recovered and grown, embracing tourism, capitalism and all it's benefits, if perhaps a little too much. However despite this there are still many NGO's in Cambodia and spirit of good will towards the poor, that we witnessed whilst there. We visited a great French NGO called Artisans d'Angkor. They have set up training and workspace facilities for very poor people to learn a trade and then work creating handicrafts and keeping the skills alive. They are trained in woodwork, stone cutting, metallurgy and weaving, to make and sell to tourists, creating a market for old handicrafts. Using these skills the stone cutters are able to help restore the Angkor temples too.
Later on, Greg bought a jar of homemade chilli paste from a restaurant as he was constantly frustrated with the lack of chilli in tourist restaurants. Whilst we tried to haggle the lady would have none of it, and we settled on the extravagant $3 USD for the jar - which he felt was warranted and I didn't dare disagree. It became a talking point with other tourists who noticed and asked to try it too!
After walking so much we treated ourselves (ok more than once) to foot massage at a fantastic place known as DR FOOT. Walk in, and get comfortable, while your feet experience heaven - then leave on a soft cloud. You also get to stare at the wall full of graffitied notes left by other tourists!
However the best dish of the night was BBQ stuffed frog. Wow, we all went back for seconds, it was delicious. Honestly, I’m not joking, you must try it!
We also ate traditional cambodian green noodle soup, a pungent fish paste, tasty lotus seeds fresh from the lotus, and coconut biscuits.
Next up we head to Phnom Penh where we learn the origins of the city’s name, meet an aussie expat living and working in Cambodia and spend a week apart from each other!
Till next time,
Jade & Greg