Monday, October 26, 2015

Cambodia

A tuktuk taxi picked me up at the airport and as we bumbled along the air feels softer, water buffalo, soccer games and road side restaurants emerge into view then fall away.


My first day I spend wandering. I peer down a shop and see it opens up on a hidden market where women are buying and selling. They sit atop low platforms that showcase their offerings, wether animal or vegetable.



Small stands with tiny plastic stools offer up food to take away or eat in. I opt to eat at a stand where the gal makes me a panzanella-like salad. She spreads a fish paste on 1\2 a demi baguette then fries it and green colored seitan rolls. She chops this fried mass of flavor and serves it all up on a plastic bag covered plate accompanied by cabbage, cucumber and a sweet chili dipping sauce. And it all cost .50¢!

The next 3 days are spent riding a rental bike to explore the temples of Angor Wat and its neighbors. Elephants are lumbering by, monkeys wandering about and chickens literally crossing the road. The temples do not disappoint. 
The freedom the bike gives me to wander where I will is exhilarating. I've taken to wrapping my head in a scarf as I rode to block the sun and absorb some of sweat running off me in gallons.

My last day here, & I ride another rental bike, this time a mountain bike, along the Siem Reap River.  Men and boys toss nets into the river where it isn't clogged by garbage. 
Temples and mosques fill the air with calls to prayer, bells and music. Small boys, much too small for the bikes they ride, peddle along on spindly legs. Even smaller children yell Hello! and wave as I ride by. I send a hello right back and return their smiles.
There is so much to see and absorb that I don't take pictures and I won't write about it. I just want to take it all in. Cambodia is a beautiful heartbreaking dream.
                          
My final roadside meal here. Tomorrow I fly to Singapore, the bookend of my SE Asia wanderings.