Cambodia, Madness as Usual

Just a quick note: I’m struggling with my blogging workflow thanks to a less than ideal tablet and a phone and camera that won’t talk to each other. As a result, some of the photo quality is less than ideal, but hopefully it should be resolved soon. Enough of that, what about Cambodia?!

We made it! It has been quite the mammoth journey, on quite the mammoth plane, but we finally made it to the land of spiritual enlightenment…and cheap booze. Just kidding, though it isn’t uncommon to see $0.50 USD draft beers, and $2 cocktails. The last update placed us in London Heathrow, just about to board the A380 bound for Kuala Lumpur. The flight was over twelve hours long, and certainly felt it in the beginning. I watched a few films including a Korean drama, and the series Fresh off the Boat, and slept rather fitfully. Steven managed to sit beside the only mad woman on the plane who loved to talk, but I could avoid any awkard conversations by staring intently at the screen of my Nook. The same Nook e-reader which crashed and wiped itself clean during the flight – I was staring at a screen saying “Your Nook is powered off”. I couldn’t reset it without WiFi, but I was too tired to read anyway.

Iced Coffee
Iced Coffee in Kuala Lumpur Airport

We had a few hours to kill in KL, so we stopped off in Old Town White Coffee for some rather nice iced white coffee. After that, it was a short hop over to Siem Reap and a lost luggage ordeal. Three backpacks left Dublin, and two arrived in Siem Reap. Steven’s was lost somewhere between Ireland and Cambodia, and the officials in charge of lost baggage didn’t exactly fill us with hope. One was sorting out another couple who had lost a case, and the other official was milling around trying to avoid eye contact and minimise his workload.

Clothes shopping
Clothes shopping in the Old Market

The taxi from the airport to our hotel, the Shadow Angkor Residence, was only $7. Even with the driver’s best efforts to not get us there and bring us to a completely different hotel, Steven managed to get us there in one piece (minus the missing luggage). Our hotel is quite comfortable, if a little rough around the edges. Not at all like the grim places I stayed during my brief time in Osaka. As long as it’s reasonably clean, in a convenient location, and has WiFi then I’m more than happy. After unloading most of our stuff, we headed back out to the market heaven that is Siem Reap, clothes shopping with Steven. Some definitely genuine Colombia walking trousers for sale, and a few North Face and Jack Wolfskin bags. Whether they’re fakes (probable), seconds (less likely), or stolen from other tourists (hopefully not), it’s probably best to avoid them. They’re cheap, at the very least.

Our room in Shadow Angkor Residence


We stopped off for a beer in the famous Pub Street, a rowdy area bounded by giant neon signs and full of touristy joints offering cheap beer and expensive food, before seeking out our gastronomic destination. Lilypop Restaurant is a tiny family run joint offering Asian fusion and Cambodian cuisine. We showed up and got lucky, though I recommend booking in advance if you’re keen as we saw a number of people turned away – it only seated sixteen people. I ordered Amok chicken, and the food did not disappoint. I had a few average meals in Siem Reap last year, but the standard in Lilypop was much better, and we were served by a Belgian with a German accent. You can’t get much more authentic than that!  We ended the night with a wander through the Night Market and stopped in the Red Piano on Pub Street for a margarita. Living the dream.

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