Getting what I needed
Trip Start Jul 22, 2009
163Trip End Ongoing
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I next ask about flight tickets from Siem Reap to Bangkok. I've been trying to decide whether I spend 12+ hours on a bus with a long border crossing and bus changes in 35+ C degree weather for $15 or spend $160 on a 1.5 hour flight. As the young woman is checking ticket prices and flight times I scan some brochures for accommodations in Siem Reap. I grab a couple. Then one of the other workers comes along and asks if I have accommodations in Siem Reap. I say no. I had already checked the HostelWorld app on my iPhone but hadn't confirmed anything. After my $6 shared accommodations of the past couple nights I was looking for a room to myself. The guy mentions that he can get me a room for $15 that would cost me $20 if I book it myself. He shows me the brochure. Looks good. Near the downtown area but not right in the noisy sections. The boat stops on the lake 15kms from Siem Reap. The hotel will also send a tuk-tuk to pick me up. He also asks whether I want 2 twin beds or a double. I pick the double. I don't book my airline ticket. Plans change and I can book that closer to the date I decide to leave.
This morning I get up early for the 7h30 boat trip. I meet up with the Brazilians. They are taking the bus to Siem Reap. They also enquired about taking the boat but were discouraged in taking it.
I arrive at the docks and take my pre-assigned seat in the boat. There's mass confusion as some people are in their pre-assigned seats and others have taken any seat they wanted. Arguements erupt everywhere. The boat casts off when we quickly start backing up. Two passengers have just arrived on the docks. We pick them up.
This boat is completely enclosed. It's a fast boat. You can't see much out the windows. Some people have congregated on the bow. Others have climbed onto the roof. I chat a little with the older couple from France sitting next to me. This boat is mostly filled with tourists. I'm quite sure the bus is filled with travelers. The demographics are different, as are the reasons for being here.
I spend some time on the roof and some in my seat. Seven hours is a long time to be sitting. There's nowhere to walk, really.
We arrive at the docks outside of Siem Reap. I'm one of the first ones off the boat and have my pack. There are a bunch of drivers holding signs with names on them. No one is holding on with my name on it but I do see a "Paul Dep" on one. Then I notice that the sign also says Riverside Hotel. This must be my driver. Where did that name come from?
I meet Mr. In. He will be my driver. We do the 16 kms to the hotel. When we arrive he asks if I need him to drive me anywhere. I say no, that I'll be walking tonight but that I might need him tomorrow. Then he asks if I need a girl. I decline that offer.
I'm checking in when an earlier male arrival isn't very happy. He booked a room 3 days ago with a double bed. The hotel says they don't have. Only a room with 2 twins. He's paying over $20 a night. He's not very happy. I quickly get my key. Get to my room. A double bed in the back corner of the hotel. I love my life!
I then go wander around town taking pictures. I end up at the market around supper time. Three lovely ladies entice me to sit in their restaurant. The menu is quite varied. We chat as I eat.
Walking back to the hotel and I walk by a hotel where they also give massages. Maria asks if I want a massage. I say later after I drop my camera off at the hotel. Time to try a Cambodian massage. I go back an hour later. $5.00 for a one hour massage. During the massage she asks if I want a "special" massage. Only $20.
After the massage I wander around town. I end up at the same market where I had supper. They're all trying to sell me some piece of clothing or souvenir. I decline. I arrive at the end of an aisle of goods and the women who served me supper see me and start saying Happy New Year, laughing and giggling all the time. They know I've had supper but get me to sit down and have something to drink. We chat some more. It's after 9h30 and they close at ten. One of the women, Chanlae, tells me that she doesn't work tomorrow. She had told me earlier that she was twenty, her friends were nineteen. I jokingly asks if she'll join me for a day of touring tomorrow. Her friends push her to say yes. One of her friends asks me for my phone number. I give her my business card. I chat with this woman for a while. She goes to University. Starting her 4th year in accounting so that she can work in a bank.
Chanlae is busy helping other customers. She comes back and agrees to go touring with me. I ask where she lives and to show me on a map. She lives just across the river from the hotel. I say she can meet me at my hotel in the morning as I've already booked a tuk-tuk. The problem is that she doesn't know the hotel where I'm staying. I say we can walk there once she finishes work and then I'll walk her home. She says no, she has a moto and can drive me back to the hotel.
It's much past 10PM when the last customer leaves. She gives me a ride to the hotel and one of her friends follows along on her bicycle. I had told Mr. In that we would leave at 7AM to go visit the temples. Chanlae is tired from working and will meet me at 8AM. I agree to see her then.
I go to bed wondering if she'll show up. She had been pressured by her friends to go with me. I sense that this is not something that she's ever done before. She's been quite shy all evening.