Whatta day!!! Woke up to the strangest noise and then realized it was rain on the thatched roof of my bungalow. First rain since I've been in Cambodia. Boy it sure came down for about an hour. It had stopped by the time I got myself to breakfast at 7 a.m. The tuk tuk came early so I was down at the bus station in plenty of time as the bus was about 20 minutes late. Off we went. It was VERY air conditioned...brrr. Luckily I expected that and had my pashmina (Thanks Joanne!) with me so that kept me warm. It was less than four hours to Phonm Penh. Thank goodness I had charged up my MP3 player as it was a god awful thing on the video screen - some woman either warbling or screeching and couples dancing to it. Bizarre, Got a tuk tuk at the station here but he couldn't bring me right to the hotel as it was blocked off. Still stuff going on for the king's funeral. He is cremated so not sure what was on today but this is the last day.
I checked in to the Nawin guest house and was just getting ready to go out when something black ran across the room. A cockroach!!! Eek!! They are common here - doesn't mean things aren't clean. I still quake in my boots thinking of the one on my back in Thailand and how I had to stand on two huge phone books to kill the sucker. This one was a baby compared to that but scared the shit out of me regardless. I swear that sucker was coming at me and boy do they move - I am yelling holy shit holy shit and even though I can't jump I swear I was ready to jump on the closest bed when it suddenly veered off under the bed. I went to the desk and of course by that time he had disappeared but no it took off into the lobby. (unless that was his twin brother...no don't think that Laurie....) The gal sprayed my room but now that I know it's around somewhere...wonder if I will sleep tonight. My niece had one land on her face while she was sleeping in Costa Rica....and she didn't wake us up. I'd have woken up the whole damn tent camp (and probably a few miles down the road as well) for sure.
I then took off walking along the street that parallels the river. I visited Wat Ounalom which was beautiful and went into a small temple when a monk beckoned me. He had me and another fellow take an incense stick and we sat with him. I had to be so careful not to have my feet face the Buddha statue or him as that is an insult. Anyway it was a special little ceremony he did with us including giving us some perfumed oil to put on our faces and of course we left a small offering.
From there onto the Blue Pumpkin where I got a cup of ice cream with two flavours - pineapple and four spices. Oh my the four spices was awesome. I sat upstairs on the cushy sofa where you put your feet up and they brought me a tray and the wifi code. I later ordered a masala chai. My first pot leaked and the young girl beside me told the waiter so he brought me a new pot of tea. Before this the young fellow beside her made a barking noise to get the waiter's attention. I was wtf was that? He and his buddy were dressed in suits and at first I thought they were foreigners as well but they were Cambodian I assume. Anyway there was a great fuss when they ordered. But what happened next was bizarre - the young gal (mid 20's) next to me who was with him started to massage his back. This went on for about 20 minutes and then he lay back on the cushions and went to sleep. ?????????????? Weird. And what added to it was this other caucasian fellow just glaring at him the whole time. Really really strange. I left while he was still sleeping. :)
I carried on walking and crossed over and walked by the river for a while and almost went on a sunset cruise but decided I had had enough of boats for now. So I crossed back and went to a bar, sat outside and had a mug of Angkor draft for 75 cents. I watched the world tuk tuk and motorcycle by. I then walked along some side streets and came upon a market which was interesting...some things I did not want to look at too closely. And even in these narrow lanes you still have motorbikes coming through. I took a short cut through Wat Ounalom and went to take a photo of a figure on some steps and a monk told me NO. Guess he thought I was trying to take a photo of him which I would never do without permission.
I stopped in some shops and got a couple of gifts. Then back here to dump my stuff and head off for a bite to eat. I realized except for ice cream and a baguette at breakfast I hadn't eaten all day!!!
I did walk around outside the Royal Palace as it was all lit up and spectacular. I forgot to mention that when I was by there earlier (my hotel is across the street) there were white roses everywhere. There were tons of people just milling around - in the park opposite and on the sidewalks some people had carpets down and were having picnics!!! Anyway the lighting was magnificent.
I went to a restaurant that we went with the group as I knew it and the food was yummy. Someone was leaving so I was able to snag an outdoor table. My veggie curry and rice had just arrived when who walks in with her tour group but Thyda - our tour leader!! We hugged and she said she would come back and she did and we had a long chat. What a sweet girl. I will be talking more about her in a future post. It was so crazy to be at the same place at the same time but they just came in from Siem Reap today.
I then stopped in and had a foot and leg massage - oh my my. The best ever. And then she did my neck and back. For $7. I was so impressed I gave her a ten dollar bill and told her to keep the change. I usually tip a dollar for that price but she was so good. Her eyes got so big and she just gave the biggest smile and kept bowing and thanking me and was so excited. FOR ME? she said. It was worth it just to see her reaction. With an average wage of $100 a month an extra $3 helps. And is nothing to me.
Back here and hoping the night goes okay. No nightime visitors of the insect kind....or any other kind come to think of it!!! The person above me keeps moving chairs around - I am on the ground floor.
I have my free cyclo tour tomorrow. I hope they remember me as it was arranged so long ago!! It is a full day tour and I am to be picked up between 8:30 and 9. I got it through Intrepid for reading a Dangerous Business blog as she has partnered with them. Works for me!!!