Sunday, February 8, 2009

I've been lax again

Now is one of the most genuine and kind-hearted people I know and I'm proud to be her friend. She is a souvenir seller at Angkor Wat.
You'd think I'd be able to find the time to update my blog, I'm only in Siem Reap for goodness sake, not in some remote village in the back of beyond. However my excuse is that the hotel I stayed in last night didn't have free wi-fi and neither does the hotel I moved into today. The rest of the time I haven't stopped to catch breath. However the internet aside, both hotels are excellent and I shouldn't moan as they are both complimentary, courtesy of the respective hotel's sales teams. The Victoria Angkor, where I stayed last night, was top drawer stuff. They gave me the Maharadjah Suite room and it was like a dream, the bed was so comfortable that I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. It's a 5-star hotel so I would expect it to be pretty good and it didn't disappoint. This morning I moved to the Tara Angkor, a new boy to Siem Reap's four-star class hotels and it too is damn fine. I stayed here a couple of weeks ago and the breakfasts are the best ever. My room is pretty good though the bathroom could be a little bigger and my mouth is already watering when I think of tomorrow's breakfast!
My classy bedroom at Victoria Angkor Hotel
Now and I arriving at the wedding party, with the sun full in our face
I got into town on Saturday after the usual six-hour bus trip from Phnom Penh, meeting my pal Sokhom and another friend, Chunly, who I hadn't seen for two years, at the lunch-stop in Kompong Thom en route. I popped into the Shadow of Angkor guesthouse to see Kim and her family before booking into the Victoria, having a quick swim and then out for dinner with Thanet, the sales manager of the Tara Angkor. As always she is the most generous of hosts and my chicken curry was unusually presented but pretty tasty. This morning I was out at 6.30am to take part in one of the traditional ceremonies for the wedding of Dary, the sister-in-law of my best friend Rieng. I joined a long line of guests carrying trays of assorted goodies to the home of the bride's parents, in this case, Rieng's newly-built house, before we tucked into an open-air breakfast, bathed in glorious sunshine. I retired to the Victoria to pack before Now arrived on her moto to take me to the lunchtime wedding party at a local restaurant, where nearly 500 guests ate and drank themselves to their hearts content. Now and I left around 2pm and headed out for a whistle-stop visit to a couple of areas of Angkor Wat I've never been to before and then we joined the hordes on top of Phnom Bakheng for sunset. I wanted to see how bad it really is these days and believe me, it was gruesome. Every possible vantage point was taken well before sunset and most of the audience was Asian, and very pushy. It was not a moment to savour in the slightest but we stuck it out til the end before we wandered back down the hill in the dark and headed for home. Now returned to her home in the Angkor Park whilst I headed for a curry at the popular Curry Walla and the internet shop, where I'm typing this right now.
The sun is out for the newly-married couple, with Dary resplendent in her 10th outfit change of the day
It got even worse than this at the top of Phnom Bakheng as sunset approached, as the scramble for places intensified

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