Sunday, September 13, 2009
I've just arrived in Siem Reap thanks to the spot-on schedule of the Mekong Express bus company. We left at 8.30am and got in at 2.30pm, with a 30 minute stop at Kompong Thom, where I said hello to my friends Sokhom and Chhunly as I munched my way through some chicken friend rice. Very noticeable along the route was the amount of water virtually everywhere but particularly as we passed through Kompong Cham and Kompong Thom provinces. Parts of the main road were flooded at Kompong Thmor though we drove through it easy enough, showering the pedestrians closeby the roadside. Work has been slow for Sokhom though a contract with Waseda University for ferrying students to Sambor Prei Kuk has kept him ticking over during the low season. I didn't have time to visit his new house but I will try on my way back in a few days. Chhunly has just finished high school and has hopes to go to university in Phnom Penh but the age old problem of finances may prevent her doing that as her parents can't afford it. Meanwhile she has been continuing her dance practice and gave me a picture of her in her traditional dance costume, and tells me she has a part-time job at the American restaurant in town. I'm just typing this in my room at the HanumanAlaya then I'll be out the door and heading to Angkor to catch the sunset (though its unlikely to be much cop with the weather we've been having) at one of the outlying temples. I have some vip clients arriving tomorrow morning and I'll be spending the next three days with them. It'll be interesting as I reckon I haven't had a formal tour guide experience around Angkor for more than a decade. Also lots of people to catch up with whilst I'm here especially Now, who I've booked for dinner tonight. She even has some of her own photos from her recent Preah Vihear trip for sale at 4Faces - another first for this young lady who has a suitcase full of them over the last couple of months.