Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Siem Reap - under water

On Friday morning we headed out to the airport for our 6:30am flight.  The plane took off at 6:15am - the great thing about Lao Airlines is that, if everyone is checked in, they get the show rolling.  We had a stop at Pakse and the connecting flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia also took off early and we got landed nearly an hour earlier than planned.

On the downside Lao Airline food does leave something to be desired. A meal pack at 6:35am including a cold hamburger and cold fries is NOT that appealing. The little cake and 2 wedges of apple were fine

As we descended to Siem Reap airport the views gave us a hint of what was to come.  Everywhere you looked there was water

When we got into town the streets were full of water.  We decided to walk downtown from our hotel.  Siem Reap has a river running through the centre of town. Water was spilling out from the river but wasn't too bad at our location.  Just over our shoes.

When we got downtown the water was mid-calf to knee height.  Shops were open and the old market trading

Outside the Old Market

It didn't stop people making their way about

We had the best meal of the trip at lunch in a cafe in town - Amok the Cambodian curry and national dish...mmmm
So after a hard day trudging through flood water we grabbed a tuk-tuk back to the hotel in the afternoon.  There was a couple of hours downpour. When we went out to the road to get transport back down to town for an evening meal we were told town was closed and water was up to thigh-high in places. 

At least our hotel had a superb restaurant so we weren't completely stranded. A boutique hotel that was a restored colonial building and had once been the foreign correspondent's club

We knew we were by the riverside, we just didn't realise the river was going to be quite so close.

On a serious note 100 people have drowned in the floods so far and large tracts of the rice crop have been lost - meaning hardship ahead in the coming months

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rain Man Andrew

Rainy season is drawing to a close and most rain has been falling at night so it doesn't affect us too badly. 

When we get a torrential downpour - it buckets down.

This afternoon it came down and I thought Andrew had postponed his swim when the rain started.  But when I looked outside . . .

No apologies  for the wobbly camera and soft focusing - it is hard to shot with an umbrella in one hand and a camera in the other

And while he is getting a hard time... here is how it looks when he has dried off after the pool.  Perhaps some remedial tuition on how to operate a towel is needed?  Nah, who needs a towel when you have a T-Shirt.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Life as a routine

We have had been living an enjoyable, but routine life for the last few weeks.

Last week we had a fleeting visit from Tony & Jane.  It was a bit of a contrast for them from Central Otago snow to our tropical humidity.  But we had a great time showing them around town.

Luckily the pool at the apartment, and BeerLao wherever we go, helps most people cope.  (Not sure what the expression on Andrew's face is all about)

One place we have not taken any of our guests yet is a local outdoor bar.  We sometimes go around for a beer later on a Saturday afternoon.  At that time lots of factory workers from 3 or 4 nearby garment factories finish for the week.  [ There was a report in the local paper recently the average garment factory worker earns about NZD75 per month! ]  Many of the girls live in dormitories attached to the factories, while others get picked up by trucks and taken back to their villages.

Sometimes there is a hive of people activity, so it is an interesting people-watching spot.   Some of the locals talk to us and maybe enjoy watching us as something different in the neighbourhood and we are becoming recognised as semi-regulars and we always sit at the same table. 
Andrew's charm doesn't always convince the little girls he isn't too scary as they run away giggling.

Every time just 10 metres from the bar a lady cooks bits of chicken.  Standing in the smoke taking her work very seriously.  We finally actuallt took a photo of her. 

We did a quick visa run on Saturday morning.  We used to grab a tuk-tuk to the bridge across to Thailand when we first arrived.  Now we have progressed to flagging down the local bus.  This time there were no spare seats so people rearranged themselves to give the falang (foreigners) a seat.  The shopping bags full of vegetables from the market got moved around and I sat in the backseat.  Meanwhile Andrew folded himself into a small ball and managed to climb over two rows of seats while the bus was moving and sat beside the driver and another passenger.
Only the good boys get to sit beside the driver