25.12.2008 - 26.12.2008 24 °C
This blog is dedicated to cuisine in Cambodia. Andy and I both admitted today that the Cambodia leg of our trip was the one we had the most doubts about. We were worried about transportation, standards of living, and mostly what we were going to have to eat...and now we have to eat our words. Cambodia does not have too many taxis, cars are mostly rented for long hauls but they have tuk-tuks. We had to say good-bye to our beloved tuk-tuk driver, Peron, today. He dropped us off at the airport in Phnom Penh this morning. Peron has been our only source of transportation since we got to Psquared. We also took a tuk-tuk today when we arrived in Siem Reap.
As far as hotels go, we have stayed at really awesome hotels in Cambodia. We had to splurge a little more in P2 because it was Xmas and it was hard to find a hotel at all but even at that it was cheaper than a hotel in Vegas, off the strip. In SR we are staying at a really nice hotel too. They greeted us with a fresh squeezed juice when we checked in...I could really get use to this....and it cost less than a motel 6 in San Diego.
Now for the food. Today we were discussing our visions of what Cambodia was like before we got here. The Khmer cuisine is really good. We have not been disappointed by any meal so far. It is very similar to Thai without the spice, but with a hint of chinese as well. The coconut steamed rice is divine and perfect for the curries and sauces. The fresh squeezed juices are very popular and very inexpensive. Today we gorged ourselves on fish amok (khmer curry), shrimp khymer soup ( lemongrass and galanga), and baked pumpkin. Add on 2 fresh apple juices and a tall beer and the total was only $15. We were in heaven just watching traffic go by as we ate out khmer delicacies.
Oh yeah, everyone in Cambodia takes dollars...USD. It's very strange. On our first day we tried to change a hundred dollar bill at the hotel, the cashier proceeded to hand andy back USDs in small bills. Confused, andy tried to explain that we wanted riels....the cashier laughed and asked if he was sure. He produced 2 very thick stacks of crisp 500 riels. He than said "This is $5, do you want more?" We were confused because we didn't know that Cambodia, like Vietnam, readily expected the US Dollar over their own currency. We have not been able to use those riels we exchanged 2 days ago...and everytime we use USDs our change is given back to us in Riels.
Today we are mainly meandering around town, saving energy for Angkor Wat tomorrow. We have bought a lot of trinkets, since they seem to be cheaper and better made in Cambodia. We finalized the rest of our trip and unfortunately Lao did not happen due to timing and money constraints. There were not as many flights to Luang Prabang from Siem Reap as we had hoped (sorry my pacific islander friend). You will have to tune into to see what we have planned for the rest of our trip.
We hope that everyone had a good Christmas. We ordered room service and took in a massage...not very Christmassy but very relaxing since both of us had never ordered room service before....maybe it will be a new xmas tradition.