*SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA
8:35 AM “Splash!” This sudden sound wakes me from slumber. I get up and see Trebor, a German backpacker in deep sleep on his still perfectly made bed and Doc, an Australian backpacker passed out on the cold stone floor of our hotel room.
8:37 AM The 3 of us checked into ‘Temple Inn’ late last night as soon as we arrived here in Cambodia. Looking out our 2nd floor room window, I realized the splashing was from the swimming pool that we didn’t even know this hotel had. This 3 star hotel in the heart of Siem Reap costs us just $5 each per night, loving these Cambodian prices – a nice change from hostels.
9:02 AM After putting on my swim trunks, I tape a note on Doc’s forehead to let the guys know that we have a friggen pool and I’ll be there. Damn it’s hot.
9:45 AM Floating in the pool feeling zenned out and nearly asleep, the water around me suddenly reacts violently and I sink. As I open my eyes underwater, I see it’s Trebor and Doc side by side sinking in sync while in canon ball position – bastards.
10:57 AM The awesome staff brings us breakfast while we chill with some Mary Janes on the pool lounge chairs. Rice, beef, eggs, fruit and blunts, life is good.
11:49 AM Showered up and munchies going strong, Toi, our travel guide + tuktuk driver on retainer picks us up to go to the Floating Village. Before getting in, he lifts a blanket off the floor of his tuktuk to a beautiful sight, 2 sealed cases of Angkor Beer making a total of 48 beers with a cooler on the side. Speechless, before we can ask Toi how much we owe him, he said the beer is on him but we gotta buy the ice. DEAL!
12:08 PM After picking up a bag of ice we head towards the War Museum while guzzling down some beers in the open air tuktuk. This is how to travel.
12:37 PM The War Museum may not be a well organized one but it is the most fun and interactive. As the only guests we were owning the place, literally playing with just about every weapon that wasn’t locked up and sitting in the seats of the war machines. Greatest playground ever.
1:42 PM On our way to the Floating Village, we see Julia and Jenny, German backpackers we traveled with in Laos, just walking on the road in the middle of nowhere. It turns out their tuktuk broke down so they hopped in ours. These chance encounters are common while on the backpacking trail and it’s a great thing.
2:13 PM We get to a dock full of makeshift boats and rent one out to get to the Floating Village. With the cooler of never-ending beer in tow, the 6 of us embark in our little party boat.
3:29 PM As we entered the Floating Village, everyone got quiet and admired in awe this amazing village that’s actually floating. It’s was one of those precious moments in travel when you realize why you travel in the first place.
6:15 PM In the calm open water with the Floating Village a few hundred meters behind us, we crack open our last beers in tandem, make a toast as we watch the red sun set over vast nothingness.
8:09 PM Back at our hotel, we get ourselves cleaned up to meet up with Julia and Jenny for dinner.
8:37 PM Toi picks us up then we pick up the girls at their hotel and we all have dinner at a night market. I have ‘red tree ants with beef and holy basil’ and an Angkor beer. Yes, real ants. Yes, it was good.
10:04 PM With the night still young and the streets filling up, we stumbled to Pub Street. As you can imagine, it was a street full of pubs. Awesome.
10:11 PM Before hitting up a bar, we go for a couple of games of billiards, with drinks, naturally.
11:26 PM Toi’s friends meet up with us and instead of partying in the tourist filled Pub Street (which I don’t mind), we pile as many of us on just a few motorbikes and go to a local bar with no foreigners, save for us.
12:26 AM Albeit only 24 hours of being in Cambodia, the Cambodian people are just plain good people. Of the hundred or so people in this bar, only the 5 of us were foreigners yet we feel like we belong – and it’s not the beer talking. Our first day in Siem Reap is a success.
[All photography shot with a Hitcase Pro equipped iPhone.]