The airplane that took me from Manila to Siem Reap in Cambodia smoothly landed and in no time I was back in terra firma, but with a difference: I’m at the land of the Khmers, the Angkor Wat, the Mekong and tarantula eating people of Indochina. For my entire lifetime, I’ve finally set foot in this country.
Despite being impressed by the Siem Reap International Airport, it was actually the tuktuk ride that made me take out my camera and just took the driver’s back (above). The streets were not as crowded, at still 2130H (minus an hour from Manila, GMT -7). It was instead deserted.
Eerily familiar but at the same time I’m constantly reminded that I’m in a foreign city with the countless hotels and resorts in traditional Khmer or contemporary architecture, dotting a long stretch of the national highway. The smell to was different. Something that I am not familiar with. Strange. I asked myself if it was the aroma of Khmer food being prepared or the body odor of the driver before me.
But then, I was also looking back to the whirlwind trip I had the past weeks: 17 October, Zamboanga and Tawitawi; 22 October, KL and Alor Setar; 26 October, Cotabato and Maguindanao; 28 October, Siem Reap, Cambodia and next week, 6 November, Vigan.
It is tiring but I’m just keeping myself distracted and busy. Its slowly working though. But somehow, I’m not feeling the strong tug of visiting Angkor Wat in the next four days. I will be back here, for sure, and I might opt to skip the temples.