Travel to Cambodia (Angkor): Siem Reap and Vicinity
The Cambodians appear to have little love for the Thais, and so it seems appropriate that the town serving Angkor Wat should be called Siem Reap, as in "Siam Reap," as in "defeat of the Thais." It's a booming place these days--some tiny recompense for the misery suffered here under the Khmer Rouge.
A half-dozen blocks date from the colonial period.
The typical construction is in the pattern of the Chinese shophouse, with shopowners living above their shops.
Money and international taste combine to protect these buildings and refurbish them. Good thing that the boom didn't start 40 years ago: all this stuff would have been bulldozed.
Even new construction conforms, more or less, to the established pattern.
Tourist dollars--and this means U.S. dollars, not metaphorical dollars or even Cambodian riels-- make it happen.
How long did it take you to spot those golden arches?
The Cambodians themselves shop in a market at the northeast corner of Siem Reap. Here, masquerading as whiskey, is fuel for their motorscooters.
And here's the market, graced by a pole sign. Naturally, it advertises cigarettes.
Donors aren't modest: they really do like signs expressing the recipient's humble gratitude. Here, a sign acknowledging Japan's donation of funds to pay for part of a new highway. The picture looks like an American road map from the 1950s.
Farther out of town: the bunded rice fields that now occupy the East Baray.
Sugaring off, in this case boiling cane syrup to make chunks of brown sugar. It's wrapped in palm leaves and sold to tourists.
Fishing in the Srah Srang, a rectangular pool east of Ta Prohm.
On the road to Banteay Srei: ricks of fuelwood.
Off to market.
Premium fuel: a sack of charcoal sells for about four dollars.
The dollars do trickle. Here, a simple house--thatch and matting on poles--but with wheels in the garage.
A fancier production, with metal roof, wood walls, and concrete footings. The tinted metal is an especially nice touch. Down below, a motorcycle.
Prefabricated footings for sale.
Bigger still--sixteen poles instead of nine.
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