I’m currently on a 1-week sojourn in Siem Reap, Cambodia to attend the BlogFest Asia 2012. It’s my second time to be here after attending another conference last year in this lovely town which is more popularly known as the ‘Gateway to the Majestic Angkor Wat’.
This is my second blog post in my “Milking my Siem Reap Experience Dry” Series. This also serves as my entry to the “My Impressions on Siem Reap” Blog Contest.
Great civilizations die and disappear. Walled cities crumble and fall. But Siem Reap? It trudges along merrily and avoids tedium by shifting effortlessly from ho-hum “same same” one minute to va-va-voom the next.
I was exploring the inner sanctums of the Siem Reap Night Market for the nth time two nights ago, about to doze off while going over those endless piles of Angkor Wat T-shirts, when I felt a palpable excitement and energy from across the stall and saw a sight that left my mouth open for a good 10-minute or so (thank goodness the flies have already called it a day and were nowhere to be found!). Transvestites or ladyboys, as locals call them, were strutting their stuff on stage for free!
I quickly realized that Siem Reap is fast transitioning from a sleepy yet charming town to a place bursting with development, vibrance and energy! And if you need more convincing, you need not look farther. The flashy cars crisscrossing the city’s streets are proof enough. Why, I think Siem Reap has the highest concentration of Lexus and Land Cruisers per square kilometer than any other medium-sized city in the whole of Southeast Asia! Public officials here really do have good taste!
The city has a good appetite too for the green dough and it would be an understatement to say that business establishments here have dollars coming out of their ears. The US dollar is widely used and even the good old tuktuk driver would rather you pay him in dollars than in the local currency.
You will also see this growing cosmopolitan outlook in the way people dress. Goodness gracious, there’s even a dress code that you have to follow before you can visit the Silk Farm! These silk worms must really have puritanical sensibilities that we should not dare offend, I said to myself.
But if there’s one good reason why tourists will always arrive in droves to this city, it is that people here have found the key to happiness. Now, what city can beat that?
Other Related Stories