Sweaty Siem Reap

Jesus fucking christ its hot here. The one livid memory I have of this place was when the power went out for 24 hours and it was like the end of the world for all the Westerners in town. No aircon, no lights, no fans, no electricity to charge our gadgets or keep the beers cold – we were helpless. As a foreword this post may not have many pictures as I was trying to conserve what little battery I did have left before the blackout.

Now the power is out and the whole hostel is forced out of their rooms as it is getting stuffy as fuck and we all scramble our way through the darkness, to the bar downstairs. And so we are all forced to mingle and socialize without being distracted by our mobile gadgetry, Yay! Not.

But really it’s not so bad, apparently power outages are not uncommon in Cambodia, we learn quickly that these things are a fact of life for the locals and walking around outside they don’t seem to be too troubled in the slightest. And so the hostel (The Siem Reap Hostel) lit up lots of candles and put them around the bar, setting the scene for a romantic candlelit night for the guests. Pretty much everyone got to know each other as we all had nothing else to do, nowhere to go. We also had to finish as much beer as we could before they go warm as there’s no more power to keep them chilled! The fact that they are only 50c helps us along the way.

Now going into the night was hard: as we all started heading to bed it became apparent it was going to be impossible to sleep in a dorm with no AC or fan with 9 other people breathing hard and heavy. You could see everyone lying in their own pool of sweat, I myself also feeling like a disgusting sweaty pig. I did try to cool off in the pool downstairs (yes there is a pool!) but I still had to get to sleep. I tried the hammock and the deckchairs but kept getting bitten my mosquitos, it was a fucking nightmare. By now its already 4am and am still trying to sleep.

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And so the sun came up, and I without any sleep looked at myself in the mirror, a dreary sweaty zombie. As the rest of the hostel emerge from their dorms they all look in pretty terrible shape as well. Everyone was still wondering when the power would come back on, most of us have never lived through a blackout this long – the staff replied that not even they know when it might be back, ‘sometimes it lasts a few hours and sometimes up to 4 days.’ FOUR FUCKING DAYS.

I am not even in Siem Reap for that long, I have shit to do, things to see! And so me and my Swedish buddies Sofie and Fiona decide that we can’t just sit around and wait for the power to come back so we head out into town and explore a little bit of Siem Reap. It’s not that big (the touristy part of it anyway) but it is a nice little change to see Pub Street in the daytime (we had gone out for drinks the night before). But what the fuck is this? All of Pub Street still has electricity! It was as if the blackout affected different city blocks at random. And so we had lunch there and charged our phones, neglecting each other for a little bit as we reconnected to all our social channels.

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After that we head out for Angkor Wat via tuk-tuk and we stayed until the sunset for the best views; although a little cloud blocked the sun it was still pretty nice. I also didn’t realize how big Angkor Wat is – the temple grounds could probably fit inside it the entire touristy district of Siem Reap! It was surrounded by a big square moat with only just the one stone causeway bridge facing the sunset.

Not long after we were all ‘templed out’ (thanks Sue). It was time for dinner, and Happy Herb Pizza is on the menu! Now I know what you’re thinking; how the fuck does weed even taste good on a pizza? Short answer: it doesn’t! Only Fiona and I get the ‘Happy’ Pizza (i.e. Pizza a la ganja) and Sofie settles on the normal pizza. In retrospect I should have just got like a normal BBQ chicken pizza or something cos my weed pizza tasted a little bitter and only gave you a really mediocre high, pretty meh. I think we all agree it would have been much easier to just smoke the stuff – it’s pretty easy to get weed off the tuk-tuk drivers who beckon you to inspect their warez after refusing their taxi services. The stuff they sell is also pretty crap too, all branches and seeds – yuck.

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By the time we get back to the hostel the power is back on! Never in my life have I appreciated aircon as much as I did then. It was like we had been saved by none other than the almighty Zeus from above, sending down a mighty bolt of lightning to spark them power generators (at least thats what I thought with my moderate high). Our 24 hours without power was up and we again felt at home in the warm (cool) embrace of technology and electricity…

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