I’m starting to feel a bit more acclimated. Stepping outside this morning I surprised myself thinking, it’s actually cool today! Of course, “cool” meaning I don’t feel like I’m melting into a giant puddle the moment I leave my room. Somehow I thought being from Florida would have prepared me for the ever-present heat…
This morning I met up with Sarah, the PEPY Tours manager, for brunch. We chatted about our travels and adjusting to new places and cultures. I breathed a sigh of relief when she told me she also lost her appetite after moving to Siem Reap, assuring me it would return with a vengeance. After polishing off some fruit-filled pancakes served with I side of ice cream (no joke) I braved the city for another day determined to make it my own.
Taking advantage of the “cool” weather I staked out an empty bench by the river and got lost in a book. When I couldn’t sit still any longer I wandered around the Old Market, mistakenly walking too close to the meat vendors, before tracking down some free A/C.
Every time I go to the Blue Pumpkin I have to pinch myself. A café located in the touristy part of town, the Blue Pumpkin feels like God’s gift to people-watchers. It also seems out of place amongst the dusty streets and eager vendors.
A favorite tourist hangout, white sofas line one wall complete with lap trays enabling simultaneous eating and lounging. Careful not to get my dirt-covered feet anywhere near the couch I hoisted myself up, sipping a pineapple smoothie and trying not to obviously eavesdrop. To my right, a French family gobbled up gelato while the British duo on my left sipped hot tea. All the while a German couple browsed pastries and sipped espresso.
Hitting the streets again I located the Angkor Market and was immediately overwhelmed by all the products they offered. Braving the crowded aisles I secured some treasures of my own: bottled water, Raid (the ants in my room are no longer welcome), a bath towel, a jar of crunchy peanut butter, one spoon (to eat my peanut butter with), dish soap and a dish towel (so I can wash and dry my spoon).
Lugging my precious cargo home I felt fleeting envy towards a group of retirees spilling out of their air-conditioned bus, trudging towards their five-star hotel. Deep down though, I know I am getting a more authentic, tale-worthy experience. While the week-long tourists are relaxing in style I’m spraying for ants in my new “kitchen” surrounded by freshly washed undergarments. If I can make it here during the next 190 days, I can make it anywhere.