Discovering Siem Reap

Much more than just the city to visit Angkor Wat …

This, for me, is what travelling is about – meeting people, making connections, making new friends and contacts and learning about other cultures.  And here I certainly have!!

Some people make an impression for different reasons, some you bond with, have a deeper connection with, others just in passing but all have an impact on you and your travel experience!!

Arriving late afternoon on Thursday, I found the hostel from the boat trip, by tuk tuk trip, where many tuk tuk drivers vied for our business, filled their vehicles with people and bags before trundling, bouncing and banging back into the town, about half hour ride away.   Under a hot, relentless sun in baked dirt roads and pot-holed tarmac on occasion.

Once there, after my ‘negotiation’ with this tuk tuk driver for next day’s temple tour – very tough, wouldn’t let me down the lane until I agreed a (high) price –  I found the pool clean and inviting!  The gardens lovely – cool and relaxing, tables and chairs, an open air café area by the bar, with travellers sitting and wandering around the area, and three young children in the pool.  Heaven!

The people in the bar area means there’s chance to meet others and again, I was excited to see that opportunity.  Great so far!!  As I booked in at the bar, a young blond guy sat there caught my eye and nodded and of course I respond with nod and smile back. It begins – connection.

Later when I’d settled in to my ‘luxury’ room for just £10 a night (double bed, en suite bathroom small but clean, tiled floor and walls, wooden door and cabinets – so much for so little!  I changed for a swim and found a table to by the pool, somewhere to leave my sarong, bag and towel, and then stepped into the warm, blue water, for a cool dip!! Oh yes!! Perfect.  Relaxing.  Cool!

Stopping at the side the just chill, I caught his eye again and smiled, and we got chatting.  This is how easy it is to meet new people, and learn so much!  We talked about the swimming, his reading, and then when I got out, went to sit with him.

He turned out to be Patrick, a Dutchman (and again, such nice, friendly and conversational people who are interesting and interested!).   Our conversation developed, chit chat about travel plans then our various experiences, places visited and aimed for, and then more personal details like names and dreams, then deeper still into who you are and what makes you tick! 

Clearly, with his book we had similar interests and outlooks.  He was reading The Art of Happiness which I then downloaded to also read, being a fan of the Dalai Lama and personal development!

I love the sharing, the honesty and openness of these new relationships, the trust and real interest we have in each other. 

Patrick later showed me around the town ‘taking me out for dinner’ and showing me around – we ate street noodles on the edge of the park, by the road, along with a multitude of locals, tourists and travellers alike!

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