Why Siem Reap, Cambodia?
Without exception, friends and coworkers in Asia told us we had to visit Siem Reap, Cambodia, especially to see the temples. Neither of us is religious or very spiritual, and Darcie has low tolerance for (i.e., becomes bitchy during) high heat and humidity, so we never visited. But even after we repatriated to the US, people kept raving about Angkor Wat and the Cambodian culture, so we made it a destination.
During our first full day in Cambodia, Darcie was on a mission to get a $5 foot-long...massage. First we had to justify the need for massages by exploring the markets. We walked around the huge open-air shopping market where food items like raw meat and fish were right next to clothing.
We decided upon one-hour foot massage/shoulder massage/reflexology sessions for $6 each, the going rate! Dale's masseuse begged him to get a foot scrub, since his feet were black and calloused from walking around in sandals. He declined. We tipped her well.
In the evening, we walked to Phare Circus, an acrobatic/dance/painting/music performance by Cambodian youth that was spectacular. The gymnastics were similar to the Chinese acrobats, but the story line, acting and painting made the performance different - much more emotional - and the kids performing were exuberant.
Since the theatre was only a mile from our hotel, we decided to walk there. However, it was not a fun walk - we took unlit, dirt roads (except for one paved road, appropriately named "Concrete Drain Road"), through mosquito havens, open fields, and packs of feral dogs (or from Dale's perhaps-more-objective-perspective, 2 loose, barking dogs, one of which was a pint-sized creature more afraid of us than vice-versa). On the same walk, Dale, in sandals, stepped in a puddle of brown goo which we both hoped was merely mud. In any case, after the show, we took a tuk-tuk home. Ah, the luxury!
Afterwards, we went out to Pub Street for people-watching and drinks. At the Banana Leaf restaurant, we took advantage of their free-beer-with-a-burger special to try the local Anchor/Angkor beer (mild but refreshing when it's 93-f@#%ing-degrees outside) and eat a crocodile burger. It didn't quite taste like chicken, but it wasn't bad. We also had drinks at the Red Piano, allegedly Angelina Jolie's favorite restaurant in Siem Reap. There was nothing special about the place other than its great location.