High Tide in Siem Reap

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We arrived to Siem Reap during a flood. Men at the transport station had described water up to their knees in effort to get us to wait a few days (and stay at their guesthouse) before making the trip. Luckily, as we had figured, it was not as dramatic as they tried to make it out to be. Yes, there was some flooding, but beautiful little Siem Reap was entirely accessible.

Showers of rain dispersed intermittently throughout our taxi ride to town. The car swerved around a flooded street and lead us down a potholed dirt road. In the dark, it was hard to tell what part of town we were in. Our introduction felt third world, but in a way so enchanting that I smile at the memory.

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The taxi pulled up to an address sandwiched between a massive metal gate and a tiny corner convenience stand. Across the street was a laundry facility and a children’s English school. Street lighting was minimal and the road was rough. I liked it immediately.

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We were welcomed into a guesthouse complete with a dense garden in the entryway and hammocks hidden amongst the orchids. The resident cat immediately curled up on the edge of the chair as we sat down for a welcome drink.

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The restaurant served us Khmer Fish Curry in banana leaves, salted peanuts, and Angkor Beer. Bright orange fabric and gold buddhas decorated the open-air room, and a strong roof protected us from the occasional rain shower. After a day of struggling to get across the border without being scammed, there was no better place to be.

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