When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

"If you're not scared or angry at the thought of a human brain being controlled remotely, then it could be this prototype of mine is finally starting to work." - John Alejandro King, My War On Terror!


"As President I will not make decisions based on polls. In fact, I won't give you a single thing that you want. That's called leadership."

Dogbert for President Prime Minister of Singapore!
Cambodia Trip
Day 1 (23/9) - Siem Reap: Banteay Srei, Landmine Museum, Artisans Angkor, Apsara

4:30am saw us sleepily at the airport and weighing our baggage to see who brought the least. The record was <4kg.

Most of the girls brought jackets. Given that they would be used a total of 2 times, I wasn't sure what the point was. Some claimed the hotels might be cold, but I had a feeling the airconditioning would be anaemic. Someone added that this would be if it worked in the first place.

Hideous getup of boots with a dress

The camwhoring started very early. Discounting the usual pre-departure and inflight pictures, people bizarrely starting taking pictures of the Siem Reap airport tarmac.

On my part I noticed a strange burning smell on getting off the plane. Maybe it was proto-haze.

Most places we visited in Cambodia with printed price lists didn't even bother listing their prices in Cambodian riels, instead using US Dollars (Ivan: 'finally, you realise there's a currency more useless than the US dollar'). If nothing, this makes for shorter signs (4000 riels = US$1 in most places).

On the way to the hotel we passed a "New Angkor Market". The sign also had Japanese, and the place screamed "tourist trap".

All the locals in Siem Reap not in uniform wore slippers of some sort. It must be a rural thing.

At the hotel we had breakfast. It only had Continental/American breakfasts, sadly. And when I took some soy sauce from a container to spoon onto my fried eggs (2 of them, which had been fried together in a contiguous whole) I found 2 small flying organisms floating in it.

We then went to Banteay Srei, a small temple complex. Someone said that in contrast to some of the other temples, which represented linga-s (Sanskrit: Lingam - the term I am more familiar with) - phalluses, this represented the female organ (Sanskrit: Yoni).


The uncharacteristic lack of photo captions you find here and will find in my other Cambodia posts is due to the characteristic lack of them on the various sites I was at.
[MFTTW: wah lau eh. no captions. banteay srei is the nicest of all the temples lor.]

Main Complex entrance


Justin about to step on a booby-trapped flagstone. Unfortunately the trap had spoilt after a millennium lacking maintenance.

At tourist areas in Cambodia, souvenirs were generally cheap, while food and drink were expensive. An ice cream truck at Banteay Srei sold some varieties for US$1 - which was more than the S$1.10-1.20 they'd have cost in Singapore. Meanwhile drinks cost US$1 each (the standard Siem Reap tourist price), as much as straw hats.

'Jungle Boy'

We had lunch just outside the temple complex. I ordered Ice Melon Tea and out came Ice Lemon Tea. Maybe they like to play anagram games.

Then we went to a landmine museum, run by a famous deminer (dubbed 'Akira' by the Japs). In several places it said that Lol Nol was supported by the Americans and indeed had been installed by a US coup, yet they didn't reveal who supported the Khmer Rouge.


"If you give money to our children they will not go to school and you teach them to be beggers"
Begging is bad

Old guns

Information panel informing us that Singapore still makes mines - and you wonder why we get visa-free access to the country.

Assorted munitions

"All pictures show the old way that Akira did his de-mining. The new method of de-mining uses protective equipment"
The reason they don't show us new photos, of course, is to keep the Romanticised image of demining operations (it doesn't hurt that it looks more impressive either).

The museum did not use any power at all. The lights were off, there were no fans and the TV in one room was not on. In civilised climes this wouldn't be too bad, but in a tropical one it made me want to exit the museum ASAP.

Cunning Linguist being blown away

We had some spare time, so we went to Artisans Angkor to look at handicrafts.




Everyone is enraptured and thinking of how they're going to get ripped off at the gift shop later

My theory as to why there's so much Child Sex Tourism in Cambodia: so many kids walk around partially or fully naked

Elephant with glasses

In the gift shop they had 'Spring Sales (sic) on Silk Clothes'. Even if there were seasons in Cambodia, it was autumn time already, so.

Tiger Balm was advertised as 'Cambodian relief in a nutshell'. Haw Par should go over and sue them.

The English in Cambodia was atrocious but I didn't really feel like quoting it (even less so than bad English nowadays), perhaps because there was just so much of it.

In one room there were 3 girls, and 2 of them did not bring shampoo. This is how they managed to come with such light bags (one had <4kg).

For dinner we had a buffet and got to see an Apsara performance (traditional dancing). Since it was boring I didn't take any pictures or videos. Some of the others suspected the whole front row of dancers was made out of trannies, though. This was implausible, but given how many East Asian tourists went to take pictures with them flashing the V-sign, it was likely that at least one of them was a tranny.

The food was quite bad. It had a good deal of variety, but only 2-3 dishes were good (spring rolls and deep fried pork). The rest were either mediocre or below average (for example the Cream of Pumpkin was very thin); this was not just me being ethnocentric, since it was bad compared to most of the food we had on other occasions.

[MFTTW: the apsara dancing buffet is the biggest rip off lah
man. everyone goes for that. and gets ripped off.]


I felt eating meat was a waste of resources. [Me: Air travel is a waste of resources. So why are you here?]

Why did the Kai'm'err Rouge build Angkor Wat?... You mean it was there before the 1970s? (Khmer)

NUS stands for 'Never Underestimate Stupidity'

This is Gabriel F You... [Student 2: It's to help people remember] How nice of you.

[Me on market clearing: Do you find Angkor Beer outside of Cambodia? There must be a reason why.] Do you find Tiger Beer outside of Singapore?

I watched the Killing Fields. [Student 2: Who were the actors?] Richard Gere and Jennifer Anniston... [Female Student: I've never watched it before] Porn or the Killing Fields? [Female Student: Porn]... I've never watched porn before. [Female Student 2: I've never watched porn before. What is it like? What happens in porn?]

[On touching my hair] I was comparing [it] with the silk and - nice hair.

I hate people who get drunk. I think they have no self-control. I don't hate them. I just despise them.

People think I'm Filipino because of my name. They think I can sweep the floor very well.

There's this Indian guy who washes my Dad's car... 'I'm so happy my son is marrying a Chinese girl. Indian girls are useless.'

[Female student: I didn't bring my hairdryer.] [Male Student:] I blow for you lah.
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