Updated: Oct 16, 2019
I was talking to a friend recently who stated she probably wouldn't visit us in Siem Reap, Cambodia because she needs her creature comforts. I was slightly irked as if she was disparaging my home country. I guess that's a good sign right?
Anyway I explained how anything you wanted or needed in the States you could get/have here. I also said it out loud to Amber who said well... She said she got her point. This lead to an interesting discussion and this blog. Sort of a hopeful perception of meets reality of. Let me know what you think.
Perception - This is a dirt poor "3rd world" country.
Reality - It is and it isn't, well if you have money. There are 5 Star Hotels and Restaurants worthy of a Michelin star next to a plot of land that looks like a trash dump. Infrastructure isn't the greatest but the same can be said for parts of the U.S. and other places that have the money to build and maintain but haven't. Flint anyone?
All that to say Siem Reap is Beautifully Ugly. I mean that in a nice way. It's nothing to find a beautiful old or modern building next to a field of shit. It's hot, Mississippi hot. I've sweated enough to actually be irked with sweating in general but still we get up every day and walk outside. And that's the thing, I'm use to walking from a building with AC to a car with AC to another building with AC. Now I just walk and sweat and talk about sweating...lol Hint thigh touchers, rub some deodorant on them thighs, it will save your life.
Perception - No one speaks English
Reality - Most of the folks you encounter in the service industry (restaurants, hotels, apartment rentals, retail stores, tuk tuk) speak some form of English. Enough that I haven't had to point or gesture to much. And if I had to point it was understood easily. I on the other hand don't know a word of Khmer and should be ashamed of myself.
Perception - We will have to live in substandard housing in a room with no AC or walls in the jungle.
Reality- The housing here is actually on par with America and similar to America, it depends on your money. You can easily get a room/apartment for $200 a month. It won't be anything to write home about but it can be done. You can also get an apartment/home for $2000 a month and it will be something to write home about. Seriously. There are levels to this.
In our search we've found highs and lows, check out the compilation video below. And to be honest the ugly houses and there were more than a few, I didn't stay in long enough to film.
On the flip side we compromised some things when we settled on our humble abode. Went up in price and went down in expectation. Reminded ourselves what we came here to do. Travel, grow ourselves and our businesses without the stress of America. I think we are heading in the right direction.
Perception - Food is going to suck and I'm going to be sick because they don't wash their hands or practice restaurant hygiene.
Reality - 4 and 5 Star restaurants are the norm and the food has been fantastic. I admit to having a weak tummy but I haven't been sicker her than in the U.S. or any of my other travels.The coffee shops all serve food as well. Speaking of coffee shops, some of the prettiest, over the top ones reside here. We love working from Temple Coffee due to not only the coffee but the fantastic staff, who I think sort of remember me. Hint- I'm the black lady.
Check out the video
All this to say, Siem Reap, from what we've seen so far is a great little town trying to grow into a city. It's got it's problems as do all. Come see for yourself. Don't get mad at me when you start sweating standing still.