Saturday, February 14, 2009

Trip to Angkor Wat, Cambodia (8)

Personally, I have no idea on "how to go about being a tourist". Seems funny doesn't it. Going all the way to Angkor and saying that! Yes, laugh all you want. But I really mean it. I mean some people do or I think they do know how to go about it. You know, some strut, some explore meticulously, some romance through or look for it in places. Some looked bored or exhausted. Some try to interact with the locals. Some try to have the wildest hedonistic times of their lives. Some pretend they are Audrey Hepburn and (forgot his name) waltzing thru the Cambodian forest on a tuk-tuk (in lieu of a Vespa). OK, OK, I trudge through places, I guess that's my style. Anyways, then came the question of how the local people of the "tourist places " in Asia identify me as a tourist from a thousand paces. Me, I am as brown as any of them. Not particularly sophisticatedly dressed either. I am in cheap Chinese made togs like the locals too. Same haircut and etc. But then the answer strikes me. My looking at ordinary everyday stuff for them with interest, my furtive glances in all directions at a crossroads and hesitation before choosing a direction, my very presence at places where no locals go except shopkeepers go and then the big one: THE LOCALS HAVE NEVER SEEN ME BEFORE!. They (Asian locals) may not be able to differentiate the subtle (or not so subtle) differences in Caucasians, blacks etc but they do know whether my Asian mug is one they've seen before, whether it's one that grew up in that town or not. And there must be more signs that rule me out from being one of their own.
Now in Siem Reap, lots of eating places, that any tourist sheet can tell you. But what I ate was more local. And cheap. Forgot how much but was cheap. It was some instant noodles done up in a soup and with pork and veggies. In other Asian countries it will be locally freshly made noodles but there in Siem Reap, the noodles came from a packet. That I did not like. Taste-wise I dunno cos was so laced with MSG and got me thirsting for the next 3 hours. After the whole day trudge. My feet were killing me. Like walking of nails or raw bone. I soaked my feet in hot wate, I kneaded them myself. I poured myself a gin-medicine-painkiller and rushed it down my gullet. And then another one. And then, only then, I realized the significance of all those " FOOT MASSAGE AVAILABLE" signs.

Written by Mr. Soe Lwin, Principle of BEST Language School in Mandalay. He is my brother, he took a trip to Cambodia and Thailand with our mom last December and these are the records of his travels.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for Stopping By, Hope You Enjoyed Yourself, Learned or Discovered Something, Thanks for the Comment! Have A Nice Day!