Siem Reap means ‘Siam defeated’. Don’t ask me why. But that’s where we are tonight. We started off this morning from Bangkok just past 0830hrs. Lunch was at a place about 5km ahead of the Cambodia border. There was a stall outside the restaurant selling all sorts of snacks, including fried crickets! Obviously it quickly became the focal point of everyone with a camera. Nobody was adventurous enough to try it, though the woman selling it assured us that it was very delicious and very popular.
We crossed over into Cambodia at about two in the afternoon. It’s the same time zone as Thailand, but over here the cars drive on the right side of the road. When you are driving a right-hand-drive car in a country where the traffic moves on the right, the person on the left seat becomes your eye. Apart from the slight adjustment to their driving style, the Indian contingent immediately felt right at home. The road conditions are similar to ours. There are dogs and cattle on the road and using your horn is an essential part of driving here.
The difference between the countries we had just visited and their neighboring Cambodia is stark. The two- and three-lane dual carriageways give way to a two-lane highway, where overtaking is difficult since there is just one lane for each direction. The landscape changes too, and you can see vast swatches of flat farms and fields.
Once again we got a VIP ride into Siem Reap, with the police stopping traffic at many places to let the convoy pass. School children lined up by the side of the streets to wave us by. We finally reached the City Angkor Hotel at Siem Reap at 5am, where there was another elaborate welcome ceremony for us. It’s been a great day, but there’s something even better waiting for us tomorrow. Tomorrow we visit Angkor Wat.