Whatever comfort one appreciates, it is for the healing of the spirit. In the stifling heat that satiates through to the marrows, even a puddle of fresh rain heals.
In Siem Reap, a drop in the dry season is a miracle. With the new world in place although still in disorder, everything is carefully unveiling of itself, in reversion to what humanity has over the millennia thrusted in the shadows; and with that in mind, every effective collaboration between humans revert to the initial understanding, of sympathy and awareness.
She could have had a name that meant Warrior of the Eastern sun-gate or something more meaningful, but her local guardian had given her a common alias, as if she meant little or nothing at all, in the world beyond her backyard. I first met Jane about two years before she ran away from the house she was serving as a servant though not necessarily in that order of being either dog walker, tree pruner, porch cleaning lady, and night watcher to the maison of a seemingly wealthy woman, in her late fifties. She bore the same faceless expression, the same eyes, the same undisturbed mouth, glazed and rarely pouted for a word. She also wore the same tee-shirt, and the same leggings almost every other day, I thought if she hadn’t reek of urination, had a stash of these identical clothes somewhere in a trunk in the outhouse, or elsewhere in that huge house.
I gave her a bar of camphor soap. I love those. I’ve been told, on several occasions, they cleanse and preserve the skin rather well, it being often used to bathe corpses in South East Asia, preparing them for a longer journey in the underworld.
Jane jumped up with a child-like expression, and smiled. The sun was much brighter that day.
We arrived early in Siem Reap. It was hot. It was humid, and it was everything else than what I had read on any tourism website about Cambodia. The cool season meant a providence of rain and everything green, and would only grace the land the following months. If we had learnt anything on our journey throughout the world, swimming pools or water installations even at two stars establishments are not a waste of resources in the hospitality industry.
We checked in our rooms.
When we are accustomed to hotels with three stories and above having all the conveniences in other cities, we must also learn to accustom to hotels not having such conveniences — We get easily pampered, and often forget where we stand. Either way, humility is a good teacher both for kings, and servants. We are glad that our rooms were on the second floor. I don’t foresee myself climbing another three, most probably when younger, and less corpulent.
Most affordable hospitality establishments in urbanized towns, in South East Asia, rely on the natural ecosystem. One is expected to learn to appreciate the minimalism, of simplicity, to later appreciate the opulence of bourgeoisie.
Right now, I can only think of snow. I want ice mint frappuccino!
Our Tuk-Tuk drivers, Saroum Phorn, and Mao Thuy took two of us about town in each car, showing us sights rarely seen elsewhere in the Asian region although I must say, there’s quite a scope shared in ancient history. We stopped to taste the local fares, at kosher halal eateries costing our guests and us, less than forty dollars for three meals daily, and even then, these are luxury by South East Asian standards.
In Asia, dejeuner less than forty euros for four is a gift. Especially when it came with hors d’oeuvres, mains and desserts or twelve different dishes, and each dish could feed a family of at least three comfortably.
There are quite a few kosher eating houses in Siem Reap that has had raved reviews. We decided to visit two, to find that whilst one insists on our consideration on TripAdvisor, the other was more concerned at serving their bestselling dish, the Fish in the Morning Glory Pond.