The following morning after visiting the Landmine Museum we were very lazy, especially ‘Sleepy Dwarf’ Auste, so we just went for a massage. There was a place that charged $4 an hour, which sounded somewhat dodgy, so… we went to check it out!
We walked upstairs into a dark room and laid face-down on rusty ol’ mats. The room was separated by red curtains and we could hear other people being ‘dealt with’ – I couldn’t tell what kind of massages they were getting, but their presence was evident by an occasional click-clacking of skin contact. I have to admit I was a bit intimidated by the overall ambience. Laying down, I heard two girls walking in – I couldn’t tell their age, but they were giggling and having chupa-chups. I expected some instruction whether to take any clothes off (like you normally would in a spa), etc, but she just jumped on my back and went into action. The girls were very young, they wore jeans and simple t-shirts – honestly, I felt very uncomfortable, as if I was exploiting kids. That wasn’t the case though, as lots of families have many children who help with their businesses from early age. Even though we had clothes on, the session was really good and we felt ‘streched-out’ the next day.
On our last day we left the hotel in the heat, again. We seem to have this thing of going for sweaty mid-day walks with our backpacks on. We had about 5 hours before our flight, and since we were flying with AirAsia and only had 7kg of cabin baggage allowance, we decided to treat ourselves to another massage. We chose a place that charged the same as everywhere else – $6 per hour. This one had staff with uniforms though – a sign of professionalism, one may think.
When we came in, the service was too good – we were seated, given flip flops, even our feet were washed! To be honest, the last part was too much for a simple guy like myself. We walked upstairs, no red curtains or chupa-chups, and we were given pyjamas to change into – this was going to be awesome. Without going into much detail I’ll just say that I couldn’t wait for it to be over: the girl was either exhausted or just lazy as she kept yawning every five seconds. She didn’t put ANY energy into it and just generally messed about with my arms and legs. I had my eyes closed and when she locked my knees to stretch out my thighs, I felt that she laid down on the mat. From the long awkward pause I could tell she was taking a nap. Taking a nap! ON MY MAT!
This is by no means our natural behaviour, but straight after this we had another massage! This was a proper salon and both the exterior and interior looked very welcoming and professional. It was more expensive as you would expect, and the back massage cost $6 for 30 minutes. We were offered tea upon coming in and leaving, had our feet scrubbed with scented salts, there were massage tables with face-holes, relaxing setting and the massage was done by professionals – definitely worth the money.
During our stay in Siem Reap we had surprisingly many beers and cocktails – another thing we don’t normally do. If you like South East Asian food, Cambodia is the place to go, well at least Siem Reap. Some foods are cheaper than in Thailand, depending on where you eat – we usually go to places where the locals go. We definitely avoided the infamous ‘Pub Street’ filled with fancy restaurants and bars that have cotton napkins and stuff. We opt for squeaky tables and rusty fans – we’re in Cambodia NOT because we want to feel like we’re in England.
At a home-style restaurant in the heart of the city you can have a meal with rice for $1-3. The best part was that a pint of draft beer was $0.5 – it’s $2-3 in Chiang Mai! Smoothies and fruit shakes were $0.5-1 too… We also have good news for vegetarians as restaurants have good range of vegetable dishes.
We finished our trip with a nice plate of ‘French fried’ and a crisp yet smooth bottle of Angkor, made of ‘only the finest hops and fresh spring water’. It’s interesting that all beers in the world have the same qualities, maybe that is what makes beer – beer?
A funny thing – when we thought of going back to Chiang Mai we called it home. Even our trip to Bangkok felt like going home!