Part 2/ Day 2
Today was going to be a day of rest and chilling out, Johan our hotel owner told us about a little hidden gem of a place off the tourist trail where we could go and relax for the day. Nicky’s teahouse is a private residence for friends and locals with a pool and private gardens. We went by tuk tuk with Tyto who has now become our official driver at $2 a trip (we obviously tipped him on top of this). Getting in and out of a tuk tuk had been a concern for me as I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do it but it turned out to be really easy which was a relief, and meant we didn’t have to arrange for taxis to take us everywhere.
We arrived to find a plush house and garden hidden down a side street where we had a lovely breakfast with English tea, and even a waving queen to remind us of home. We spend the day relaxing in and out of the pool.
Nowhere is really set up for wheelchairs so you just have to take it as it comes and with the help of Damo I was able to get over most steps and uneven ground, but there are always people there willing to help if its needed. We left around 3pm and headed back to the hotel. I ordered a massage for an hour later in my room, which the hotel organised and which was $15 for the hour. I then needed a shower; so not having my shower chair from home with me I simply used my own chair by removing the cushion cover and putting a plastic bag over the backrest, a simple solution to not having a shower chair.
Later we then headed in to town and stopped for drinks at Viva bar, which seemed lively and next to the markets that we wanted to explore. most of the bars and restaurant’s have free Wi-Fi, which is also a bonus. We then had a good look around all the markets where I purchased a few T-shirts and shorts, which obviously I needed!! I bought 4 T-shirts and paid $3 each for them and two pairs of shorts, which were $6 each. Bargain!! We toured round the markets for a while before having dinner at one of the street restaurants. The food out there is just amazing and you can eat like a king for a few $’s.
Having my trike with me makes all the difference, from struggling to get around to life being pretty simple exploring the markets and local area. There are obviously steps and bumps everywhere but the trike takes care of most of them and if there are any times you need assistance, people are very happy to give you a hand. I can’t express enough how helpful the local people are and how they just want to help you, without looking for anything in return.
We spent most of the day relaxing by the pool at the hotel and the staff even went out and found me a lilo that I could lie on in the pool. For dinner we went to Mahon, a very stylish and expensive restaurant recommended again by Johan. When I say expensive I think the total bill including drinks was $35, and the food was amazing. When we arrived, there were even people waiting to help me out of the tuk tuk as Johan had booked us a table on the ground floor explaining I used a wheelchair.
After dinner we headed to Mitch’s bar in town to meet with him and his girlfriend Nika for the first time. Mitch has lived in Siem Reap for four years now and only met Nika a year ago, so he is good enough proof that anything is possible, even when your in a chair!!
We spent the evening getting to know each other and chatting to him and some friends who happened to pop in and say hello. Mitch is a great guy who lives life to the full even having brittle bone disease. This obviously means he has to be careful with moving around and not to fall out of his chair but he certainly doesn’t let it stop him from enjoying life. At about 1pm we called Tyto and went back to the hotel where we stayed up drinking Jim Beam till 4am. Sore head would be coming in the morning!!!
Today we decided to do a boat trip to see the floating villages and mangrove swamps which was recommended to us by people at the hotel. We got a car arranged by the hotel and arrived at the dock after about 40 minutes travel. The trip would cost us $100 and getting on the boat didn’t look like it was going to be fun! The boat was about 2 foot below the mooring and was parked at an angle so it looked quite dangerous and I wasn’t happy, but after some discussion the boat was moved to be straight on to the jetty and it was a simple case of lowering me down. Once on the boat I transferred on to one of the boat seats using my chair cushion for pressure relief.
The trip turned out to be a disappointment really and we felt was a waste of money. We arrived at a floating restaurant to watch the sun set but we still had two hours to wait!! We thought this was a bit of a scam to have us sit and eat and drink until the sunset, so we decided not to bother and headed back to the hotel.
We then called Tyto and headed in to town for dinner. On a stroll around town we came across Pub Street, which is the capital of party town! While sitting at a bar watching everyone dancing in the street I was approached by Barbara, a Nicaraguan girl travelling on her own and she asked me up to dance. How could I say no to a beautiful 24-year-old South American beauty. She led me to the centre of the street to dance with all the other revelers. What a buzz I have to admit I was on cloud nine!! Barbara was leaving the next day to visit her dad in Vietnam and invited us to visit her, which I would have loved to, she was gorgeous, why wouldn’t I???, but Vietnam was too far in the wrong direction so we had to decline. What a shame…
Part 3 on its way soon… Our visit to Angkor Wat Temples