Settling in for Awhile
Siem Reap Travel Blog› entry 25 of 62 › view all entries
The newly constructed Riverside Hotel wants $20 a night for air-conditioned rooms. My preference is a fan room and after much bartering, and for an extended stay , got room 333 for $8 a day. Three flights of stairs lead to the four-star room. White tile floors, sliding windows with screens, and smooth light-colored curtains give the room a clean and awkward sense of comfort which, anywhere else in the world, would be well-beyond my travel budget. The room is well-furnished with a desk, two small tables, a hot water bathroom, a roomy closet, and a 21-inch Sony television sitting on a cabinet which houses a small Toshiba refrigerator. An oscillating ceiling fan mounted above the center of the room has a three-position control switch mounted next to the double bed headboard. All of the hardwood furniture and appliances are new, though batteries for the TV's remote control had died sometime before my arrival.
The Riverside is three hundred meters south from town, across the street from the Siem Reap River. It is a ten-twelve minute walk to the centrally located Old Market, bars, restaurants, and Siem Reap's vibrant nightlife. Motorbike taxis are readily available but too many of their drivers operate in erratic, jerky, or clumsy maneuvers making their qualifications questionable, encouraging me to walk, especially when traffic gets heavy in the late afternoon. Some of the motorbikes haul two-seat trailers called tuk-tuks and one day I hailed one. The ride costs the same as a motorbike, 2,000 Cambodian Rials (50-cents),
but is a little slower being wider and unable to maneuver through traffic. Their ride is smooth; turns, wide and flat.
A nicely tiled sidewalk meanders into town along the brown river which is littered with trash and plastic bags. Occasional bags of garbage await collection along the walk but my main concern while strolling back to the hotel in wee hour darkness is tripping over a crocodile.