Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Siem Reap with Gusto (Part 3)

I dig sunsets. I suppose sunrises too but I don’t usually get up early enough to see one. I wanted to enjoy the sunset in Siem Reap and I thought a sunset Quad Ride would be a good idea.

A guide in a motorcycle led my way through villages to the verdant rice fields. Along the way, we passed children waving at us as we went, along with herds of cattle and water buffalos. The scenes are familiar to me, having spent much time in the countryside back home.

When the sun started to hang low, the guide signaled me to stop in the middle of the rice fields. We spent a few quiet moments enjoying the sunset while locals rode their bikes behind us. When the sun was no longer visible except for its molten gold rays still staining the sky, we revved up our motor again and explored some more, passing through mud and water channels. The full moon appeared on the faintly lit sky. As we began to tire, we headed back to the station.

The ride primed me for eating. But if I had one more meal with coconut milk, I would run amok. Instead, I followed the luring smell of grilled meat from one of the Khmer BBQ eateries. I chose a spot at The Alley that was always packed and offered nice bench chairs for people watching. As always, I was served green mangoes and spring rolls for starters.

The grill was then set up on the table. It was a dome-shaped equipment rimmed with a receptacle. I was served a variety of meat to grill, including croc, which is fairly common here. After showing me how to work the grill, the waitress poured water onto the receptacle where she added cabbage and carrots to cook. Then she turned to the meat, which she dunked in beaten egg before grilling. She laid out the meat on the dome-shaped area of the grill. It was a smart kitchen gadget, allowing you to cook your soup and grill your meat at the same time. I was given two fantastic dips – chili and cilantro. Needless to say, I went back to the hotel happy and sated.

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