“A fish out of water? A traditional man in a modern world”
Siem Reap December 2016 (19 photos)
How does one immerse oneself in the sights, sounds and smells of a country in only a couple of hours?
Siem Reap has numerous markets, each with a different personality/style. The photo above was taken near the largest market, Psar Chas (the Old Market). Frequented by locals but mostly targeted to tourists looking to engage in a bit of haggling and wanting to find a bargain or souvenir. Interesting enough to want to experience but you’ll mainly be mingling with tourists. However there are some very nice pubs and restaurants scattered around this area as well which I can attest to.
But for the real flavour of Cambodian life, what if you could find a busy traditional market that the locals use?
A few days earlier we had driven past a large street market. It was packed with locals and composed of old buildings, outdoor stalls and narrow lanes. I asked my guide about this local market. When he mentioned that he had once taken an Australian Geographic Magazine photographer there who ended up staying for a few hours, I was convinced. I made a mental note to return to this market on my own on my last full day in Siem Reap.
This was a surprise find for me. I didn’t know about this market before arriving in Siem Reap and when I visited it there were no other tourists that I could see. It was a hive of normal daily activity. I watched locals just going about doing their normal shopping, all the while dodging motorbikes which were able to squeeze into gaps between pedestrians you wouldn’t have thought possible.
This little girl couldn’t take her eyes off me. As I mentioned in my earlier post Lost inside Cambodia, children in Cambodia were absolutely fascinated by me.
I just wandered around absorbing the atmosphere of the markets. My camera was busy that day.
Buddhist Monks frequent this market regularly. They lead a frugal life and walk around offering prayers to stall holders in return for a small gratuity.
They simply stand outside the stall and wait. If no-one asks for a blessing they walk away.
A lot of the black dots in the photo above and below are flies. No refrigeration either. Be thankful this isn’t smell-o-vision.
The whole animal is used. Those are intestines hanging on the hooks above the bowl.
I must admit I had hoped to see a Buddhist Monk with an umbrella at some stage during this trip. That got ticked off my to do list at this market. It was a pleasant surprise to meet one up close in this environment.
Another Cambodian child staring at me.
Being in the midst of this market I really did feel like I was lost inside Cambodia.
Are you serious? I’m starting to develop a complex.