Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Pub Street beckons!

Got the bus without much hassle, tuk tuk driver was a little early so were hanging around the bus station for a while. Journey took 4 and a half hours. Arrived in Siem Reap around half 2 and we got a free pickup to our guesthouse we’d been recommended by several people, Happy Guesthouse, and it was just that! The staff are really friendly, awesome room (apart from the fact that it was fan-only but for $3 each a night who’s complaining?!)

When we arrived the electricity was out as there were some engineering works going on in town so the whole city was out until 6pm. So we had a quick freshen-up and then decided to head into the centre of town which was a short 10min walk across the river. I got lunch at a street stall - $1 for noodles and a fried spring roll! We had a mooch around the Old Market, and the streets surrounding the infamous late night hangout ‘Pub Street’, where I got a little carried away with purchases, and because it was so good we decided we’d dedicate tomorrow to shopping too!

We then headed back as electricity had come back on and it was beginning to get dark. Had showers and then decided to head out and check out the ‘night-life of legends’ that the LP devotes its whole ‘shouldn’t miss’ column to, in the Cambodia section. So we first headed to a Mexican place, Viva! which we’d seen during the day and always looked busy, the food was amazing for S.E. Asia trying Mexican! Had some beers at $0.50 a draft and then went to check out the night market as it was still early.

After that we, of course, went to check out the infamous ‘Pub Street’, which is just bar after bar, restaurant after restaurant. It’s a little like Khao San road, except not as big and not as busy, but still very tourist/backpacker-y. We couldn’t decide where to plonk ourselves so we eventually settled on the backpacker choice – Angkor Wat? Bar – where we sat and had drinks for a bit but it wasn’t really buzzing yet and we saw that Temple Bar across the street had BOGOFF on cocktails AND awesome music, so we switched...and ended up staying for 3 cocktails and a few beers! This bar was totally the place to be during the earlier hours of the evening, the music was pumping, the drinks cheap and it seemed to have the most pull (probably because the awesome tunes being played swayed all those making the difficult decision walking past Temple and Angkor Wat? choose Temple).

A group of lads pulled up on the table opposite us and asked us to join ‘em, so of course, we did. They were playing the ‘Wizzard Sticks’ game I’d seen being played by a load of Australians in Phi Phi, Thailand. The game is where you drink your height in beer cans, strapping each beer can together creating a ‘Wizzard stick’. You keep drinking and strapping until your beer-can wizard stick reaches your height...or until you pass out! So we had a couple rounds with them and then along the street came some Cambodian guys...and a MASSIVE stretch of rope!

This intrigued everyone and created a buzz, and then they started to demonstrate that it was basically a massive skipping rope...or tug of war rope. And started enticing everyone from Temple and Angkor Wat? and the surrounding passers-by to participate. Before long it became a, how-many-people-can-skip-at-once-for-the-longest game, and several boys vs girls tug of war games! A few from our gang had a go but no-one lasted long, I decided against it as last time I thought games were a good idea when drunk – I ended up disabling myself for 2 and a half months (NYE, Koh Phangan, Thailand)!!

After this, Temple’s music started getting a little poor, and Angkor had turned there’s up a notch and it seemed better, so everyone started to assemble over there and we joined. Got a bucket of vodka redbull in (the barman literally tipped half a bottle of vodka in), and we plonked ourselves on the benches outside and made friends with the people on it who we spent pretty much the rest of the night with. I got chatting to Dev from New York, a doctor but he was certainly hammering the liquid medication tonight! So before long we were all up dancing on the tables (according to the LP, everyone in the bar either dances on the tables, or under them, we would surely be doing both).

I seemed to attract the attention of all the tuk tuk drivers out on the street and they seemed to stick with me all night, dancing, calling me a crazy lady, holding me while I jumped from table to table, pulling me over the fence to get me on the street dancing, absolutely loving the mental-ness going down in the bar – our table’s mission was to get EVERYONE in the bar up on a table – and within half an hour, mission accomplished!

The buckets and drinks were flowing, the music pumping – they didn’t have the Thailand crew's Phi Phi song ‘I just had Sex’ by Akon, so as soon as I heard Temple playing it across the road, bam, I’m pelting it across the street to dance and all the tuk tuk drivers ran with me and we all formed a line opposite Temple dancing full pelt to it – it was amazing, even managed to get a semi-routine down! One guy Lee and the dude wearing the ‘Take a break, have a tuk tuk’ t-shirt were fighting it out over who would take us home in their tuk tuk at the end of the evening, so eventually I settled it by saying Lee would take me and the other would take Maura and we’ll have a tuk tuk race, fight crisis avoided, they seemed happy with that!

So all night we were basically just dancing, drinking, chatting, writing on the walls, tables and fence (there’s graffiti everywhere so we left our own special marks) and pulling people up onto the tables - I was having so much fun I forgot to go to the toilet in over 8 hours! So that was a very long pee at 2am! Eventually the bars started to wind down and it got a little drab around 2.30am, so the locals we were dancing with and a couple of guys from Norway told us about a local club where only Cambodians go ‘Hip Hop’ and asked if we wanted to join – of course we couldn’t turn the opportunity to continue partying down, so we did. This unfortunately meant our little tuk tuk race was off as the club was walking distance away – ah well, we promised them next time we go out!

Off to the club we trekked, turns out the Norwegians are here on journalism duties and their ‘going out’ was actually for an article for a travel magazine back home – some people get all the best jobs – so they were pretty psyched about heading to a local joint. When we arrived however, we suddenly felt really dressed down – this club was better than some of the so called ‘VIP’ clubs in the UK!! Major air-con, super snazzy lounges, an outside area, two clubs, awesome music and massive dance-floors! So we continued to party the night away here for a bit, the highlight was seeing the Cambodians dance to their own artists – when a Cambodian song comes on, they all dance around the dance floor in a circle (or shuffle more like), it’s only western music that they ‘freestyle’ dance to – the Norwegians found this particular part very interesting for research, couldn’t hide their excitement and joined in!

We eventually left at 4am as the music started getting a little too Cambodian for our liking and we’d begun to sober up, so we walked back to our place, passing Lee the fit tuk tuk driver just as we rounded the corner to our guesthouse. We then spent a good 10mins ringing the night bell for the gates to be unlocked, we even considered climbing over the spiked fence, but after further inspection, thought twice and decided against it. Instead we just persistently rang the bell until the poor night guard woke up to let us in, then staggered to bed!

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