Siem Reap is a city of…

Differences it is fair to say. There is the magic of the river winding through the city. Splitting it roughly in half or so.

There is the beauty of city streets of all kinds but I especially like the tree-lined streets as one heads north toward Angkor Wat from downtown.

Now is an interesting time with Christmas just around the corner. Siem Reap does decorate itself a bit. At the Heritage Walk Mall today, I heard Christmas sounds. A sign proclaims what I feel about the city.

Finally and in no specific order today on my walk I found that decoration inside the mall.

I don’t do holidays any longer for the most part but it is fun to see how places like Cambodia decorate and play the melodies I remember from so many years. It has to be thought that Kuala Lumpur Malaysia was one of the best cities for Christmas times recently. There are over 80 malls in KL someone told me once and I bet there were that many Santas.

Siem Reap also has been working on opening a few final things which I am so happy to see. The national museum has opened again. One should go to the museum first before doing the Angkor Wat tours I feel. The wonderful and puzzling picture of Khmer history is explained with a lot of nice displays and curated artifacts. I have not been in some years but I decided to put off the trip to Angkor Wat until I can go to the museum again. Museums are stories waiting to be told and seeing this one open again means a lot.

Finally today, it was finishing the walk and feeling that beautiful 30 degree weather and blue skies give me the end of a walk by the Old Market downtown at a city bench. I can sit there and just watch the city move and unravel and redo itself. I think cities are constantly re-invented in each second. Moments and memories are made. Experiences traversed. Cities are there to keep change going and sitting quietly often the little elements can be found. We don’t need big things all the time to find the vibrancy of change. Just sit in a park. Any park. Find your bench. Some of them mark distances to other places.

Yep. Benches are good. Siem Reap is good. Life is good. Siem Reap is a city of wonder, joy, sometimes frustration, emotion, love.

December 20, 2022