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Notes on the Geography of Cambodia (Angkor): Siem Reap and Vicinity

The Cambodians appear to have little love for the Thais, and so it seems appropriate that the town serving Angkor Wat should be called Siem Reap, or "defeat of the Thais." It's a booming place these days--some tiny recompense for the misery suffered here under the Khmer Rouge.

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Cambodia (Angkor): Siem Reap and Vicinity picture 1

A half-dozen blocks were built during the colonial period.

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The typical construction has shop owners living above their shops.

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Good thing that the tourist boom didn't start 40 years ago: all this colonial stuff would have been bulldozed. Now it's become part of the national heritage.

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Even new construction conforms, more or less, to the old pattern.

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Tourist dollars make it happen.

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How long did it take you to spot those golden arches?

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The Cambodians themselves shop in a market at the northeast corner of town. Here, in old whiskey bottles, is fuel for their motor scooters.

Cambodia (Angkor): Siem Reap and Vicinity picture 8

And here's the market, graced by a pole sign.

Cambodia (Angkor): Siem Reap and Vicinity picture 9

Foreign-aid donors apparently like signs expressing the recipient's humble gratitude.

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Farther out of town: the bunded rice fields that now occupy the East Baray.

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Boiling cane syrup to make chunks of brown sugar wrapped in palm leaves and sold to tourists.

Cambodia (Angkor): Siem Reap and Vicinity picture 12

Fishing in the Srah Srang, a rectangular pool east of Ta Prohm.

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On the road to Banteay Srei: ricks of fuelwood.

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Off to market.

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Premium fuel: a sack of charcoal sells for about four dollars.

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The dollars do trickle. Here, a simple house--thatch and matting on poles--of a family with wheels in the garage.

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A fancier production, with metal roof, wood walls, and concrete footings. The tinted roof is an nice touch. Down below, more motorized wheels.

Cambodia (Angkor): Siem Reap and Vicinity picture 18

Prefabricated footings for sale.

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Bigger still--sixteen poles instead of nine.

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Finishing touches.

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Fancy trim.


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