The clip below is a walk down Pub Street past bars pounding piped western music, repetative live bands (every night we ate near there we heard (Take Me Home, Country Road”), and one quiet traditional ensemble sitting in the street performed by landmine victims.
For the first few days, we stayed at the Golden Temple Villa, a nice garden-filled guesthouse with some cool style and a really annoying high frequency shimmer in the halls. Turn your EQ up and get shivers with the clip below. I found it actually hurt the back of my throat to listen.
1.5 km of hiking took us to Kbal Spean, a site where ancient carvings lie in the rocks along a riverbed. It was the dry season while we were there, but there was still a trickle of water moving over the images and round ‘linga’ shapes.
There were some very interesting bird calls along the path. In the first clip, a tree also squeaks above me. In the last clip, you hear evidence of how the friends and family I travel with are subjected to my recording antics. I am sorry to have so many of these insect, bird, and instrument sound clips without proper names. If you recognize any particular species, let me know!
At one roadside eating joint, we were spotted by a group of local kid-vendors who surrounded my friend Thanh from Vietnam and wouldn’t leave until she bought something. This was a common occurance pretty much wherever we went, especially with me as a ‘barang’, or white person (the Khmer word actually means a French person, but it’s used for any caucasian now – relic from the French colonial period). My friend was sometimes mistaken for a Khmer local, and was able to get us something closer to the local rates, otherwise I would get charged hugely inflated tourist rates for anything. She was also a much better bargainer than I – I blame my over-accommodating, slightly-push-over Canadian upbringing. The prices were still unbelievably cheap though, from the point of view of a North American. Below are two clips of what was the normal soundscape walking through Siem Reap as a tourist.