The Golden Banana Experience

6 Jan

Blogging at the pool...

Blogging at the pool

The ‘Golden Banana’ is a guesthouse in Siem Reap. It was recommended to me by my Norwegian friend who swears by it (except they are often fully booked – but thanks to ‘recession’ this time round they weren’t). It consists of different parts; the ‘Resort’ for the fancy people (but that looks gorgeous!); the ‘boutique hotel’ for the middle class, and the ‘Bed & Breakfast’ for people like me.

The B&B is composed of different little pagoda style houses, set between lush exotic vegetation, with kneeling gold(-coulered) Buddhas in front of the doors. When you arrive there are nice little orchids on your bed. The showers are a bit basic, but there’s warm water. But the absolute wet dream is the swimming pool with pool bar. There are two, but only the ‘resort guests’ can go to the big pool (because they pay 3 times more). It is set between the bungalows, amongst tropical plants and it has a waterfall pouring down into it…

  • All that for 23 usd per night & breakfast, and wifi all over – I told them I would be back.

Leisurely lovely breakfast in the morning sun...

Leisurely lovely breakfast in the morning sun...

A typical day in Siem Reap

In the morning I would get up just before the end of breakfast (before 9am) – so I have not gotten fully into Cambodian rhythm yet (waking up at 5 or 6). I would take my newspaper or book to the terrace restaurant and read in the sun while eating my breakfast – choice of muesli, fresh exotic fruit or even real baguette. If I’d have my netbook with me, I’d check or send some emails sipping my coffee.

After a little shower, I’d go down to the pool (pool towels nicely rolled up dotted with an orchid waiting on the relaxing chairs). I’d sit in the sun partly protected by the banana and other trees. I’d browse through my guidebook, reflecting whether I should go and sight-see things or just relax at the pool. I’d read a few chapters, I’d add a page to my blog or surf a bit.

Lingering at the pool...

Lingering at the pool... with my new swimming trunks

If I’m thirsty, I’d just call one of the guys in funny Golden Banana outfit and get a cocktail, coffee or fresh juice from the bar for a dollar or two… The trousers and T-shirts of the staff have the Golden Banana logo. Nothing funny in itself, except that the Cambodian style wide trousers are folded and tucked in on your tummy. So that means that the Golden Banana logo is … indeed … in the spot where the golden banana ought to be – lol.

For lunch, I’d venture into the city (which is just across the bridge from the guesthouse). Maybe have some ‘patisseries’ in the Blue Pumpkin French bakery. Sit in their lovely modern lounge upstairs or licking an ice-cream on the terrace, watching the world walk by. (or there are many tourist restaurants that do sell Cambodian food, but presented in a more acceptable way – than in the dodgy street stalls).

My beautiful bungalow room...

My beautiful bungalow room...

The town of Siem Reap is a bit touristy – if you come to Cambodia, you simply have to see the Angkor temples (world heritage, and damn well deserve this label) – so all tourists pass through Siem Reap… This makes prices more expensive, but infrastructure adapted to international needs – and the food adapted to the western taste-buds.

The afternoon I’d go for a traditional Khmer massage, or go for a drive around with a great Cambodian friend (eg we went to see the sunset at the fishing village, lovely). And then back to the pool for a dip during the heat of the day (up to 35degrees Celcius).

And if I want to save on money, I just go and eat at the night market where all sorts of street vendors would sell you a plate of fried noodles or rice with your choice of meet for a dollar, and lovely fresh fruitshakes for only half a dollar !!! Food heaven if you want to live cheaply… All the bars are nearby the night market – down a street which is nick-named – guess- pub street.

The pool by night - just as nice as by day... or nicer

The pool by night - just as nice as by day... or nicer

The pool and pool bar at the Golden Banana closes at 22h, so in general I try to make my way there by 21 for a last dip and drink. It is sooooo refreshing and cool to dive into the salty water (to keep the animals out I suppose) in the middle of the romantic lights and lanterns… And then wrap around a pool towel and huddle up on the lounge-couches in the pool-side bar, sipping on a cocktail… watching the stars… the waterfall and lounge music on the background…

  • That is life. That lulls me to sleep. Good night!
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One Response to “The Golden Banana Experience”

  1. Chris 13 January 2009 at 07:30 #

    Reminds me a bit of my group-visit to Thailand years ago.
    The confronting difference between poor and rich, between “ease of life” and “strugle for life”.
    Hope this few days of pool-experience help to define your path to inner wealth. :-)
    And looking forward to share your experiences back in Belgium.
    This is without any doubt something totally different then thinking about starting a bed&breakfast :-)

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