Saturday, May 15, 2010

It's Hot in Cambodia

Seriously, very, very hot. Hotter than Samoa. With the heat index, the temperatures here have remained over 100 degrees every day and stay in the 90s well into the night.

When we first arrived we stayed at the Happy Guesthouse, recommended to us by a couchsurfer. It is a very nice place and the staff are wonderful. We were given a fan room on the second floor. The fan was a ceiling fan and though it was quite powerful, it still wasn't as nice has having a pedestal fan aimed directly at you. The first night we tried the bed, but discovered the mattress was too soft for us. The second night we slept on the floor. In general it wasn't too bad, but it was still pretty warm in the room. I always found it cooler in the hallway where there were open doors at either end to the outside that allowed a breeze.

In his adventures, Cale had discovered the guesthouse just down the road (NAME?) had a pool. A lovely, new pool. It cost $3 to use. Cale talked to the guesthouse and discovered it wasn't their pool, but they had a deal with the guesthouse that owned it and if you stayed with them you got a discount on the pool. As they had no guests at the time, Cale got them to agree to the same price we were getting for a fan room at Happy ($6 a night) and a discount on the pool ($1.50 per use). We saw their fan room and I was initially excited. It was all wooden inside with a mosquito net, ceiling fan and pedestal fan. There was so much potential. However, when we returned that night we discovered that our second floor (and also the top floor) room had baked in the sweltering sun all day and was unbearable inside. The ceiling fan only stirred up the hot air, pushing it down on us. The pedestal fan was incredibly weak and barely moved the air. The windows were slits with hurricane shutters that only opened a small amount. There were not screens, so we had to sleep under the mosquito net where the meager fan breezes couldn't reach us. I was suffering. I got up repeatedly to shower with no avail. Finally, I left the room and sat on the second story balcony landing outside where I could feel a breeze and the temperature was a good 10 degrees lower. I contemplated sleeping there, but Cale would not let me. Instead, Cale put the pedestal fan on the bed inside the mosquito net and I slept fitfully through the night.

That day, when we left, we left all the fans on full blast in the hopes of keeping the room cooler during the day, but when we returned we discovered they had come to make up the room and turned off all the fans. Once again the room was a oven. I knew I could not continue to sleep there. The next day we did a search for potential solutions and in the end we stayed with the same guest house only moving from the $6 fan room on the second floor to the $10 air-con room on the first floor. What was funny was that just moving to a first-floor room was enough to make the temperature bearable. However, we figured if we were going to pay for the air-con room, we might as well use it. We spent seven nights in the air-con room wallowing in coolness, only to be walloped with heat and humidity when we left the room. However, by the end of our stay both Cale and I had colds or some sort of upper respiratory problem that Cale blamed on the air-con. Thankfully, we were leaving the air-con behind.

On Tuesday we moved to Clem's. Clem is an Aussie couchsurfer who lives in Siem Reap and works at the Green Gecko (more on that later). She has a darling house with private gate and garden and an extra bedroom. I was still in a stupor with my illness and wasn't noticing much of what was going on, but Cale had eyes on a structure in her front garden immediately. It was a faleo'o! Clem calls it a lunch hut, as do many of the ex-pats I have met. I am not sure what the Cambodian's call it. I call it a square faleo'o. This fale had a fan and a florescent light. With Clem's blessing we took up sleeping in the lunch hut instead of the extra bedroom and have found the temperature perfectly wonderful for the last five nights.

Apparently, we are most comfortable sleeping on a couple of mats in a hut outside. Does this mean we are broken?

— Sara

1 comment:

Barb Carusillo said...

Not broken, but definitely special.