The perfect antidote to the “templed out” backpacker syndrome.
By Bill Bradley
(Darwin, NT, Australia)
One of my favorite memories of a backpacking trip around S.E. Asia last year was the excellence of the local brews. Names like Chang, Beer Lao and Singha come to mind.
For me the best of them all was Angkor Beer in Cambodia.
Picture this, a hard morning wandering around the magnificent ruins of Preah Khan, photographing and sketching among these 800 year old ruins of the once great Khmer Empire. The tropical heat and humidity starts to take its toll and for this Aussie retiree, the “happy hour” has arrived.
Not the measly 50 cents reduction in price that the Aussie pubs give for one hour only, but large 750ml bottles of full strength 6.5% abv lager type beer for about a quarter of what is normal at home.
Ignoring the cries of “We have cold coca cola, sir,” I settle for one lady who rushes forward with “I have cold beer, ice cold, sir” and happily sit in the shade, put my feet up and take that first magic taste of Angkor beer from Cambodia.
Around about the time of my second “long neck” (Aussie slang for large bottle, as opposed to “stubbie” for the small one) I am getting relaxed enough to reach for my sketchbook and begin to scratch about a bit in pen and ink.
This activity always brings interest and interaction with the locals.