Siem Reap’s Pub Street: Fish Massages & Fits of Laughter

10003876_10101575856558201_1848982156_nPub Street is an extremely popular area for tourists traveling through Siem Reap, filled with endless arrays of food options, bars, music, and massages. From stir frys served in pineapples, spring rolls, crickets, spiders, grasshoppers, silkworms, lok lak, catfish, pancakes, and cook-it-yourself-chicken stations, the varying food options are endless.

After deciding on where to eat for dinner (a feat that took us ages), treat yourself to a good old fashioned foot massage after a long day of being on your feet, but be careful as you read the signs – ensure you are paying for both feet to be massaged.

For the not so fainthearted, treat your feet to a fish massage. Dip your feet into a little pool where several fish will happily nip, suck, and nibble the dead skin away from your heels, toes, and ankles. Nearing the end of my adventures in Southeast Asia, I’ll openly admit that my feet had developed quite the callous or two . . . which the fish swarmed in particular.

Now before you wince and think I’m quite disgusting, just let me tell you how smooth and soft my skin felt afterwards.  Those fish get to work, so much so that I had the silkiest, smoothest feet I’ve ever felt. If the smoothness wasn’t the merit in itself, the laughter is. The process of dipping one foot at a time into the water surprisingly takes a lot of nerves. Watching the fish swarm to fresh feet meat is repulsive yet extremely humorous. The squealing, shrieking, screaming, and giggling to follow is a guarantee. I shuddered yet shrieked like a giddy school girl. If the experience wasn’t making us laugh enough as it is, a random Cambodian guy who claimed to be the owner of the fish stand offered us each a beer and a cricket from his bag of insects.

Finally, flustered and oddly exhilarated, we were off to the amazing night markets. I had already been to so very many night markets in Southeast Asia, but they are all so different depending not only on country, but also city. Siem Reap night markets turned out to be my favourite. There was a much wider variety of clothes, crafts and jewellery, and the people were much more willing to work with a haggle or two. (Or maybe it was because at that point I had mastered the art of haggling pretty good!) To this day I can still hear the women exclaiming and gesturing to me as I walked past their stands: “Ladddyyyy, special priiiiiice? Special priiiiiiiiiiiiiice for you? Ladyyyyyyy.”

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