After the rich, chocolaty coffee in Vietnam, we were hurting for a good cup of coffee in Cambodia.
One afternoon, we followed the scent of coffee on a dirt road near the market in Siem Reap and found ourselves in the home of a coffee roaster. Bags of freshly roasted beans were piled high, but not a drop of drinkable coffee was to be had.
Disappointed, we slunked back to the main street. Sensing our disappointment, the tuk-tuk drivers hanging out nearby asked what we were looking for. We explained our search for strong coffee. They pointed us in the direction of Saigon Café. Great, maybe they have imported Vietnamese coffee!
As we entered Saigon Café’s courtyard, several women in the entranceway looked at us curiously, as if they’d just gotten out of bed. More young women on the second floor looked down at us with puzzled – and amused – expressions. There was no coffee or beverage stand in sight, save some drink machine that looked like it hadn’t been used in years.
We were a bit slow on the uptake (call it due to the heat), but it finally hit us. We’d entered a brothel. No wonder the women have all come out to look at us. They probably don’t get many couples coming together looking for services, much less services that include fresh coffee.
Back on the street, we returned to the chuckles of the tuk-tuk drivers. We all had a good laugh. We asked again about a place to find coffee, convinced there must be a cafe close to the roaster. We clarified this time, “Only coffee, no girls.”
They pointed us to a stall on the corner. They got one point right – there were no girls there. But, no coffee either. Guess we’ll just have to wait for Thailand.