Dear Villa Sweet,

How sweet you were indeed. A four-night stay somehow extended on into a ten-night stay, and even that was too short.

I’m a traveler unused to luxury. I can most commonly be found sleeping on dorm mattresses with errant springs poking into my back, curling my toes so less of my feet touch questionable floors, washing up in bathrooms without privacy, let alone shampoo bottles.

Villa Sweet, you gave me a break. Soap on the washbasin, soft sheets, complimentary coffee, cookies on arrival. If anyone dares claim those are merely basic amenities, know that it was not simply material things that led you to your place in my heart. It was the relief of calm, an oasis away from the hectic hustle of Cambodia that threatened to overwhelm me when the plane first touched down the day before.

I woke up before dawn every morning, jet-lagged and desperately needing to get work done, since I had optimistically taken on several huge projects right before I arrived in Cambodia. The tables next to the pool made a peaceful spot to edit in the wee hours, roosters crowing across the neighborhood, cats clawing their way to the apex of the roof. It’s astounding how such warm air can feel cool before the midday sun beams down, before the scrim of humidity lowers over the city.

The sky turned from dawn grey to brilliant blue as I sat at my computer, a long skirt swirling about my ankles. The courtyard pool started splashing with other early risers, but the serenity of the space stayed and stayed.

the pool at villa sweet siem reap angkor hotel

All I want in life is someone to bring me breakfast and coffee (mostly coffee) in the morning. And that was precisely what you had, sweet Villa Sweet. Coffee by the pool as the disoriented rooster kept crowing, breakfast as the day aged. There’s something about dry toast with butter, an over-fried egg, and too-sweet coffee that makes me feel at ease now. It’s a comfort meal, one that I can taste as I write this and crave when I’m nostalgic.

Across the street sat a community meeting spot, or a restaurant or hangout—I never quite knew. You’re tucked off in a neighborhood, so it doesn’t feel like it would be a business, but every building in Cambodia is a business. It had a small TV that was constantly on, a cluster of plastic chairs around tables. Next door, an apartment building looms large over the other half of the hotel, making me wonder at the occupants, what they do and where they go. Passing carts blair eerie chants or propaganda or something of the sort.

I sat both within and outside of you, Villa Sweet. When I didn’t want to be working, my eyes stayed glued to the gate, the passing motorbikes and kids off to school passing through my field of view.

I wanted to stay forever.

All my love until I return,


Hi! This is part two in my month of March daily blogging. Click here to see tomorrow’s post, a guide to arriving in Cambodia without getting arrested at the border. To see more on Cambodia, click here. To join the betting pool on how long it will take me to miss a day of posting this month click here! Just kidding. That’s my Instagram account, which you should absolutely follow if you enjoy travel porn.

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