Sun, sand, seediness and perverts

Trip Start Sep 19, 2002
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Trip End Sep 22, 2003


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Saturday, June 14, 2003

10th June - Took a bus to Sihanoukville, Cambodia's equivalent of the Costa Del Sol, but without all the people. Out of the various beaches, we chose Victory Beach, which was the first back packers hangout in the area, because it is the cheapeast place to stay and eat. It's basically a dirt track with a handful of bars and cafes and guest houses and then another dirt track runs down to the beach. We got a fan room (which we regretted as it was really hot in the rooms) for $4 and basically ate three meals a day for less than the price of one meal in Phnom Penh.

Victory Beach is the least pleasant of those available as it is a little scruffy and has narrow sand and a port at one end. Nonetheless, the water is still really clean and clear and the sand is white, and it looked pretty enough to us. We bumped into our Dutch friend Bastian and he and I managed to sink a large bottle of whiskey and a large bottle of coke together (total expenditure US$2 as the coke was a dollar as well as the whiskey!) We also had a large bag of gorgeous fruit salad for $1.50 freshley cut and prepared by the cheeky young sellers on the beach. We had the best fish and chips in a long time and then headed to a bar called Dannie's which came to be our night cap hangout, principally due to the 4 week old kitten Layla and the 4 week old puppy who we named Scrappy (after Schooby Doo's little brother). Bastian also took a shine to the younger sister (19) of the owner Dannie, a 28 year old Khmer girl with 2 western boyfriends already. There we also met Janna, who introduced himself as being gay. We had the inevitible questions about how long we had been married and then how many babies did we have. We steeled ourselves for the look of pity and / or horror when we told him none but instead he began to tell us how easy it was for western couples to buy a Khmer baby and that passports etc were no problem. It made a change from people feeling sorry for us!

11th June - Today we thought we would check out another beach about 15-20 mins away by moto. Occuteual Beach is reportedly the best beach and resorts are starting to be developed in the area as a result. However it was still really quiet and even arriving at nearly 11am we still had the pick of the sun chairs. Pip managed to entertain the locals by falling straight through his deck chair but that was our only exertion for the rest of the day. Food was on hand supplied by the young sellers again and we opted for the extra large mantis prawns (8 for $1!) which we dipped in salt pepper and lime juice and really felt like we were on holiday. I even had a $1 manicure by one of the young girls as I dozed in my chair. Again the water was really clean and clear and the wide white sand and palm trees befitted any holiday brochure. You could do a lot worse than come to Cambodia for a 2 week holiday!

That evening, while having our meal, we happened to hear the two middle aged scruffs on the next table discussing "tactics". One had been travelling for sometime and had been to Cambodia twice before and this time was looking for something more permanent. The other was just happy to get what he could. However hard we tried, we couldn't stop listening, even when the conversation became seriously disgusting. The less grosse sections including comparisons on the size of Asian girls orrifices and what to do if you accidently get a transvestite in your room. We know bought brides etc happens but it's a different story when you meet it face to face, especially with what they were expecting from their 'partners' (tame example - "I'm too old to do it every night, some nights I'd be quite happy for her just to strip off for a bit".)

12th June - We had planned to leave today. Instead we decided that we should be here for the rugby on Saturday as our next destination may not have cable. Plus why rush on when we were just starting to unwind after our busy last few weeks. We decided to take things easy today, so after our normal breakfast (pancakes for me, fried eggs in a baguette for Pip), we headed down to Victory Beach. There is a family of homeless kids there and they were delighted with the remains of our fruit salad, even though there was only enough for about one piece each.

13th June - Ahh... what shall we do today? Oh let's go to the beach. We went back to the better beach and found it a little busier than previously as it was Friday and many Khmers from Phnom Penh visit at the weekend. Some of the other couples we saw were young (very) Khmer girls and older western males and we felt really bad for assuming the worst after our experiences with the two scruffy middle aged guys in the restaurant the other night. We had more prawns and Pip had some biscuits and I tried to give one to a little boy collecting plastic water bottles. He was so surprised that he dropped it! Our biscuit seller made me a friendship bracelet while we sat on the beach so now I will always have a little reminder of Cambodia on me.

Being Friday 13th and more importantly being a full moon, it was full moon party time. Pip and I are a bit passed all that but young Bastian went. All thoughts of the little sister went out of the window when big sister Dannie gave him a birthday to remember. He was supposed to leave with us but that was 5 days ago and we haven't heard from him since!

14th June - Another day in paradise - it's a tough life. Our usual moto driver took us into town where we had a light lunch to prepare us for the England v NZ rugby. We carefully chose a Kiwi bar to watch the game - well they were offering buy one get one free on beers! A magnificant England victory was celebrated by 12 beers and a plate of chips for $6(about 4 quid) and a little laughing at the Kiwis.

15th June - All good things must come to an end and it was time to leave sunny Sihanoukville for Kampot. There was no bus so we had to opt for a share taxi. To start with we were told that this would cost $2.50 each but it turned out this was if you had 6 in the car plus the driver. Now we know the Khmers are smaller than the average westerner but even so it would have been a squeeze with all the luggage as well. Luckily there were only 2 other passengers so the 2 hour journey was quite comfortable. Its strange we can't remember the last time we were in a car. As soon as the taxi arrived in Kampot motorbikes were bombing along by the side of us stuffing leaflets for hotels through the windows. After much to-ing and fro-ing and haggling we settled on a cheap but scruffy place, the Mealy Chanda, mainly because it had more puppies. Once in our room we noticed that there were ventilation holes in the bathroom where the dreaded mossies were bound to come through so we asked if they could stick some paper over them. A member of staff appeared with a bit of newspaper and a small bowl of cooked rice. He then smeared the rice on the wall and used it to stick down the paper - who needs sticky tape! In the afternoon we took a wander round town and got lost as usual. Not many westerners seem to stop here and so we were greeted with many shouts of hello where ever we went. Kampot is quite a nice little town but rather scruffy. You get the feeling that it needs more visitors to afford to clean it up but won't get them until it does clean up. Went out in the evening to a local restaurant where they had a menu with English but no staff who could actually speak it, so ordering was pointing and hoping. The back page of the menu had some strange dishes the best of which was armadillo curry!
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