To the beach...!
Trip Start May 03, 2006
48Trip End Ongoing
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Oct 7th - 13th (Summary)
I left Siam Reap on the 7th and returned to Phnom Penh and the comfortable hotel I stayed in previously, it was nice to be back and I received a warm welcome from the two sisters who ran the place. They were ever so helpful and sorted out various things for me, bus tickets, motto drivers, city tours. When I got back I gave them my passport to get a visa for Vietnmam - during the few days it took to sort it out I went to the beach at Sihanoukville, south Cambodia
4hr journey to the coast - pleasant scenery, became hilly, the first hills I'd seen in the country. Got dropped off 'downtown' Sihanoukville and took a motto a few km's down to the beach. The beach was nice enough, a narrow strio of golden sand lined by various food/drink shacks - behind which were some trees and then a road running parallel. It was quiet, I guess it was low season, but it really was quiet - the whole town was. I spent a night in a guesthouse on the other side of the road to the beach - I moved up into town the next day - for the first time on tour I felt uncomfortable and I didn't want to be down on the beach at night or anywhere near it, I can't really explain this action - but during my whole stay in Sihanoukville I felt like I was in some frontier town, motto drivers would speed up occasionally - I was told there were armed gangs who stole bikes - they'd pull out into the road and the safest thing to do was just to let them have whatever they wanted.
The hotel in 'downtown' was comfortable enough and run by a friendly aussie and his fat son, both of whom had Cambodian wives. I ate their, played pool with them in the evening - watched rugby with them and just appreciated the company. During the day I'd go down to the beach - enjoy the water, read and take it easy - there really wasn't anything else to do
Opposite the hotel was the funny kind of bar/fast food outlet. Run by some guy who could have easily have been a character in Mangnum PI - infact he used to live in Hawaii and ran a fishing charter. He showed me these photos of some of the big-game his boat brought in. One shot in particular shows a slimer version of him back in the early 1980's. He's standing there sporting a huge grin, with a trophy in his hands - he's dwarfed by a huge marlin hanging up next to him and either side two bikini-clad beauties are posing for the camera. He explained that the fish had just won him $20,000 in some internation big-game fishing competition! Anyways - after Hawaii he ran a similiar operation in Phuket, Thailand. I never did ask him what he was doing serving beer and hot dogs to ex-pats in Sihanoukville!
One ex-pat I met was a top guy from Wales - he invited me down to his bar one night for their weekly crab racing event - and what a funny evening it turned out to be. He took it all very seriously and had a couple of stables for the crabs, fed them a special diet and monitored their 'shelling' habits - which as he explained - affected their ability to race
So that was Sihanoukville, a few days not doing much, topping up the tan and meeting some nice people. Still - like I said - there was something dark about the place - and I was fairly relieved when I boarded the bus back to PP.
No point doing a separate entry for PP - but I spent a couple of nights back in the same hotel, took a last, long wander arund the city and said goodbye to a few friends I had met. I like PP, I liked Cambodia - what a shame I wasted so much time in Malaysia and Thailand.