Sihanoukville

We are by the seaside! Great! That is unless you suddenly find yourself trapped at the seaside by a tropical storm…

We arrived here in Sihanoukville on Saturday via bus from Phnom Penh. We enjoyed some more of Cambodia’s good roads, I don’t think we’ll ever experience the likes of the border crossing again [well… there is alway Laos]. We got in in the afternoon and are staying at a place called The Monkey Republic. Its a really sweet joint with bungalows bordered by banana trees round the back with clean rooms and good bathrooms for only $6 [so $3 each]. There is a bar with a happy hour on Ankor beer from 6-8 for 50 cence – its draft and cheap here because the Ankor brewery is only down the road. There is a tv room with dvd player and PS2 [and a shed load of DVDs – all pirates mind you]. There is also a restaurant at the guesthouse which does a reasonable range of grub, slightly more catered for western tastes with the likes of cheese toasties [which i think is also probably catering for the munchies people get after smoking the local foliage]. Its a bit pricier than elsewhere but the portions are a lot larger – you can tell its English run and owned just by looking at the breakfasts. And the plates are BIG plates, IKEA style which no self respecting Cambodia could finish a meal from [or afford for that matter]. Elsewhere in the hostel there is an eating level on a second floor and a platform in the rafters which houses two hammocks and a carpeted area for some chilling.

To be fair the past few days we’ve done knack all. Thats mostly because of the rain. The first day we arrived I shelled out on some cheap overpriced swimming shorts – just for the fact that I couldn’t come to the seaside and NOT go for a swim – that’d be sacrilege. It was a good job I did because we haven’t seen the sun since.

We’ve had a couple of boozy nights and me some really cool people. I suppose thats one benefit of staying in a good guesthouse and then it raining. People hang around and you chat and drink and play cards and the like. Sunday was our lazy day after a big Saturday night, we also went down to the beach front when the rain cleared up and I had some locally caught BBQ fish, awesome stuff. However then the rain carried on ALL day and really heavily on Monday, so that turned out to be another lazy day. But when we came to book our transport out of Sihanoukville today we ran into problems; there’d been so much rain that none of the buses had been able to come through and they’re all fully booked for tomorrow when we planned to leave [if they go at all]. So looks like another night by the coast with the rain.

Things of note: Moto drivers. These are guys with little semi-automatic motorcycles/mopeds who offer to drive you around the place. For most of the day [and even in the torrential rain] they are camped outside our guesthouse looking longingly waiting for some one to just even look like they maybe thinking about leaving the guesthouse. When you do you are asked whether you need a ride. The first guy asks, you say no. But then the other four guys ask and you give the same answer! Even when I’m writing my diary from the second floor of the guesthouse and looking out over the road there’s a guy showing numbers on his fingers and then making smoking gestures with his other hand. 10/10 for persistence.

But thats not the end of it. The humble moto driver isnt as innocent as you may think. Often after asking in a loud voice whether you want a ride he then mutters under his breath “you want smoke?” or “weed?”, and you even decline this politely. Yet its dodgier still! “You want lady?” or “Boom Boom?”. Again you politely decline. Finally if he’s really hardcore he’ll think you’re after something a bit stonger and offer you opium and to tis I just normally walk away pretty sharpish. So I should imagine that these guys probably make more money pushing drugs and selling women than they do driving people about. I’m just waiting for the day they lose the facade, cut to the chase and offer me the drugs and women first before offering me a ride – that’d be a lot more respective of the trade they do. Ah… the humble moto driver.

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