Golden Lion Traffic Circle
If you've read our previous entries on Cambodia you know that we haven't exactly got off to the best of starts with the Cambodian people. We'd like to say that Sihanoukville has changed all that but unfortunately not. We've been travelling for almost four months now and have covered Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, China and Vietnam and not once have we been robbed or in truth even felt in fear of it. Three days in Cambodia and it's become an ever present threat. It seems obvious to say but the detrimental effects of Pol Pot's genocide are still clearly evident. The first to go in the genocide were the intelligencia and educated classes and it even got to the point where speaking a foreign language or wearing glasses was enough of a sign of intelligence to get you killed.
We know how wrong it sounds to say so and we are very much aware that many people reading this in the PC comfort of the west may baulk at it but there seems to have been a serious effect on the gene pool. Don't get us wrong we have met many hard working and friendly Cambodians and we've equally met ignorant, rude and dishonest people of all nationalities along the way. It's just a question of proportions and here the latter group is, in our experience, over represented. Perhaps we need to elaborate here.
One thing you see a great deal of here are NGO's dishing out charity like there is no tomorrow. There are orphanage projects, schools sponsored, child painting sales projects and on and on. Yet we went down to the beach today and left our bag and some sarongs with a couple on a sunbed while we went in for a swim.
Monkey Republic, our home in Sihanoukville
Half way through we looked up and saw they were mobbed by a gang of the very same children the painting project is giving money to. They were distracting the couple who had been generous (stupid?) enough to buy them a plate of food and at the same time were rifling through our bag. Now luckily we aren't stupid and only had US$3 in it but that is so not the point. We dashed out of the sea and confronted them and after much denying and finger pointing at each other the leader of the little gang of thieves coughed up our money. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.
Another example of Cambodian hospitality was at a bar called Utopia which we recommend you give a very wide berth. The place looks very nice and has a great menu which incidentally is delicious and quite reasonably priced.
Us on our bungalow porch
Problem is we had no sooner sat down with our drinks and the crazy psycho girlfriend/wife/partner of one of the owners started yelling at us alleging we had said something about her. We hadn't but if we'd known she was a screwed up mental bitch we might well have. One of the other owners came over and apologised and unbelievably said it happens all the time and had happened to her only minutes before. HELLO!! Do you not think that might be detrimental to business get the crazy cow out of there. The joint owner was then called away herself to protect her sister as the nutter was now attacking her.
There is a constant barrage from tuk tuk drivers, you can't walk two feet out of the guesthouse without being accosted and by the time you've gone twenty feet you will have lost count of the offers.
Our bungalow at Monkey Republic
Even the ones in a group don't give up until you've said no to each and every one of them. It's so boring.
Having said all of the above and made it quite clear that we are less than enamoured with Cambodians the beach here is fantastic and we've had some of the most enjoyable sea time we've ever had. The guesthouse we are staying at 'Monkey Republic' is great, also has an excellent menu and nice guys that run it. One thing I would say though is that the toilet flush system is a bucket by the loo to be filled with water and then poured down to flush your ablutions away. The idea being to save water due to the 'drought'. Sorry but it just doesn't work that way. Westerners used to proper flush systems will, like us pour bucket after bucket down the loo to get rid of the slightest piece of tissue paper. As for using the bin for the paper "yuk'', no way is that going to happen!!!!