The Beach Peddlers

Sihanoukville Travel Blog

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Fresh fruit
      

The Sihanoukville beaches are much quieter than in recent years. The mile or more of Serendipity and Occheuteal have plenty of vacant padded sun chairs shaded by large umbrellas and ample open waters for swimming. With the airports in Thailand finally resuming operations, things should pick up. The expat business owners, as well as the locals, are hoping so anyway as business is way down. 

 

The number of peddlers scouring the beach has not decreased, however, and you have to say "No" more often - I had already bought a krama, the Cambodian scarf worn by locals as a turban or as a facial shield against wind and dust.

Weaving a bracelet
I often use the handy checkered cloth as a towel, a washcloth, or a neck scarf on colder nights. On hot days along the beach, it feels fresh and cool draped wet around the neck and shoulders. Its uses are endless. The girl wanted $3 each and I gave in for two of them for $5. Her friend, a spunky sixteen-year-old, rattled off a slangy English like a bee-bop queen in a New York disco as she weaved a red and blue friendship bracelet for me at no charge. She attended school (where she learned the language) from 7:00 to 11:00 a.m. then spends afternoons peddling bracelets on the beach. She had a rare outgoing personality with a bright and confident outlook on the world around her. I gave her a dollar.

 

Other peddlers pushed sun glasses, fruit and juices, braided bracelets, massages, or fresh sea food.

Shrimp
While many of the foreigners grew irritated by increasing "No's" the beach peddlers struggled to eke out a meager living.

 

Beach beers are not so good - they don't sell fast, are not refrigerated overnight, and grow old, stale, and tinny so I usually secure one of the shaded beach chairs by buying a fruit drink from its establishment. To go with the iced drink, a fine snack - or meal in itself - is the fresh shrimp that the peddlers sell. I got eight of the hefty treats for $2 which seemed a bargain as she wanted $3 for ten. (The math was simple.) Garnished with a mixed blend of salt and pepper and squeezed lime, the shrimp were delicious. Regular customers are remembered and often treated to slightly larger portions each visit. I don't mind the lesser crowds or helping out a few of the peddlers on the beach - for me it is a rare tropical treat; for them, a grueling way of life.

worldcitizen says:
Are people in Cambodia shy? I thought they seemed to pretty outgoing and humorous. That's crazy that the Thai issue had such an effect on Cambodia, but I guess it makes sense because BKK is the jumping off point for SE Asia. I talked to someone who is going to Thailand for the holidays. He said he's not worried about going there because as long as he gets in, he's not worried about whether or not he can get out ;) Reading your blog makes me miss the otherworldliness of SE Asia, especially on those long drives through Cambodia!
Posted on: Dec 10, 2008
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Fresh fruit
Fresh fruit
Weaving a bracelet
Weaving a bracelet
Shrimp
Shrimp
Scanning for a sale
Scanning for a sale
Lunch
Lunch
Beach peddlers
Beach peddlers