Three Cheers for Sihanoukville

Sihanoukville Travel Blog

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This morning I woke up dark and early and hopped a bus to Sihanoukville.  (Katie, Josh, and Lisa stayed behind in Phnom Penh; it's likely the three of us will sync up again in the coming weeks.)  The ride wasn't too bad, esp after the particularly terrible ride a couple days ago.  We arrived about an hour late, but hey, this is Cambodia.  An hour late is about as good as it gets in the "punctual transportation" department.

I negotiated a fair rate for my motorbike taxi, checked into a quiet guesthouse run by "Mama," who promptly chatted me up and seems to know everything and anything involving the words "cheap" and "Sihanoukville" (my kind of woman), and set out on foot to explore the area.
  Didn't cover much ground, but forked over the cash for WiFi and found a fruit stand, which is about all I require.  

I had a late lunch/early dinner at Mama's daughter's guesthouse next door (her son also has a guesthouse of his own, all three in a row; the daughter's boasts a restaurant), and wow was that yummy.  Vegetarian Khmer-style curry, spicy per request, and possibly the best meal I've had in Cambodia.  Piles of veggies, layered flavors, a good spicy kick -- delicious.

The highlight of my day came at the very end of it, as I was walking back through the main tourist street on Victory Hill.  Motorbike taxis strategically place themselves at either end of this street (and pretty much everywhere else, for that matter), and as I was doubling back (poking my head into bars inquiring after the going rate for WiFi -- if you ask me it should be free of charge so long as you purchase a beverage or something, the thieves) a group of motorbike taxis shouted out to me "hello! motorbike! taxi!" for something like the four hundredth time this week.
DELICIOUS vege curry & mango.
  I smiled and waved and shook my head and said no, as I was walking up to the last bar on the strip.  I guess they figured I was popping in for a drink or something, because they offered me a beer.  I didn't even hesitate.  Who does that?

There were about ten of them, all in their late twenties or early thirties, drinking pitchers of Angkor beer and saluting their friend Paul, who's twenty-eighth birthday is today.  So I laughed and said ok and saddled right up to their little motorbike taxi stand/watering hole.  Because motorbikes and beer is a wise combination.  Or something.

We had a blast.  I don't think they could really believe I said yes and sat there drinking with them.
  We must have cheers'ed each other twenty odd times in the hour I hung out with them, not including the hearty mug clinking required before virtually every sip.  We took pictures, laughed, exchanged names, they tried to feed me fried fish (I declined, having just eaten and still not too thrilled about eating Cambodian fish -- have you SEEN what the waterways look like in this country??), I asked about alarming bruises on one man's back (some sort of home remedy involving glass and candles and their insisting it was healthy and not painful, YEAH RIGHT) and inquired after who was married (most) and who had children (all).  

Before I knew it an hour had gone by and my mug had been refilled three times.  Whoops.  At one point a white guy walked by and I didn't pay him any attention, but two of the Cambodians chased him down and talked him into coming to meet me.
  Apparently the guys were seeking to remedy my "not married, no children" status.  So Wes walks up and introduces himself and is all "uh, these guys figured I could speak English so they want me to talk to you."  Being set up by Cambodians?  Really?  Hilarious.  

A short while later I said my goodbyes and excused myself.  Every single one of them offered to give me a ride home, repeatedly declaring how "respectful" they were and that I didn't need to be scared and so on.  And I was all dudes, I'm not scared.  I just walked up and drank an already opened beer out of a stranger's mug and then spent an hour shooting the shit with you.  The guesthouse was literally around the corner; there was no need to be dropped off.  This got me nowhere, and after a few minutes I worried I'd offend them, so motorbike down the street it was.

It was so random and spontaneous and exactly what I needed.  Beer and laughter with the locals.  I now have a date with ten Cambodian men tomorrow: same time, same place.  Yes please.
MikkelBovin says:
i was a month in Snookerville in feb., what a lovely place, illĀ“be back.
Posted on: Sep 20, 2010
mikkismith says:
Holy crap. Your mom is freaking out!
Posted on: Jan 28, 2010
domnicella says:
Haha doubtful. Not my type, although nice enough. He said he had a flight to catch (back to the States), although judging from the lack of pep in his step (and the fact he missed the first one) I have a feeling he missed it.
Posted on: Jan 27, 2010
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DELICIOUS vege curry & mango.
DELICIOUS vege curry & mango.
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