Three Cheers for Sihanoukville
Sihanoukville Travel Blog› entry 135 of 174 › view all entries
January 27th, 2010 – by: domnicella
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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