Zipping Around Sihanoukville

Sihanoukville Travel Blog

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Thursday was my only full day in Sihanoukville.  Per Mama's suggestion, I hired a motorbike taxi to take me around and show me local life in Sihanoukville.  In my opinion the dude charged far too much for a mere three hours of driving around; it's not like Sihanoukville is a big place or boasts any "sights."  In hindsight, I imagine he fancies himself a tour guide, seeing as he spent the first hour constantly talking and pointing things out and annoying the shit out of me.  Dude, I want to enjoy the scenery whizzing by in peace, I don't need you to point to a boatyard and say "here they make the boats."  Either my unenthusiastic "uh huhs" cued him in or he lost enthusiasm himself, but after the first hour or so he piped down and we had a nice ride after that.
  And then when we did speak it was humorous banter and rather enjoyable.

We drove along to several different beaches, the first was at the end of a local residential area (Residential? Does zoning exist in southeast Asia?) and thus completely deserted.  It wasn't particularly nice, but it was an empty beach with white sand and clear blue water -- something tells me it won't stay that way for much longer.  From there we zipped back along the way we came, stopped at two markets, neither of which was very impressive, and picked up a bunch of bananas for the monkeys.  

"Monkeys! Monkeys!"  Uh, yeah, sure, we can go see monkeys.  I mean yeah, monkeys are fun.  I kind of wish they made easier pets.  But I've become a bit wary of monkeys; they're one of the myriad tourist traps overly touted in southeast Asia to fleece travelers (see: elephant rides, cheap kitschy crap, and anything having to do with boats).
  Dude was all about the monkeys.  So ok, let's go.  All I have to say is "monkeys! monkeys!"  Dude knew what he was doing.  

We drove up to a temple, nothing old or special or pleasing to the eye, just a common current-day temple.  He starts clapping and screeching and making a fuss; I walk away to take a picture of the view (the temple was perched at the top of the hill) and give myself some breathing room away from the crazy monkey man making all the racket.  

On my way back three darling children come racing out of one of the temple buildings, playing with some sort of toy cart thing.  They see me and all start chirping "hello!"  So I smile and say hello back and wave and keep walking.  And they race right up to me, the youngest (a little girl, I doubt yet three) gives me a fistful of frangipani blossoms and immediately grasps my free hand, the oldest (a boy, maybe four or five) runs to my other side and clutches the hand holding the camera.
  The middle little girl, probably three or four, comes bouncing along too, but after a few steps remembers the toy and runs back for it, before racing to catch up with us.  They couldn't have been more delighted.  Squealing, squeezing my hands, running around, laughing, chattering -- adorable.

The dude claims to have found the monkeys, and gestures toward the temple.  He opens the door, the kids running around, squealing and playing and racing all over the place, and then crosses and opens the doors on the other side.  At first I saw a few.  Maybe four or five.  But then.  Holy Hannah there were a lot of monkeys.  I don't know how many.  Easily more than a dozen.  Maybe more than two dozen.  There were A LOT of monkeys.
That's a lot of motorbikes! (Local market.)
  And dude just went to it.  He ripped off a banana and threw it at the tree, right there not three feet from me, the first one thudding loudly on the tin roof beneath it.  A monkey bolts down, grabs the banana, tears it open, and feasts.  And then mayhem breaks out.  Bananas are flying.  Some caught, some not.  To my surprise, most were caught.  The few that weren't were immediately snatched up.  Peeled, eaten, and discarded, just like you and I do, only in a fraction of the time.  They kept coming closer and closer, leaping off the tree, onto the balcony and handrail, more than one underestimating the distance and thudding loudly on the tin roof, much to the delight and entertainment of all of us -- me, the dude, the kids, and the other monkeys.
  The fallen monkey would pop right back up, this time landing on the railing as intended, primed and ready to catch the next soaring banana.  It wasn't until the very end, when one was close enough I could have touched it without moving, that I remembered how vicious and mean these monkeys can be, and that I could very well have my camera snatched and never returned in the blink of an eye.  At which point the last banana was thrown, the camera turned off and put away, the kids racing squealing through the temple again.

We took pictures, held hands, laughed, squealed, raced to and fro, had an absolutely gleeful, joyous time as only young children can do.  I finally tore myself away from them and rode away on the back of the motorbike, turned around and waving and shouting goodbye over and over again, them bouncing and laughing and waving and shouting, and then racing to catch us at a different vantage point as the road wound down the hill and squealing some more.
  They may have been the cutest kids I have ever seen.

From there we did a bunch of beaches, most just a blur of guesthouses and bungalows and the associated beachside bars and restaurants.  We stopped at Otres beach, arguably the nicest beach in Sihanoukville, where I went for a swim and chowed down on a delicious spicy papaya salad.  Dude kept protesting that I wouldn't like it or that it wasn't "good for tourist," I guess because it was spicy or made by a poor woman out of a makeshift street cart in the sand or both, but I didn't listen and it was terrific.  Who wants overpriced average tourist food when there is cheap local food to be had?

He dropped me off shortly after 11am, and I spent the rest of the day zoning out on the internet and staying out of the blazing sun.
  It was a great last day in Cambodia.
safwaty says:
I know it is way back but how much did you pay that guy?
Posted on: Jul 16, 2015
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Thats a lot of motorbikes! (Local…
That's a lot of motorbikes! (Loca…
They stole my heart.
They stole my heart.
Otres beach
Otres beach
Delicious spicy papaya salad.
Delicious spicy papaya salad.
Otres beach
Otres beach