With our time in Phnom Penh over it was time to move on to Sihanoukville for some time by the sea. After a sparse continental breakfast (it appears our hotels are getting progressively worse) it was time to board another public bus and drive "about 3 hours" south. In reality it was 5.5 hours drive but this bus driver didn't have the same love affair with the horn as the last one so I was able to catch some Z's. I think I was out before we left city limits.
As we were waiting at the bus stop for our bus to arrive the most awesome thing happened: We saw a monkey! It was crawling on a power line and crawled onto the balconies of an apartment building. I bet if someone left their window open that monkey would crawl right in and help itself to anything edible it can find (while pooping all over the place). Marv didn't get a good shot of it but hopefully it will not be the last monkey we cross paths with.
We arrived in Sihanoukville at 12:30 p.m. I will spare you the details and photo of the dead you-can-about-imagine that was on our bathroom floor when we entered. We headed to the beach for lunch and when we got back they (yes, plural), thankfully, had been disposed of by the housekeeping staff. Like I said, progressively worse!
The public beaches are a magnet for hawkers, mostly children selling bracelets. Very few straight out beg, but it's not unheard of. I am seriously amazed at their English skills, they can actually speak and understand, as opposed to reciting a few memorized syllables. This makes me think they go to school, as we learned school runs in morning, afternoon, and evening shifts.
There are also millions of women carrying around a basket of supplies offering "manicures and pedicures". I shudder at the thought of how unsanitary their mani/pedi equipment is. Eeew, staph infection much?!
The public beaches are almost unpleasant to lay on (some would say completely intolerable) because of all the distractions selling goods and services. But if you keep your nose buried in a book and just shake your head 'no' they can be brushed off pretty easily. Other members of our group plan to pay $5 to go to a private beach tomorrow so they can chillax without miniature Billy Mays's assaulting them every ten seconds.
Being the good melanoma prevention advocate I am I sat under an umbrella, completely shaded and slathered in SPF 50, and read for a while after lunch while Marv went into town to the market. He bought a super douchey "bermuda shirt" which, at $5, I think was wildly overpriced. He and Adam now wear their hot pink "we are douche tourists" shirts with pride.
Our "bungalow" has a fan and A/C so we hung out in the room cooling ourselves off for a good portion of the afternoon. Hot damn it is hot and humid here, especially in the afternoon. But it hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be (knock on wood).
We all met up and headed down to the beach for dinner. After a short happy hour of $0.50 draft beers we went to a restaurant recommended by our tour guide, which also happened to have $0.50 beers.
Earlier that day Marv had barracuda for lunch, which I had of bite of, and it was honestly the best bite of fish I have ever had in my life. And I am a dedicated fish eater. So for my dinner I had BBQ (meaning grilled) barracuda and noodles. It was amazingly delicious! Who's ever eaten barracuda before?! If you ever get the chance, do it. It's divine.
I had my first pang of "I am the only one of my kind here" during dinner, when I asked everyone if they had seen Legends of the Hidden Temple from Nickelodean back in the day. Nobody had even heard of it! How can a group of people my age, give or take, never have seen Legends of the Hidden Temple?! Suffice it to say nobody remembers the Blue Barracuda team from that show. That was my only association to the barracuda fish up until yesterday.
After dinner we decided to hit the town (beach is more like it) hardcore since tomorrow we don't have to travel and we need to use our free days as hangover recovery days. On every bus ride we've taken someone has been hoarking, usually before we exit city limits. We spent the night drinking $0.50 - $1 beers and checking out the Cambodian "prozzies", what the Brits call prostitutes. It was a fun night and we had to take tuk tuk the few minute journey home since it was monsooning. When it rains here it pours, and the rain comes without warning. We made it home relatively dry, at what time I don't even remember.
Tomorrow Marv and a few guys are taking a boat tour out to some nearby islands. The tour starts at 8, and shade from the sun is not guaranteed, so there's no way in hell I'll be joining that trip. I'll be sleeping in and reading my book in the shade (or possibly in the air conditioned awesomeness of the hotel room) because that's how my white arse does a beach!