Taking it easy in Sihanouk Ville
Jun 18, 2013
|Hi friends and family.
For a change, I slept like a log and didn’t wake up till 7.30. That’s really good, even when at home.
Once out and about after breakfast, I had it in mind, as I think I said yesterday, to take a day trip into Ream National Park. Although the weather god was back in my good books, I thought that as I am only here for one full day, I should try and see some of the town. The hotel got me a tuk tuk and I was off on a leisurely tour.
The driver said his name was Rambo but I am taking that with a pinch of salt! This place is basically a resort full of young people and not somewhere I would visit unless necessity dictates. And dictates it does as the internal airport is just outside town and I will be off there tomorrow. Anyway I digress. Rambo (I can’t keep a straight face when writing that) took me tuk tuking off on my $15 trip. I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed it and will go through a few highlights:
We started off at one of the local beaches, clean and almost deserted except for a few locals. There were several shack type eateries so I suppose things get busier later. Pic of one of the locals cleaning spring onions. I wandered along, taking the occasional picture and then back to tuk tuk. We travelled around a big roundabout with painted concrete lions as the theme. No prizes for guessing the roundabouts name. See pic. There seems to be countless painted concrete statues, some tacky in the extreme, but looking on the bright side makers and painters have work! We travelled on and stopped at The Snake bar where R---o thought it would be good for me to go and take pics. They charged me $3 with a free can of coke. As you would think, there are snakes of every conceivable kind, thankfully behind glass tanks. Judy would be passing out now. You could even eat at tables with glass tops and snakes beneath. There was also a crocodile pit, well several actually, and I would estimate around 50 crocs in total. Most looked like more concrete structures with mouths open but they were real and occasionally moved. There were also an assortment of cages with birds and a monkey. Although he looked in very good condition, I hated to see the monkey caged. As I walked past he came to the edge of the cage and we chatted for a few minutes. He wasn’t much of a conversationalist but perhaps it was the language barrier. I drank my coke and then back onto the tuk tuk. We were then off to a temple where about 200 monks live. I had a chat to one and again he had that sense of calm. He invited me to look inside the main temple building so I took my 2 new friends off (Mark, the son in law said they were like army issue and should be good). They are by the way great! So comfortable but I am not sure about socks with them!! I was considering a knotted hankie as headwear but, I jest. I took lots of pics and made 2 extra friends with 2 youngsters. It was high fives and lots of hello’s. They apparently are orphans and live with the monks. They couldn’t get over my white arms and kept placing theirs next to mine and smiling. (I now have a white arm complex!!) Both R---o and myself gave them a little money and we got lots of thanks and bowing back. So little makes them so happy.
Back in tuk tuk we were off. By the by, R---o’s tuk tuk is brand new and he is very proud of it. He took me to a wooded area where there are lots of wild monkeys. They had learnt to come down to a fence on the road edge where they could interact with humans and get food. They were great with lots of babies in tow. I stood and watched for 10 min or so before we were off, this time to the port area. Sihanouk Ville is the countries only deep water terminal and is very busy. Container lorries everywhere. There was also a ferry terminal where we stopped for more pics. The road around the ferry terminal was awful and I was shaken to bits. Poor new tuk tuk. It was then back to the hotel at about 1.30.
I refreshed and decided to walk the short walk (about 10 min) to the beach. This is the main beach and lots of people there. I sat in one of the numerous shack restaurants, put my feet up to watch all the young pretty people parade by. I ordered a tuna sandwich and yet another coke. There were lots of beggars hassling for money as well as various mobile traders selling a variety of goods. Many firm NO THANK YOU’S. There were also countless young ladies offering massage or manicures. They almost outnumbered the punters.
It was really hot and I drank a bottle of water on my way back to the hotel. Back about 3.30, I got the laptop from my room and am sitting at the edge of the restaurant writing this blog. I have just had a long cold raspberry milk shake which makes a pleasant change from coke.
It’s now raining, well actually pouring and blowing a gale. It’s amazing how quickly it starts. I have to decide what I am doing for my meal tonight and will probably go out as the hotel’s choice of food is somewhat limited. I shall go look at my ‘Tripadvisor’/ Lonely Planet and see what it suggests. Whatever I decide I will need to shower and change so I’ll take a break and catch up later.
I’m back and feeling great.
I pushed the dinner boat out and went to Sandan restaurant – it’s a vocational-training program for at risk Cambodians and run by a local NGO (non-government organisation). It has 30 apprentices in training. They were great. I was met at the door by 3 youngsters all smiling and doing their bowing thing. They asked if I wanted to sit upstairs or downstairs. A tiny little girl, probably about 16 but very small said upstairs is best so up we went. It was immaculately clean and when I sat 2 came over with menu. There was a prawn, chili and baby tomato starter on a bed of bits and bobs on the special board, so that was for me. It was immaculately presented and tasted as good as it looked. But wow was it hot or what. I love hot spicy food and that was right up there on the heat Richter scale! Pity I couldn’t bring a helping back for my mate Den! I followed that with a gorgeous fish soup, crammed with fish I recognised and some I didn’t. It was also fairly spicy and as I had said I like the chillies, they brought me up an additional little plate full of chopped ones. It also came with rice (no surprise there then). They gave me the wine menu but I reluctantly declined and went for crushed lychees and pineapple, which was I suppose, a close second to a good red wine. The meal wasn’t cheap by Cambodian standards but it was excellent and profits go to a good cause, so I had no problems with the price and left a nice tip.
I made my way back towards the hotel and succumbed to the temptation of a back neck and head massage - no dodgy stuff!! I have never known an hour go so fast! It was brilliant and I feel like a new man. If I sit over this keyboard too long though, I will have to go get it done again!! (Only joking). My son said he had one for a present in Maidstone and reckoned it was about £60. Mine was $8 (£5.00) for the hour which included a cup of jasmine tea after. The lady on the desk – it was a very smart place, said she had had about 8 customers all day and there must have been 8 ladies working there. I suppose it is the start of the rainy season and numbers are down.
The walk back to my hotel was just 5 min and then back to blog.
I think that’s about it really, other than me going and putting some pics on here for you to see.
Tomorrow is a mystery as I have to pack and taxi booked for 3.45. When I have to be out of my room I don’t know and what I shall do between packing and taxi I don’t know. So that’s it for now and I will catch up again tomorrow.
Bye bye from a very full and contended Me.