Sihnoukville on Cambodia's south coast is a little bit Benidorm . I've just had a cup of PG so there you go. I'd heard it was very seedy but it seems to have cleaned up its act, just a lot of backpackers and Russians. But it's truly stunning and once you get past such classy bars as 'let's get wasted' there's a few kilometres of beautiful beach with only palm trees behind. However, there is rubbish everywhere. Plastic must be the scourge of Cambodia. So many bags and food containers blocking up rivers and littering roads. I guess it's not high on their list of priorities to sort out but it's really rather depressing.
I stayed in sihnoukville for one night in a bungalow on the hill with a hammock and sea view. An aside; it was in said hammock that I found out they killed Dumbledore. How could they?! I know I'm a little late to the harry potter party but I've been reading the books back to back and I just can't believe it. Sob.
Next day to koh rong, an island about an hour off the coast. The speed boat was fast and less than ideal but koh rong, just wow. A true paradise island, no roads, just jungle and pristine white sand and turquoise seas. There are only a few places to stay on koh rong and I'm pretty sure I found the worst. There was some khmer guy asleep in my room when I got there and there was no water at all the three days I stayed there. Yep that's right, no shower for three days.
I met Ryan, an American dude on the boat and we joined a group of kids and we had a lot of beach beers. A lot. It got dark and we took a boat out to sea, cut the engine, no lights. In we jump and phosphorescent plankton illuminates, clinging to your skin like minute replicas of the many stars above. So beautiful. Back to the islands in a drunken whirlwind, busting some moves with the local islanders.
There's a pretty big drug scene on koh rong which I find fairly amusing as some enterprising person is ferrying over everything going, and I mean everything, from the mainland so the kids can get their kicks. Just seems a bit incongruous on an island without any plumbing and electricity that only runs some of the day.
I woke up the next day with a tropical hangover, possibly still drunk and...a stomach bug. Sick on an island. When you're staying in a place with the foulest bathrooms in the world, this is less than ideal. So I spent the whole day and night writhing around with stomach cramps, took a sleeping tablet and passed out to be woken intermittently by some ear splitting death metal or Eminem. Eclectic is the name of the game that's for sure.
Decided to leave koh rong the next day as was still feeling dodgy. There were some clouds on the horizon and the guy at the bars departing words were to me, 'yeah you might be in for a rough ride'. That doesn't quite cover it. The sea was so choppy and we're in a speedboat flying over waves. White nuckles and nausea. A lot of people were puking off the back of the boat. When you're struggling to just keep water inside you this is no fun. Then something caught in the propellor. Engine cut and we're swaying so much I can't handle it and I'm trying not to cry. One of the khmer guys goes under the boat to cut us free and twenty minutes later we are back on solid land and I can finally release my grip on the life jacket.
Back to sihnoukville and my hammock. I walked out to a deserted beach. A kid selling bracelets comes and sits next to me. We sing lady Gaga for a bit. I buy a bracelet. Apparently you're not supposed to buy stuff from kids selling on the beach as it makes them vulnerable to exploitation but it's so hard when they're so lovely. Start walking home and a polish guy stops his scooter and gives me a ride. The randomness of travelling never ceases to amaze.
Feeling a bit better but still can't stomach much. Siem reap tomorrow for a three day yoga retreat and then some temple time.