What a bunch of comedians. I mean it. What a bloody bunch of comedians. I travel all this way around the world and come to Phnom Penh in Cambodia and here I am? Saturday night literally sat with a bunch of comedians. Who knew stand up was alive and kicking in Cambodia.
“Hello Pal. I recognise that accent. Where are you from?” said a guy further down the bar from me. He was a bald headed man with a thick Burnley accent with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face. It was my first night in Cambodia and I had been searching the bars for one that had more of a pub like appeal. I think I may of been missing the bars at home. I had finally settled for Sundance mainly because it was playing William Pherrels Happy song which has been stuck in my head for about a month now. We got chatting and I found out he was Karl an expat working in Cambodia teaching English and married to his beautiful Cambodian wife Sophia.
I got invited to join him and his wife and friends at a table. They turned out to be a great bunch of guys all expats and most teaching English now. Beers were drunk, pool was played and I got very very drunk. Next thing I knew I was being invited to go on a boat with them on the Mekong for a party. Hell how could I say no?
The next day we meet up at the bar and after a few drinks go to a shop to buy beers to take on the boat then jump onto a Tuk Tuk and we are away. Its a bit of an unreal experience at the quay as normal Phnom Penh night life is going on around us and a cluster of mainly expat are gathering in a group getting larger and all clutching carrier bags full of booze looking like a group of drunks hanging outside a rough estates off licence. We all finally wander onto the boat. Once on board the boat has a large cool box filled with ice and we all empty our bags of booze into it and it becomes our communal fridge. A few beers later and the karaoke machine is turned on and some guys are belting out love ballads at the top of their lungs. Karl convinces me to have a go. I have a voice like a sack full of bricks being run over by a steam roller but I don’t care. There is an embarrassed silence and a few start to wander off clearly feeling sorry for me but I am in my own world now. I finish of my belter of a song and open my eyes to pass the microphone on. Only Karl is there. He calmly takes the microphone from my hands. “They have all gone upstairs to light the cake come on”.
Its several peoples birthday we are celebrating on the boat. Only a few I know from the previous night. More beer is drunk and the boat pulls ashore once and one of the crew is sent off to buy some weed for the birthday boys. Hey I’m not the one teaching English in the morning. Eventually we pull in and people start to go their separate ways. Karl, me and another lad I cannot remember his name but he is a big guy over 6ft head off to some other bars Karl wants to show me. Its the bar girl district and no sooner are we in the square then my arm is caught and I am dragged off to a bar at the back.
“But…. but I’m with friends!”
“No you come with me. You have beer with me.” Her grip is like a vice.
“Erm…. but…. but…” for such a little girl she nearly carries me like a rag doll.
“No. No. You be fine.”
There is loud footsteps and the big guy comes running full tilt mincing as he goes towards us. “What are you doing with my boyfriend??” She panics and looks aghast as he stops and glares at her.
“Sorry. Sorry.” She puts her hands up as if to ward of an attack. He calmly puts his arm in mine and marches me back to where Karl is waiting at a table with beers. We sit down and I look across at the big guy.
“Your not gay are you?”
“Fuck no.” he says ” but she didn’t know that” and we all start to laugh.
Its over a week later and I have come back from Kratie where I have been to see the fresh water dolphins in the river there. They are pretty rare and getting rarer all the time. An amazing site to see.
On the way back I found out I had been nominated for the ice bucket challenge. An event used to bring awareness to ALS and the charity. Luckily Karl arranged it all for me as I was on a bus with a 8 hr journey in front of me. Karl as it turns out is also a bit of a stand up comedian and has arranged a gig for him and a few others at a bar called Slur bar. I had come back to Phnom Penh just to see his act.
We arranged to meet in a bar before hand and Karl was in good spirits. Literally. He had been drinking since 4pm and the first act was not on till 9.30pm and Karls was the last act. Karl being the great guy he was had arranged free beers for us and I sat down for the bights entertainment. Full Metal Comics they were called and they had us all in stitches from the beginning. Then it was Karls turn. The night was getting late and Karl (sorry if your reading this mate), well Karl there was only one way to describe him. He was shitfaced and he knew it. But did he care. No not one bit. He slurred through a few jokes then actually passed the mike on to one of the audience to read his last jokes. It had me in stitches. His set finally over he came and sat down with a big grin and being the trooper he is continued drinking.
Thanks for reading