The cramped mini bus pulled over. I checked my offline maps on my phone. We were literally 5 minutes or 2 kilometers from where we could be dropped within walking distance of most guest houses. Instead we are dropped off in the middle of some vague street with a gaggle of tuk tuk drivers waiting to over charge us to take us to our digs. The bus company was prepared and had their own minibus ready to scalp us themselves. I pushed through and spoke too a tuk tuk driver. He was going to charge me twice as much as the mini bus. Fuck him. So me and another backpacker shared the mini bus to our digs.
Welcome to Sihanoukville Cambodia.
I had booked a hut literally on the beach called Otres beach. We are talking very basic hut here. Security was a wooden box not even screwed to the floor which you could lock with your own lock and was just the right size to took under your arm and walk away with all your valuables. Instead I hid mine about my backpack and the digs and placed enough rocks and sand in the box so anyone checking would think they had a decent haul.
Walking into the bar (there was no reception), (which was a large thatched hut) when I arrived I checked in with a cute American girl behind the bar who I later found out played the ukulele. Kind of cool. At the end of the bar was a long haired middle aged guy not quite a hippy rolling a joint. He looked up and said hello. Ok I thought obviously a chilled place not bothered about the guests rolling the odd joint. Later on I was to find he was one of the managers.
All though my hut was only several meters away from the sea they had designed it so I had to walk through the bar to get to the beach. Not really a problem. I found out a few days after arriving just how secure my hut was when after a couple of days being convinced I was catching a cold I discovered one of the local cats sprawled out on my bed. I am allergic to cats. The beach was lovely and quiet (it was out of season) and there were plenty of places to sit and chill. Unfortunately it was over cast so I booked a few more days hoping for the sun. Unfortunately still it stayed over cast. Luck of the Hobo I suppose.
One evening heading into the heart of town I had just enjoyed some great food at this BBQ restaurant and decided instead of heading back I would check out some of the bars in the town. Walking across a dark square a bar girl darted across from a bar shouting “Hello sir” , “Sues-Day” I replied. Its the informal hello. It pays to be polite to the bargirls then they may tell you when its happy hour. “You come and have a drink sir its happy hour”. See. Well that decided it for me and soon I was sat on a stool facing the bar with a cold beer in front of me. The bar girl was stood behind me at my shoulder making polite conversation as they do, making terrible jokes and giggling like it was the funniest thing they had heard. I smiled in the mirror behind the bar and pretended it was the funniest thing I had ever heard. Soon there was hands on my shoulders giving me a gentle massage. Invading my space like this normally irritates me and despite being months in Asia I had still not had a massage but I was enjoying the beer too much and thought what the hell. Pretty soon the massage got harder and I was physically wincing at the pressure. Was she trying to kill me. Should a girl be this strong. Next thing I know fingers dig in so deep and hard where my neck joins my shoulders I was briefly paralysed from the neck up. This meant I was stuck facing the mirror behind the bar. I gave the bargirl a good look as she continued to try and pop the top of my spine off my shoulders. Hmmm wasn’t the shoulders a bit too broad and rounded, where were the hips…….? Bugger. It wasn’t a bar girl it was a lady boy.
I finished my drink and left promising that yes I did enjoy the bar and yes I would be back tomorrow as it was her/him/its birthday and buy them a drink. I never did.
I spent the rest of my stay chilling by the beach waiting for the sunshine to come (it did on the day I left) and chatting to the local beach girls selling their hand woven goods on the beach which were pretty impressive and fascinating to watch being made.
Anyone going to Sihanoukville I recommend that you stay on Otres beach and enjoy the more chilled out atmosphere and reserve going into the main part of town for some amazing food. The main part is fine if you think Benidorm is a great place to be but for time away from it all you cannot beat Otres beach. I would go back and there was no sunshine when I was there.
Thanks for reading.