Thursday, January 12, 2006

This Place is Just Wonderful

Since our last update we have done a lot of nothing.

We went to bed early Monday evening after our last update and were
lucky enough to catch part of the sunrise on Tuesday morning, which
was to say the least phenomenal. The day was spent drinking, eating
and walking the beach, twice, and reading. Our friends, Cam and
Andrew, met us with some friendly cheers of "ocho" (our war-cry from
Cuba) and from there on in the night quickly decended into absolute
relaxation as we ate food, sipped buckets (ingredients: whisky, coke
and red-bull from a sandbucket -- in this case we were lucky enough to
get a glass pitcher and asked for no redbull) and watched the waves
lap at the shore.

The food at Cloud 9, where we are staying, is superb although a bit
overpriced compared to other spots on the beach and the "Same Same But
Different" guesthouse is reported to serve up some quality Happy
Pizza, perfect for sharing, for those so inclined at a reasonable

Cam and Andrew managed to find an absolutely free place to stay at the
Full Moon Bar. Interestingly, on this most perfect of beaches, they
are giving away rooms to stay at in return for some patronage of their
bar/restaurant. The rooms are decent and lockable and come with, at
least in this case, double beds and toilet facilities. Certainly a
super deal but we are a little more aligned with the $10 per night
deal we have now... but only because our trip is shorter and our
budget a bit more flexible.

Yesterday, on Wednesday, we went to market on foot and it was
certainly an experience. It would seem that somewhere on us, written
in ink invisible to our eyes, are written the words, "Please rip me
off!". At one stand, the lady tried to convince us that the price
written on a swimming goggles/snorkel set was not 2,175 Riel ($1USD =
4,080 Riel) but rather that was the price she paid for it and that we
were expected to pay 12,000 Riel. I laughed at her, asked her if she
thought I was stupid, offered $1US for 2 and then left when she

The market here certainly is different to any other that we have
visited as absolutely no one was at all interested in negotiating or
haggling over the price. It would seem as if there were a guide
published ïndicating the price to charge foreigners and that everyone
sticks to it like white on rice. As a result, the market experience
was a bit of a disappointment and we left with only the lunches we ate
and some packs of bottled water along with some fruit.

The evening was spent enjoying a few beer while watching one of the
most spectactular sunsets I have ever witnessed and some great fare at
the "Green Leaf Restaurant" where $1.50US will buy you some fantastic
Fried Noodles with Vegetables and $2US will buy you a huge serving of
Fried Curry Rice with Vegetables. The beers were cheap at $0.75US for
a can of Beerlao.

There are numerous bars on the beach offering a wide assortment of
Khmer and Western food and a good number boast Happy Pizza and Shakes,
which Phnom Penh is famous for, with others upping the ante and
offering Free Smoking as well. Other tourists have told us that the
Dolphin Shack and Mama's are great stops.

Certainly the darker elements are not in plain view, but yesterday
gentlemen walking along the road behind the beach bars were making no
efforts to conceal the AK-47's that they were carrying and there seem
to be a few foreigners who are keen on nothing more than meeting the
local girls. Although, this doesn't seem to deter those who are on
vacation here with their spouses and families.

Today, being Thursday, we slept in, ate a good breakfast of Veggie
Omelettes with Baguettes at our Guest House and did some reading...
although Jessica did less reading and more napping than I.

We're going to enjoy the beach now and try to capture some photos to
post tomorrow.