So before we set off on another wild adventure, Ive decided to dedicate this blog to all those people back in NZ, generally acting like beached whales and having ham and pavlova on Christmas day. We will hunt you down, and are expecting our portion on the 4th of feb, no matter how moldy, rotten or bad it smells. Or Else.
And with today's threat out of the way, lets continue on with how our Christmas panned out and first impressions of Sihanoukville, Cambodia's beach resort town. We left off late on Christmas eve, when Santa was still hitting the snooze button on the alarm clock, somewhat doom and gloomy about what our Christmas day was going to involve exactly.
Anyway, so we woke up on Christmas morning and generally decided today was going to be one of our less productive days, choosing to instead of getting out and about and generally enjoying Christmas, sulk in the hotel room watching Mythbusters blow things up (hows that for a mega guilt trip?) But the calls back home to all the family somewhat committed us to actually making something of the day and so we headed out into the city once again to find something semi-Christmassy. Now here is probably a good time to point out exactly how Christmas is celebrated in Cambodia. In many ways its a lot like New Zealand with music belting out from any speaker that worked, and the idea of Christmas trees covered in tinsel wasn't lost on anyone, with most shops having at least one small tree at least hiding in the corner next to Buddha (who probably wasn't entirely sure what this supposedly buddhist country was doing, but he seemed to let this one slide). After putting in a reasonable amount of effort looking for a 'real' Christmas meal, it was decided upon that we weren't going to find anything under the $70 mark, which in NZ might be ok, but over here where most meals cost between 3-4, even Santa would have a hard time justifying that to the accountants. And so we settled on a place called 'Lucky Burger', which would be the local equivalent of just about any fast food place in New Zealand (it had pizza, burgers, fried chicken, and sandwiches so they were pretty much sorted with regards to flooding the market). And so, we sat down to our Christmas luncheon, with the only thing really coming close to christmas being one of those awesome deep fried apple pies that you find at Mc Donalds in New Zealand....then it was to making more calls to home, packing up our bits to head to Sihanoukville the next day, and then just generally sulking about Christmas back home (note the continued guilt trip). Next we had to decided on dinner, and not wanting to repeat the price tag of the night before at a certain indian place, it was decided that a local Vietnamese place would do the job, and with our waiter who had an overbite that made him look like a distant camel relative, we signed off from Christmas day and prepared for our bus trip down to Sihanoukville the next day.
Once again, somewhat predictably it was up at 6am for our minibus to pick us up at 7am (this point was emphasized specifically to us when we bought the last two tickets on the bus a few days prior). By 7:20 we were starting to get a bit worried about the whole experience given that our bus left the middle of town at 7:45 and we were still get to see any sign of our minibus. 5 phone calls later, and after being hung up on 4 times (think we scared them with speaking english) it was concluded that the minibus was on its way to pick us up sometime in the near future. It all worked out in the end however, and we arrived down in Sihanoukville 5 hours later for what would be a rather odd experience.
Down here is somewhat expat territory (similar to how Bali is now basically an Australian state) and so the moment we got off the bus, not only did we have 40 tuk tuk, moto and taxi drivers but we now had another 20 expats throwing various flyers at us for different hostels and nightclubs, and after a considerable amount of haggling we decided that we would be catching motorbikes with our now 20kg backpacks around 20km out of town to an isolated little beach called Otheros. Now when we say isolated we mean that completely literally unlike NZ where we gloat about how isolated areas like Piha and Waiheke are, this place was pretty much 8km west of the middle of nowhere, then down a dirt path, turn left at the anorexic cows, and head down another track for 5km and that's where this beach called Otheros lies.
We eventually found a nice little bungalow that was 5m from the water and on some pretty decent sand with hammocks, with the only problem being that there was only power after 4pm when the generator was switched on, and even then you got the rather impossible choice of whether you wanted to use the fan, or the light (the 12V battery outside wasn't capable of much more than that....not that it mattered come nightfall anyway, the main generator for the area broke down which meant what was a nice isolated middle of nowhere place, was now a nice, dark middle of nowhere place with mosquitoes that have actually developed a taste for DEET (industrial grade insect repellent).
So apart from eating lots of REALLY western food over the past 2 days including Weetbix this morning and lazing around in the sand there's not all that much to do in Otheros, and in fact we had to come back into the main part of town just to be able to write this blog! (no internet in our beach at all) But there is a possibility of hiring a couple of kayaks tomorrow and going and seeing a couple of the nearby islands, and the expats down here are really awesome, people who have that sorta persona that there actually is nothing bigger than the beach they live on and their life revolves around the sand and the surf....very cool people regardless, where we also learnt a few things about owning a business down here including how to pay tax for everything (yes there are some things you cant escape) but when you own a business down here its set at a rate of $10 per month payable in cash whenever the police guy turns up, and the fact you can only own land if your a local, AND you have worked for the government (nice little self preservation act the govt has going for them).
Anywho wont hog the the computers for any more,
Off to drink another whole coconut on the beach (take that all you Takapuna people :P),