Back to the beach

Trip Start Feb 01, 2006
Trip End May 04, 2006

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Flag of Cambodia  ,
Monday, March 27, 2006

After two weeks of fast paced traveling, and one depressing day of sight-seeing I decided it was time for some more rest and relaxation at the beach, so I headed down to Sihanoukville, Cambodia's largest (and possibly only) beach town. At first I planned on only staying for a couple days, but somehow I got pretty accustomed to going out at night and lazing on the beach every day, and two days turned in to five. Go figure.

Nothing especially noteworthy happened, the beaches were very nice which I was kind of surprised by, I would say they were definitely comparable to some of the beaches in Thailand. I also ended up meeting a bunch of cool people to hang out with, which is always nice when you are traveling alone.

Hmmm, what else. Mel says I should tell less stories about pimps and prostitutes and more about cute little kids, so here goes. Whenever you sit down on the beach within about ten minutes you will be approached by little kids trying to sell you bracelets or fruit (actually people look much younger than they are here, so a kid that looks about nine is often more like twelve or thirteen). Most touts will leave after you tell them no four or five times, but these kids will just pull up a seat, and not take no for an answer. But they aren't just trying to sell you stuff, it seems like they just like to hang out and joke around too. Two little girls sat next to me for about an hour one after noon just joking and hawking, finally one of them said that she would make me a bracelet for free, I told her no, really I have no need for a bracelet, anyway she finished, and when I wouldn't accept it, she took my flip flops and ran off down the beach, after about twenty minutes it started to get dark and I really needed my flip flops back. I eventually found her hiding under a table with them, and finally relented and paid her fifty cents, it was a fun little interaction, and everyone was happy in the end. Some of the little boys would take the more direct tactic of lightly punching you and trying to practice wrestling moves from WWE (kinda sad but it is really popular here, who knew?) on you. Overall they are friendly kids so it isn't so bad.

What kind of sucks for these kids is that they are on the beach every day hawking bracelets or fruit or whatever, pretty much from the time they get out of school at noon until a few hours after dark. On one hand it is kind of sad for ten year olds to have to work every day, but on the other hand their families really are poor and really do need the money. Overall it is probably good for them because talking to foreigners for eight hours really advances their ability to speak English.

On the bad side for tourists, some of the kids will band together to distract people and steal their wallets. No joke, I talked to four separate people that had gotten their wallets or bags stolen by little kids on the beach while I was there. Some of them got some of their stuff back (passports are the biggie), some didn't.

Anyway I am now in Saigon (Ho Chi Min City for all of you communists out there;), and am enjoying it so far, i'll write more about that next time...
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