Phnom Penh to Sihanouk Ville
Trip Start Jun 15, 2007
74Trip End Jun 27, 2008
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After five joy filled hours we arrived in Sihanouk Ville (Snookie, as everyone in these parts calls it) and on to our chosen abode for the evening. FREE accommodation called Utopia, yes you heard it right free! wow there must be a catch right? Nope............well in a way there was. You had to be around the age of 18, enjoy sleeping pressed up against a complete stranger in battery hen style bunk beds and be deaf or that out of it you can't be woken by even an earthquake! But apart from that this was a genuine deal. On arriving at Utopia, we were met by one of the three male owners, topless and slightly intoxicated??? He gestured randomly at what looked like his garage and said "yeah guys....it's free just find a bunk and settle in." He staggered off. We entered the 'garage' and found one giant bunk bed with several mattresses all laid next to each other.....hmmmmm. luckily for us there was a smaller bunk with 4 mattresses. Having known each other for a few days we felt happier at the prospect of sleeping with each other than some random stranger. After dealing with the formalities we then headed out to the bar to sample the cuisine...hmmmmm.....after a few hours and a few drinks we decided an early night was in order due to the uncomfortable journey.....hey travelling tires you out!
We were all tucked in and looking forward to the prospect of a good nights sleep, we dozed off with the faint noise of the music from the bar in the background. After turning countless times in the attempt to find a comfortable position without sticking an arm or a leg up someones nose or being dribbled on by the person on the next mattress......1AM arrived, and with it the volume button on the sound system was discovered and it felt like the party had just moved into our bunk bed!!!!! 5AM music died ...Hurrrrah..but staff then took another hour to come to bed, loudly. 6AM God had decided that we had not had enough entertainment for the evening and unleashed a thunderstorm.....7:30AM. Kitchen staff arrive, switch on the radio and go about their daily routine LOUDLY! AARRGGGGHHHHHHHHH. OK we are up, out the door and in search of a more quiet tranquil place and we don't care how much it costs.
This is found only moments away in the form of Monkey Republic. This place was paradise. Chalet style rooms with en-suite bathroom, the communal area had three levels. floor level - bar, pool table, eating area and DVD room. Next level had comfy chairs eating area and playstation room. Third level had hammocks. All this for $5.
Due to the persistent rain this was to be our hideout for the next 5 days. We spent our time eating, watching DVD's, getting drunk and sleeping. By the 4th day this was beginning to wear a little thin and we were all becoming a little stir crazy. We decided that we would try and book a cooking course...but the lady had gone on holiday....how rude! So electric bikes for the girls, a big boy petrol bike for Pat, waterproof ponchos all round and off for adventure. Not long into our adventure and Pat needed petrol so we stopped at a little convenience at the side of the road in the form of a lady who had bottles of whiskey filled with petrol. These were a dollar each. So now Pat's bike was now full of two bottles of whiskey and off to the open road. We stumble across what looks like a 5 star hotel. So donning the posh English accent we decided to stop for lunch. The prices were surprisingly cheap so we all filled our faces with club sandwiches and chips washed down with a bottle of wine, ching ching. This was to be the most hilarious meal ever. We, the girls that is, had decided (due to our surroundings) to pretend that we were millionaire friends (all married) out to lunch and so followed a very amusing make believe conversation about botox parties, pool boys, plastic surgery, our make believe husbands, yachts and flash sports cars.....you had to be there. Pat watched on in amusement.
After lunch we ventured a little further and came across an aeroplane inside a half built building? We go in for further investigation and stumble across some locals trying to chop down a tree on the beach because it wasn't a palm tree. That is tree-ist if you ask me! So we decided to help. The locals looked on bemused as Pat swung from the rope attached to the top of the tree in the attempt to add leverage to the men sawing. We then decide that this is not enough and Miriam and Pat take over the sawing.....not one of Miriam's particular skills...so Nic decides to show her how to do it. 5 minutes later, a lot of sweat and people dangling from the rope and the tree finally yields, almost taking out a local - silly bugger ran in the same direction the tree was falling. Hurray. Pat grunted in manly tones, feeling he had achieved something for the day and with this we headed back as dusk drew in.
Thursday the 4th and the rain continued.......Pat had hired his bike for two days and decided he was going to get his monies worth. The rain relented for a while, so Nic and the girls visited the beach where Miriam and Victoria had their legs waxed with cotton? Yes cotton. They hold it in a certain way and pull it across your leg and out comes the hair! While we were off Pat was out on his bike.....returning an hour later absolutely soaked to the bone as the heavens opened again. Enough is enough....we decide to leave the next day and decide to settle our bill the night before to ensure a quick get away in the morning. This was to be the first downward turn that our otherwise fantastic trip has taken. Pat went to the secret hiding place to retrieve the money to pay and only to find there was no money. While we were in Phnom Phen at the Lazy Fish guest house we were robbed by the staff!!!! We had stupidly gone to the bank with our tuc tuc driver that had been arranged for us by the owner of the Lazy Fish. We then even more stupidly left money in the room and went out for the evening. They cleverly only took some of the money so as not to arouse suspicion...this worked as it was only now, 5 hours away, that we realised we had been robbed. Big slap on the wrist and an expensive lesson learned.