Breathing in for the Good Cobra

Trip Start Nov 21, 2013
Trip End Dec 16, 2013

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Flag of Cambodia  , Preah Sihanouk,
Monday, December 16, 2013

Ever wonder what Thailand's beaches looked like before the invasion of the hoardes of charter tourists and young party seekers drinking the infamous "buckets"? Cambodia’s coastline might give you a glimpse of just that. Although this coastline can’t really compare to it’s neighbor to the west, it sure is well worth visiting for some undisturbed (well almost) and relaxing time on a white sand beaches beneath gently swaying coconut palm trees. A smell of “ganja” mixed with motor oil lingering in the air.

I arrive in Sihanoukville after two days on a bumpy bus ride (with a stop in capital Phnom Pen). The potholes are as big as bathtubs on this road, no joke. China controls much of Cambodia’s infrastructure and to get anything done in terms of road work etc, it can take years to get approval and financial aid, so this means that the “hello massage”-ladies has a steady job, I mean, who doesn’t want a massage (or two) on the beach after a buss ride that literally has stirred every bone and organ around in your body?

I was here about 8 years ago and not much has changed. There is a strip of beach, a few miles long, where Occheuteal beach, Otres beach, Serendipity beach, Victory beach and Sokha beach all snuggle up side by side. I was recommended to stay at “Papa Pippos” bungalows in Otres beach to enjoy the best possible chill out experience. Unfortunately my bungalow ended up being sandwiched inbetween the kitchen/ hang out area for the staff and the restaurant/bar. To top it all off, the scraps from the food in the kitchen area attracted an array of birds, dogs and most interesting at all; a lizard couple. This I became aware of, as I sat on the toilet and, in midstream, see two sets of eyes peer out at me. Now I don’t mind little cute geckos but these were about half a meter long (my mom would have died)!!! The only plus of sitting on the toilet, was that I at least didn’t pee my pants….

After several weeks on the road and very little time to stretch, I am stoked to find out that there are yoga classes offered every day at a place a bit further down the beach. I pass ladies with massive fruit plates on their heads, kids selling bracelets (for one dollahhhhhhh) and diehard dedicated sun worshippers as I make my way over the class. A bit surprised to see that it is taking place in a bar… Sure, there are no walls and one can see the ocean just a few meters away but it is a bar non the less. I’m a bit early so I roll out my mat and wait, only to find out I’m a single student for the day.

My teacher rolls up on a motorcycle and looks like he’s been spending the past 10 years in a cave somewhere in India. –“Namaste my most excellent madam, what is your good name? “ He introduces himself as “Greg” and it turns out that he actually has been spending a lot of time in India, 30 years to be exact. He’s originally from Italy though, and talks passionately about how India finally became “too much” and he decided to find peace in Cambodia. The next two and a half hours I am guided by his Italian/Indian-English accent trough pose after pose., in the midst of smoking and drinking Russians. And everytime we do a sun salutation he says; -“ aaaand we are brrrreathing in for di Good Cobra” (upward dog pose). It was pure comedy. But I sure did practice peace in the midst of chaos, and I guess that’s what it is all about- to find that inner calm no matter if the potholes are larger than bathtubs, your bedroom wall is made out of straw while staying next to a bar or you are accompanied by two gigantic lizards in your bathroom (with a door that doesn’t close).

Peace, Love & Finding Calm in the midst of Chaos
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