Cambodian Coast

Trip Start Jan 03, 2012
Trip End May 02, 2013

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Flag of Cambodia  ,
Monday, February 6, 2012

We caught a Saturday morning bus to Sihanoukville.  Being the weekend, the bus was full of Cambodians and a few tourists headed for the coast.  These bus trips are always interesting, because they are never the same twice.  Despite there being one bus station and one destination, the locals seem to get on and off the bus in the most random places.  This trip also included stops at a number of toll booths; perhaps a means of punishing those wealthy enough to 'spend' the weekend by the sea.

Downtown Sihanoukville sits in the centre of a peninsula that is surrounded by white sand beaches.  Our hotel was one street back from Occheuteal Beach, a fact we were thankful for given the long row of bars that line the shore.  As we’ve experienced before, these places are known to get so loud at night that not even earplugs can dampen the bass.  Our first night included a walk down the beach to the rocky point near Serendipity Beach to watch the sunset, followed by a nice dinner and a quiet night.  Little did we know what our street would have to offer (more on that later).

The following day we rented a pair of ‘shifty’ bicycles ($2 each for 24 hours) and rode out to the more remote Otres Beach.  With only a few bungalows and restaurants along the west end, there are still kilometres of undeveloped oceanfront to enjoy.  The sun and heat were intense so, drenched in sweat, we were thankful for the cool breeze blowing in off the water and the large Beerlao, bananas and pineapple we brought along.  Jason has already sampled half a dozen different kinds of Southeast Asian beer and we have both enjoyed the wide variety of fresh fruit (mangosteen, dragonfruit, longan) available almost everywhere.  Even the nearly deserted beach had women walking by offering us mango, papaya, pineapple and more from huge platters balanced on their heads.  Unfortunately, everywhere people go, garbage ends up.  Thus, each time we went to the beach we made a point of packing out a little of what others had left behind.

That night we ventured out for dinner and didn’t get very far.  That’s because 23 Tola Street was transformed into a seafood extravaganza, with each restaurant displaying their best in glass cases out front.  We chose Blue Mean Leap for barbecued king prawns and a big red snapper, washed down with fruit shakes for $9 all-in.  We both agreed that a repeat visit was in order.

After an early rise and another bacon, egg and cheese sandwich with a side of fried rice and muffins with tea, we were back on the bikes, heading through town to the Vietnamese consulate.  True to the word on the street, the visa turnaround time was quick (15 to 20 minutes) and all our papers were in order to enter Vietnam.

It actually rained for a few minutes later that morning but not to worry, the sun broke through and made for another relaxing afternoon on the beach.  Even Chaplin made it out for this chill session and as you can see from the photo, he was in heaven.  Back at Blue Mean Leap, we had barbecued marlin, squid, king prawns and a whole barracuda.  It was incredibly fresh and delicious.  We’ll miss that place for sure.

On a side note, it seems that almost everywhere we go the locals want to claim Sylvia as one of their own.  From Mexico to Southeast Asia, she has been stared at and on several occasions asked if she’s from whatever country we’re in.  The cutest example happened in Angkor when a girl asked her, "You have mother here in Cambodia?"  Only when they find out she’s not one of theirs do they comment on her good looks, which of course makes her uncomfortable and Jason highly entertained.
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