I have really enjoyed Cambodia, but I was absolutely ready to leave Phnom Penh. I never felt like it was quite safe at any point, there was a lot of rubbish and noise, and it just wasn’t really for me. I am not usually much of a beach person (I am paranoid that my milky white skin that loves to be bright red but frazzle in the sun) but I was ready to relax in Sihanoukville. I have loved how much we have done on the tour so far, but a couple of days to relax and explore at a more leisurely pace is very much welcome.
Today there was only a 5hr bus journey. It didn’t feel very long at all, I think I am getting used to all this travelling around for hours.I read a bit, and sort of slept. I had to use King Louis as a pillow, bless him. It was nice to see the water, and palm trees, and beach bars. Silhanoukville is a bit strange, it’s full of backpackers and locals. It’s a 3 mile stretch of beach with a load of local sellers of everything you can imagine from bracelets to squid, fireworks to sunglasses, manicures to chicken foetuses.
We went to a local restaurant for lunch, and I got to try some seafood. The crab was lovely. A Cambodian lady came round with a 20% off coupon for a local massage place, so Jade, Lara, and I decided to visit the place. We ordered a head and shoulder massage. We ended up being massaged all over, which seemed strange. She worked wonders for me, but Jade seems to have bruises on her back she didn’t have before. Let’s just say it’s an experience getting a massage here.
After our massage we went to join everyone else on the beach. I couldn’t wait to get into the water, I really love the sea. We dived straight in and were relaxing, when Mairead screamed jellyfish. We were all off like a shot, racing them to the shore, which didn’t go well when the waves crashed against us carrying said jellyfish. I was only stung twice, but poor Melissa was stung all over. Luckily they aren’t too bad as jellyfish stings go, and Peter knew using a credit card to scratch/clean the sting helped, so combined with the local remedy of lime juice, we were all much better in no time.
We finally had some proper relaxing downtime to get a decent shower, reassess our things, and no rush whilst getting ready. As much as I am loving the whole travelling thing, the lack of time to do things like wash and get dressed is annoying. We headed straight off to the same restaurant we had eaten earlier in the day on a flat bed truck to have a beach BBQ. Jade and I shared a seafood platter (clams, squid, barracuda, crab, king and tiger prawns.) It was really good. Like really good. We all tried the local drink phenomenon of ‘the bucket’ which is as it sounds: a bucket filled with a specified alcoholic drink. I’m glad I only had one.
After that we visited JJ’s, the backpackers favourite, and Jade’s namesake. It was interesting to say the least. Women got free cocktails, they were pouring free shots out of bottles into peoples mouths left, right, and centre, and there were fire dancers close to the water. I was offered a job behind the bar while I was there, which had I been staying more that two nights, I might have taken, and we were able to make our own drink behind the bar. The local workers who did the fire dancing were all wearing snapbacks, which many of our group took turns wearing over the course of the night. A few of us were ready to return before too much was drunk and the snorkelling was ruined; Jade had acquired one of the hats, and on the walk home was positively delighted about this.
I can’t wait for the boat ride tomorrow, and the islands, and the snorkelling!