I’m not sure who my readers are, but I know it extends beyond my circle of friends and family in Colorado (thanks WordPress site stats!). Since I haven’t done a great job describing Cambodia life up to this point, now is a good time to sum-up the last few months in Sihanouk Ville in a bullet-pointed list for ease of reading. Keep in mind that I’m working 95% of the time, but some pretty awesome things happen during that other 5%.
- There’s a restaurant/bar on Serendipity Beach Road called Maybe Later, which is the ex-pat hub of the area. Everyone ends up here at some point in the night and their cocktails are exactly what the the doctor prescribed for arguments and grievances, all culminating in countless high fives.
- Sihanouk Ville is a port city, so Navy ships dock here pretty frequently. Most recently, the Mercy Ship was here and did a lot of outreach work with Let Us Create. That deserves its own post. However, my overall understanding of these ships is USA Navy = Mostly Polite. Aussie Navy = Jerks.
- No one checks blind spots. Everyone accelerates into turns. Every part of the road is suitable for a U-turn. A moped can carry the same weight ratio as a dung beetle. Driving from Phnom Penh to Sihanouk Ville is a 3.5 hour game of chicken. Accidents are frequent, but I think not nearly as common as the laws of natural selection should dictate, mostly because everyone assumes the other person paying attention.
- I’ve been proposed to by a very drunk Russian who may also be the most racist man I’ve ever met.
- It’s important to get out of Sihanouk Ville at least once a month for a few days. Phnom Penh and Siem Reap are different worlds with legitimate coffee shops, multiple Cambodian hotel chains, and yoga studios. It’s great to spoil oneself on all of the luxuries of home that we’re missing on the beach, but it’s always nice to come back home to the ocean.
- Everywhere has wifi. In fact, my buddy, Matthew the owner of Ocean Walk Inn, hooked up the center’s router to a car battery. Now, we have wifi even when the power is out.
- In hindsight, my biggest pre-Cambodia regret was not bringing the cute clothes I left at home. I made the mistake packing too pragmatically, not considering I’d have a social life. Dad, I know you’re reading this. I’ll probably be asking for another care package with specific clothing items that are being stored in your office. Also, Mike from Maybe Later wants a bottle of some kind of bitters to make a sazerac.
- The three constant English language channels here are Discovery, History, and Animal Planet. It’s just one Food Network and one TLC away from being a dream cable package. Granted, Pawn Stars on History is dubbed in Chinese.
- I just spent two days at a retreat center in Siem Reap called Hariharalaya. I had my first energy healing session, as well as an acupuncture appointment. I’m now dedicating myself to visit once a month to balance my chakra and eat some of the most amazing food (and vegan, for that matter) I’ve had in Cambodia.
- You see corruption everywhere, but I’m not sure if it’s any worse than back home, it’s just out in the open. Cops will outright ask you for money when they pull you over, as opposed to waiting behind a sign and stopping anyone going 5 miles over the speed limit to meet a quota. More on this later.
- The dating scene is nearly non-existent. All of the good ones are taken and all of the others are a little crazy. Sihanouk Ville is a transient town, so creating a long-term relationship is almost impossible. Almost.
I leave for Japan on the 26th, then I’m off to Takeo to stay with Mom for a week or two. I was supposed to be moving to Siem Reap, but Sihanouk Ville has put its Kung-Fu grip around me and I’ll be staying here for at least another year…probably longer. I promise to stop neglecting this blog. All of those bullet points should’ve been legitimate posts.