So we arrived around 7am looking for a hostel. we got a tuk tuk driver to take us to the beach area of town we wanted to stay at. we asked for a specific hostel we had heard of but he said it was closed and he could take us to another cheap one (driver often say things are closed and try to take you elsewhere where they get commission from the business) we refused and went there anyways. when we saw it was actually closed and felt the driver was trying to rip us off we decided to just walk. we walked down the beach and found a guesthouse for $6 total per night for a queen bed, fan, and personal bathroom. We quickly put on our swimsuits and headed to the beach. little did we know but we spent the next 8ish hours on the touristy end of the beach (we only figured this out at the end of the day). by touristy i dont just mean lots of travellers, but also the people walking up and down the beach ruthlessly trying to sell you cheap junk.
"you buy bracelet, one dollar"- i must have heard this phrase over 100 times that day. every time i had to say no and have a small conversation sometimes when they ask 'why not' or 'i make deal for you'. pretty much the conversation or nap was interrupted at least every five minutes to deny bracelets, fake raybans, or foot massages by older women. it was quite the experience but once was enough and decided to take a boat trip to the islands the next day.
Lila however did enjoy some of their services. the khmer women use a technique called threading to get rid of body hair, its the same effect as waxing but they use thread. lila got her legs and brows done for the low price of $14 which would cost at least 4x as much in the states.
It was, however, the 4th of july, and being some of the only americans around, it was hard to find people to celebrate with. happy hour there starts at four but there are 50c beers all day. god bless america, cheap beer and fried food... we felt at home. we went out for a delicious dinner and splurged for $4 a person. when we started yelling god bless america at the bar, the british bar owner ran to the computer and blasted "America, F*** Yea!", the theme song from Team America World Police (a ridiculous movie, for those who dont know it) they offered us free tequila shots and we had a couple rounds with some brits, forcing them to celebrate with us!
We went to the next bar (a big backpacker hostel- monkey republic), played pool with some more brits, and headed down to the beach for the specials at the bars ( we had been given about 15 flyers on the beach for all the bar specials that night).. again no americans around, so we looked pretty silly yelling things about america, since nobody really cares about us... fun none the less, we celebrated and went home early due to our lack of sleep.
The next day we got up early and went to our boat trip ($12 per person including breakfast and lunch, snorkeling twice, and a visit to 3 islands. the weather was amaaaaazing and the sea was as smooth as glass. all the people running the trip kept commenting on how lucky we were for the weather. Once on the boat i realized it was the perfect cast for a movie where the boat wrecks and all of us have to survive on an island. there was us, the couple, our british friends, the blonde backpackers, 2 bros from australia, an ethnic couple, and an obnoxious overly white couple who i can only assume were from somewhere in the midwest. hollywood would have eaten it up. the boat ride was great, the beaches were wonderful, and the company was great as always. we relaxed on one beach where the water was crystal clear for about 3 hours. it was a great trip.
we got back and went to an italian restaurant running and special, $10 gets you 2 appetizers and 2 entrees. we proceeded to have the most delicious, cheesiest meal of our trip. lila had to leave early and went to bed because she got really sick from all the sun all day (the boat didnt bring enough water and our nalgenes ran our quickly). i finished dinner with the brits and went out to the bars for our last night in sihanoukville.
Something interesting about cambodia is that a lot of restaurants offer "happy" pizzas for a small surcharge... dont worry mom, dad, david, janine, grandma, and grandpa and whoever else told me not to do things of this sort in other countries, i have not taken part.. just pointing out that every time we get off our tuk tuk or walk by one, its not unusual to be offered the special tobacco. we asked if its legal and we were told its not, however, this herb has been used as a spice in khmer cuisine for a long time so its normal to the people here
we got up the next day (late because of our late wake up call) and rushed to catch our bus, barely able to grab cold cheese baguettes for breakfast. we took our "4 hr" (actually 6) busride to phnom penh, cambodias capital and arrived at okay guesthouse around 5pm. we negotiated and got a queen bed, aircon, and private bathroom for $10 per night
a story we forgot to tell from siem reap-
we went to a little shack restaurant for lunch one day near one of the smaller temples. we looked at the menu and the prices were around $4.50, about double what it should be. of course we asked for a discount and she said we could all eat for $2.50... not only this but she than brought out different laminated menus with completely different prices! all $2 cheaper than the first one she gave us. this is how a lot of cambodian businesses work (at least the ones running out of shacks or markets).. they give you a high price hoping you wont think anything of it considering its cheap anyways but you can usually bargain to about half the price!
were off to lunch but we cant wait to tell you about phnom penh and the awfully depressing tour around the city showing us all about the genocide the khmer rouge committed in the 70s
its so humid it feels like its raining and we wouldnt have it any other way...
with love from cambodia,