Saturday – Monday
We made our way south to the beach community of Sihanoukville (I’ve been listing this place as one of our destinations for months now and I still can’t pronounce it). We’ve booked three nights at a room on AirB&B called the Cozy Garden. The room is cheap, the restaurants just up the hill are cheap and the beach is a little over a block away. The public beach is small and fairly strewn with trash, but It’s still the freakin’ ocean! Also, just behind the Queenco resort is a very clean stretch of beach and you can use their chair, patio and palm tree shade as long as you buy a couple beers. It’s here that we’ve taken refuge for the past few days while we nursed our wounds and made plans to get the heck out of Victory Beach (I’ll explain in a minute, wait for it).
I’m not sure if it’s because Cozy Gardens is hard for Cambodians to pronounce or the fact that it was a spare bedroomin a guy named Uli’s house, but the tuk-tuk driver had a difficult time finding it. We had an idea of where we were so after a while of driving in circles we got dropped off determined to find the Cozy Gardens.
There seem to be two parts to this area: Victory Beach and Victory Hill. We’re staying across from the beach but were dropped off by the tuk-tuk on the hill. Unfortunately,a steep, slick road, a heavy backpack and flip flops were the wrong combination and McKayla went down. It resulted in a pretty deep abrasion on the top of her food; it was more of an annoyance than painful as she described it.
Not only does Uli own and live in the Cozy Gardens, this entrepreneur also seems to be his own house keeper and repair man. I’ll keep it brief but the bum gun leaks (sorry, I know you’re dying to know what a bum gun is but you’ll have to wait), the overhead light has alternating color bulbs and the floors haven’t been swept in ages. But, Uli was very nice and offered good advice and the location was prime as far as being a good distance from the beach and affordable food.
Our first two days consisted of going up the hill for breakfast ($3.50 for two), then heading to the beach/Queenco for swimming and beer, then up the hill for dinner ($7 for two) and a Harry Potter movie on our ipad before bed.
Day three was different; we had errands to do. But first – the bum gun.
All of our bathrooms have been equipted with a bum gun which, until recently, was a mystery to us. So, you know the hose that used to be attached to some kitchen sinks before they made those sweet detachable faucet heads? Okay now picturethe previous bathroom description with shower/toilet combo and attach that sink hose to the wall next to the toilet. Plumbing here is not great so most toilet paper can’t be flushed. That is why every bathroom comes with its own… self operated… bidet/kitchen sink hose ass blaster. Toilet Paper is used to dry and tidy up and then is supposed to be deposited in the waste bin.
Anyway, back to our errands. We needed to get our visas for Vietnam, grab some necessities and bounce around town a bit. It seemed like the ideal day to rend our first moto. It was only 5 dollars for the day. We loaded up our pack underneath the seat, got our helmets on, took off and boom! We made it about 30 feet before skid crashing into a wall. A little adrenaline built up from never having driven a motorcycle/moped with a very touchy throttle so we didn’t even make it out of the parking lot. Thankfully, McKayla didn’t have a scratch on her and I only sustained minor injuries – a few scrapes on both arms and a dead leg from the weight of the bike crushing onto it.
Since mostly just my pride was hurt, we paid for the damages ($20) and had another moto lined up in 10 minutes and we were off, much more slowly. McKayla was kind enough to let me take it around the block before hopping on the back, making sure I had it under control before braving the back again.
It was a shaky start but after the initial hiccup, everything went fairly smooth. We stopped for breakfast, cruised the beaches, did our errands and lined up our Vietnam Visas with ease. We then went back to Queensco to relax, have a few beers and get outragously overcharged for laundry. $50 vs the usual $6 (we assumed taking it to a resort would run a smaller risk of them losing any of our stuff – not worth it. We can add that to our growing list of rookie mistakes. McKayla brought up a good point that were in a transition period of going from tourists to travelers. Along the way we’ll pick up tricks, advice and types of adventure hacks (zing) that will allow us to live a great nomadic life. However, along the way, mistakes will be made, schemers will scheme and a lot of people will try to make money off us. For the most part – we’ve been very fortunate with good luck, preparation and fairpeople along our way. Our mistake was not getting the price up front which has proven to be fairly key here in Cambodia. With the exception of Queenco, we had been really good about doing that anytime a price isn’t displayed clearly. Also in transition we’ve been good about keeping our stuff and ourselves safe and secure. We’re on our way to being professional travelers and Cambodia has been a great lace to get our feet wet and our wits about us.
P.S. Since writing this we’re now pretty sure it’s pronounced See-a-nook-ville. Sihanoukville.