land mines browsing by tag


Khmertrip – Stage 5: Sihanoukville

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

© Frank P. Schneidewind




The arrival at the Parade Plaza bus station is characterized by countless touts and commission hunters, now clad in old Thai motorcycle taxi outfits, but still with their trademark hats and caps. Avoid these at any cost! We continued in the bus although this is their scheduled final stop. We stay on until the G.S.T. Garage on Ekkareach Road, much to the dismay of the touts.

On Ekkareach road is also our proposed hotel or better Guesthouse, Alex from Italy runs a Pizzeria here with a few guestrooms, across from “Holy cow”, a neat bar down Ekkareach.

Aircon accommodation for us two and a vintage moped for each one of us for 10 $ total daily cost, we quickly agreed with Alex. He also picked us up from the Garage with his minivan.

Sihanoukville, the seaport city with Cambodia’s oldest blacktop road to Phnom Penh and the only worthy container freight-terminal also boosts a large market. Stefan needed to have his BDU pants attended to and the market has a craft-section with tailors, sewing machines and all sorts of goodies. The heat and bad air in here was horrific, rats zoomed around and everything looked a bit sorry.

The air to breathe here was hot, heavy and humid. Ventilation at this old market was surely it’s biggest weakness before some arsonist burnt the whole market down shortly after our visit to Sihanoukville, killing many rats but also a few dealers here and their offsprings..:(

On partly rotten plywood in between heaps of other trash, my brave comrade stripped quick much to the enjoyment of the females here and had his pants altered. The Krama (headscarf) served him as a cover for those few minutes. He eagerly scanned the floor to avoid any rat climbing up on his naked legs. The large rats were really an annoyance here! Bigger than the cats, they were.

The following days we didn’t do much except beach biking, we must have covered every square meter of beach drivable between here and the Ream Navy base, we had much fun just doing that. Too bad, that my contacts there were currently on an assignment in Rattanakiri (East-Cambodia). Stefan would sure have liked to experience some re-breather diving (with German made Dräger outfits!), like I did with them a while ago to play with the manatee population there.

The Occaheuteal and Otres beaches provided the most fun, here we found a few fruit stands and refreshment stops on the otherwise vacated beaches. We swam a great deal too, the little surf was perfect and the water ultra clean!

Occasional creeks crossing our path were no real obstacle for us, we covered large distances.

On one of these trips, we met a group of de-miners in the morning, but that part of the story was made into a separate part of SIAMPEDIA, so I will just mention it here.

The Coffee served at Alex’s at breakfast in the mornings, was one of the most tasty coffees we both ever had. A dripping device was placed over a glass and the freshest coffee dripped in there. Condensed milk and sugar complemented it for those who liked (me!). Coffee is one thing I always like to be blond!

The lovely daughter of Alex and his charming Cambodian wife entertained us, and we gladly exchanged chewing gum or candy for more of her some wonderful smiles.

Alex sold his business and moved with his entire family within a short time frame after our stay there. Rumor has it, that he offers his tasty cusine and boarding now in Siem Reap, if anyone has information about his whereabouts there, or an email address, the author would be very happy to rekindle contact with Alex!

Please inform me, if you run into Alex from Northern Italy. He speaks English, German, Italian and Khmer.

Happy Herb’s Pizza was diagonally across the road, their clientele enjoy magic mushrooms on their dish or amounts of marihuana per slice, that would trigger a medium sized gang-war in Los Angeles. Here in liberal Cambodia, you may have that also delivered to your hammock on the beach or home. All it would take, is a simple cellphone call. This is how such a pizza looks:

The nightlife in Sihanoukville was a bit depressed these days. Only a handful of guests played snooker or gut drunk cheap. Drinks started at 50 cents for a large draft beer, but I don’t do beers (very uncommon for a genuine German Kraut).

The ladies to entertain willing guests were snoring away in the early evening, totally ignoring potential customers. Enjoying their “freedom” to grab some sleep during the opening hours in this establishment called “freedom”.