Good morning, and welcome to Phnom Penh. It's a balmy 36C degrees in our fair city today, gently accompanied by 87% humidity. It will remain this hot forever, and ever. And ever.
With two weeks of relaxing, diving and swimming in Thailand, I find myself slumping into the back of the tuk tuk as I approach the airport. The Rocket is not so lucky; she's been dealing with paperwork and grandmothers and pitiless Belgian weather whilst I tan my guns. She'll be coming off the plane tired, wired and ready to do absolutely nothing once the caffeine that is Western life wears off. Sometimes, that can take a while.
I get to the airport and as I bob and weave through the crowds, I look intently towards the arrivals gate. Is that
her? Where is she? Did I miss her? It's been the longest time I've spent without my Nina, and it's time for her to find her rightful place in my arms... and she does. Out of the throng of people she appears and she's right back where she belongs. After much inappropriate hugging and kissing in public (which will undoubtedly NOT surprise most of you), we get back to Sarun and his tuk tuk and head to Prek Leap.
The plan is simple: Get back to Fred and Aimee's, and do nothing. Then go to Sihanoukville, and do nothing. Maybe we might go somewhere else and do nothing but for now that's pretty planned out - which involved doing something - and that's not part of the program, thank you very much.
We spend a few days out in Prek Leap - 10 mins north of Phnom Penh - where Fred and Aimee and Ella The Dog live, and do childish things like watch five movies in a row and invent diving games in the pool with a pomelo fruit. We experience our first Cambodian rainstorm and our first mosquito attack, but most importantly the sun's regenerative powers are working their magic. We decide to head down tothe coast of Cambodia via a 5 hour bus drive, which includes loud-ass karaoke - whether you like it or not, baby puke that vanishes all by itself (Oh no, wait, the puke stayed right where it was for the whole trip. Lovely) and the overtaking of other buses at 90 miles an hour on one lane roads. Of course, we've had a few days of swimming, watching movies, and eating nothing but fresh fruit, so we barely notice. Except for the baby puke. Not much we could do to ignore that sensory assault.
We'd done some research on the hotels available by the coast, making sure we'd get nice rooms with good views upon our arrival. The first problem becomes apparent while we are on our way to our hotel; It's miles out and not exactly easy to access. Then we get there. Suffice it to say the only thing accurate about the website is that this place is on the coast. Queen's Hill Resort is a dump. We enter our bungalow – slanting dangerously down a cliff – and are met by a stench of Clorox toilet tablets, and a very strange scratching sound coming from the ceiling. This turns out to be the full cast of Ratatouille, most likely munching away at the previous guests. We dealt with this by getting very drunk to try and sleep through it. It didn't work, so we ran away at breakneck speeds in the wee hours of the morning.
After a little adventure searching out hotels on
our trusty rent-a-moto, we settle on the Beach Road Hotel, a generic yet clean and friendly hotel on the main tourist strip of Sihanoukville. Complete with working AC and a huge pool right outside our door, we're now ready to tackle our holiday of lying in and chilling out. Day two is fantastic. We head out on the moto on a little adventure, heading out of town and discovering hidden beachs, abandoned colonial houses and what turns out to be the Independence Hotel, this majestic James Bond-esque tower hidden in the jungle, guarded by an army of monkeys. No joke.
Next up: Heading back to Phnom Penh and putting the heads down!