“There’s nothing else to do – let’s get drunk.” This became my motto (as well as everyone else’s at Cloud 9) for the week we got nothing but stormy weather.
Our days were spent reading, making travel plans for Australia and Europe and storm watching. Our nights were spent drinking and socializing with the other guests (usually after a delicious dinner of fish or prawn amok).
We met some great people from Australia (Mike and Belinda) and from the UK (Sam and Helena) to name a few. We played scrabble, traded stories and of course, drank. It was a lot of fun.
One day when the waves were huge but the thunder, lightening and rain were taking a break, we went to the beach to play in the surf. Curtis was having fun diving under the really big waves while I played it safe with the smaller ones closer to shore. Even the small ones were powerful as my bikini top found out…
We were with Sam and Helena with our borrowed boogie boards and the four of us were having a great time along with many other foreigners. It wasn’t long before we had drifted quite a ways down the beach though, on the strong current. When I got out of the water to put my boogie board away, a woman who had been watching us suggested we make our way back as a child had drowned recently in the area we were heading towards. We obliged and there were no incidents.
Twice while swimming in the ocean I got stung by jellyfish but the stinging sensation only lasted about 20 minutes and it wasn’t as painful as one would imagine. Walking along the shore one afternoon we found it covered with dozens of washed up jellyfish.
The temperature of the ocean was actually warmer than it was outside. This was the case another day when Curtis and I decided to walk to the very end of the beach. There was a break in the rain which didn’t last long and we soon found ourselves soaked but were determined to make it to the end. We had to go swimming just to warm up after getting completely drenched.
We had lunch at the Snake House at a glass topped table with a big snake inside after wandering around looking at all the snakes, crocodiles, birds and reptiles. This croc was asleep with his mouth open. Crikey!
After Sihanoukville, we headed to Phnom Penh for a few days before returning to Bangkok. Curtis wanted to see the Killing Fields and hit a few museums before leaving Cambodia. I wanted to avoid any more sad sights but agreed to go.
The Killing Fields are the saddest place I have ever been and imagine that they are one of the saddest places on Earth.
In 1975, Phnom Penh fell under control of the Khmer Rouge, the communist guerilla group led by Pol Pot. They forced all city residents into the countryside and to labour camps. Educated people, people who wore glasses, anyone who spoke a foreign language and anyone who opposed the regime were tortured and killed. Families were separated and estimated 2 million Cambodians died by starvation, torture or execution.
The Killing Fields are where they were taken to be killed and buried in mass graves.
While we were there, reading the history and standing in the very spots where these poor people suffered, I felt sick to my stomach and couldn’t stop the tears. The horror of what happened to them in unbelievable. S21 (the school that turned into a prison) was just as sad to visit. The pictures of all the victims was haunting.
When we returned from our visit to these sad sites, we went to see the Royal Palace to finish the day on a “cheerier” note. It was quite a contrast to see such riches in the middle of a country that is surrounded by so much poverty. We weren’t allowed to photographic the huge diamond encrusted Buddha’s or any of the other treasures inside of these majestic buildings.
Phnom Penh is a city built on the river made up of many beautiful old colonial buildings. There are tons of restaurants and bars to choose from. We had pizza one night at Happy Herbs Pizza, a place we had read about in the Lonely Planet. The “happy” pizza was only $1 extra and when our server asked how happy we would like it, I replied, “just a little happy.” Which was more than enough – we were giggling and looking for ice cream in no time.
We spent our last 5 days in Asia back in Bangkok. It was bittersweet being back there because Bangkok is the city where our one year adventure began. The first 4 months of our journey were almost over.
We spent most of our time in Bangkok trying to shop for winter clothes. Not an easy task in a city that has no concept of cold weather (all of the sweaters I found were short sleeved). We spent one afternoon at the outdoor weekend market, which was filled with everything you could possibly imagine. Clothing, jewelry, toys, silk products, leather goods, food and gadgets.
We went to a tailor where Curtis had a suit and two dress shirts made and I had a black silk dress made. The tailored clothing in Bangkok is much cheaper than off the rack in Canada. Plus it’s so much easier to just pick your fabric and style and tell them exactly what you want than to try on dozens of different dresses looking for the perfect one. You’ll get to see us in our new duds when we go to the opera in Sydney.
One evening as we were walking down the street, I smelled a very strong animal smell – turns out it was a baby elephant walking down the sidewalk. Some guys were selling fruit for people to feed it. Only in Asia….
We also spent a fair amount of time in Little Arabia where we discovered some delicious Indian food and Curtis enjoyed smoking a hookah (or Shisha as they called it there), which is tobacco flavored with fruit.
We went to see the Sex and the City movie (which was an excellent follow up to my favorite show!) but went to a swankier restaurant inside the mall for a cocktail first. I thought it would be fun to have a Cosmopolitan before the movie (which is the girls signature drink if you aren’t familiar with the show). The cocktail menu was extensive but didn’t have a Cosmo on it. Curtis asked the bartender if he could make one and he said sure. While we were sitting on our leather couch waiting for our drinks, the manager came over to us and bowed, apologizing profusely that even though they had the ingredients and knew how to make a Cosmo, that they simply couldn’t because it wasn’t on the menu. His apology lasted for over 5 minutes and even after I explained the whole Sex and the City thing, he still couldn’t budge. I was able to order a vodka and cranberry juice instead (which arrived with more apologizes and bowing) – but it wasn’t quite the same. I would have thought it would have been easier to just make the drink and save the bowing but what do I know?
The Asia portion of our trip being up – we board a plane for Sydney, Australia (with a stop over in Singapore) and head towards winter Down Under.