Day 10: Koh Kong to Sihanoukville
This morning I jump on an early bus to Sihanoukville. Supposedly it is a party town filled with tourists and dotted with spectacular islands off the coast. I assume this town will be full of people having the same backpacker conversations thirteen times a day (where are you from? Where are you going next?) and drinking until they can’t feel their faces, which I’m not in the mood for at all. But Sihanoukville is east, and that is the general direction I’m headed.
The meat stew from last night is making its way through my body like a spooked horse and I can’t seem to chug enough water to keep up with the dehydration.
On the bus, I meet a middle-aged man named Kee who lives in a town called Kampot, halfway between Koh Kong and Sihanoukville. He works as a tour guide through a restaraunt/tour company called Jack’s Place. We talk about the hospitality of Cambodians, about Buddhism, and learning English. He compliments me on my Canadian accent, which he says sounds ‘sweet’ compared to American, which sounds ‘loud and nasty’ (Hey, I didn’t say it).
When we reach Kampot, he wishes me fun travels and says to come to say hello to him at Jack’s Place if I make it there.
Reaching Sihanoukville, I get a motorbike taxi to the cheapest hostel I can find. This town is overrun with white people in board shorts and sundresses. Having just come from a small town, I feel resistant to this commercialized city glaring with shopping strips and pub crawl advertisements. I figure I can escape to the beach, but even this is a loud strip of shiny restaurants and lounge chairs that cost a fair sum of cash and sanity to sit in.
I treat myself to a massage, but relaxation is only a dim dream as people shove cheap souvenirs my way every five minutes, even as I lay face down with my nose squished against the plastic slats on the chaise lounge. I’m dehydrated, my bowels are stressed and if someone tries to sell me one more useless trinket I might kick sand in their eyes.
Even dinner loses appeal as every restaurant is full of people with good hydration levels playing beer pong. So I stop at the nearest market, purchase 3 litres of water and fall asleep in my empty dorm room at 630pm.