Paradise Becomes Scarydise

Day 11: Sihanoukville

After eleven hours of sleep I wake up feeling like a bag of wet sand, but a coffee and cold shower pep me up.
A few kilometres from town sits Otres Beach, a stunning spot away from the masses. The walk there is endless and sweaty. Halfway, I succumb to a tuk-tuk ride which drops me at the end of a dirt road. The driver points forward. I pay him and follow the path to the top of a hill with bungalows dotting the trees. Walking towards the water, the hill tapers down to sharp rocks and I follow it to the right and around a bend. It curves into a beautiful bay with a long stretch of white beach; a beacon of hope for my current antisocial mental state.

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I hopscotch along the rocks until they drop below the surface and then slowly wobble across in waist deep water. The stones rise up again and my foot lands on a slimy green patch. I am down faster than a fat brick, smashing my head onto the boulder jutting out behind me. Hat and shoes fly into the water and I reach out for them, ignoring the tunnel of white closing around my eyeballs.
Wading to dry land, the bartender at a little wooden shack gives me a bag of ice. I grab a beach chair and lay my throbbing head on it . When it becomes a dripping mess I jump in the water and head towards the busier end of the beach.
The sun is hot, the water is wet, and beer pong is no where to be seen. Relaxation!
After hours of swimming and sunning, I sit down for a drink at a bar run by a couple Russian guys. One of them joins me for some beers and we chat about nothing in particular. I order a seafood dinner and at the end, he insists I have no bill. But he wants me to stay for one more drink, so I do. I thank him after, bidding farewell, and he offers me a lift since he is dropping some friends home as well.
Four of us hop in the car and drive to a fancy condo belonging to the nice couple with us. It’s in a neighbourhood far from my hostel. They invite me inside for a drink but I just want to go home. I don’t know where I am and there’s hardly any traffic in this area – no taxis. I feel stuck.
‘Russia’ promises to drive me home after one drink. The couple bring out a bottle of shiraz and a cheese plate. I sip impatiently on a glass of wine, my eyes glazing over as they talk 2am nonsense. The Russian guy is slurring and keeps telling me ‘not to be afraid’. It’s not comforting.
The only comforting thing is the couple, who are incredibly kind and make me wonder why they are friends with this dude. But when they go to bed and leave me alone with the drunk Russian, that comfort is gone. I tell him I’m leaving, which seems to upset him. He just keeps telling me he’ll drive me. I tell him it’s not necessary and head out to the driveway. The damn gate is closed and I’m locked in! FUCK. I can’t even escape this weirdo now. He stumbles outside, looking for his car keys before going back in, where he sways around the kitchen, cleaning up cheese and knocking over a wine bottle. I’m more annoyed than scared, but I really gotta get the hell out of here. Finally he comes out to the driveway to start the car and OPEN THE GATE. Seeing my opportunity, I yell a quick ‘thanks for dinner!’ and book it onto the road, sprinting down the dark street like Usain fucking Bolt. My heart thumps faster than my feet and at the end of the road I run left, the way from which we’d come. If he follows me he’d probably go right; in the direction of town. After a few minutes I stop and turn around. His vehicle drives down the street and turns right. Bullet; DODGED.
However, I’m now standing in the middle of a pitch black street in a strange town in a foreign country.
I got this. I take my flashlight out and look for a place that could call me a taxi, but there is nothing out here. Paranoia sets in, and it’s probably not the safest idea to be walk alone down a vacant street in the middle of the night. Every time a vehicle or bike passes I turn of my flashlight and hide behind a bush. But it’s late and the road is long; I don’t see an end to this. Waving down the next motorbike that passes, I ask for a ride to town and try not to act like a rescued princess when he tells me it’ll be two dollars. Relief relaxes my muscles as arrive back to lit up streets. Even the sight of drunken tourist slaps a fat smile across my face.
Safely back at the hostel, I crawl happily into bed and sleep.
I am home. For now.


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