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Published: July 21st 2008
We honestly didn't mean to do it! Let me explain. In Cambodia, you pay for things at the end of everything, including your hotel/ living arrangements. So, as we awoke on Sunday morning at 5:45AM and waved good-bye to our hosts, we completely forgot to pay for our room (and they did wave back, so we weren't sneaking out). As we were waiting in the overcrowded, unairconditioned bus station (buses don't leave until they are full, no matter how long you wait) we realized what we had done and promised to make amends.
We arrived in Sihanoukville in about 4 hours of our departure and quickly found some place to stay, as the dark clouds were quietly rolling in. We found a little bungalow for $5 total and jumped at the chance to save a few bucks (we usually spend $5-6 each). The room looked decent and at this point we were all very tired and hungry and so we put our belongings down and went off to find something to eat.
With full bellies we hit the beach to walk along the shore. We had talked with many travelers that spoke highly of this part of Cambodia. It was shortly after our stroll began that we realized everyone at the beach was laughing at us, pointing, coming up to us, clearly making a big fuss we were there. A small child even found a piece of trash, which there was lots to pick from, and threw it at us! We thought it would be best if we head back and nap before we decided what our plans for the following day would be.
Awaking for the second time today we were optomistic we took a wrong turn and head back to the beach, this time turning right instead of left. We found some cozy chairs to sit in and with books in our hands, sat and read for several hours, occasionally taking a break to watch the waves roll in. Definitely more backpackers on this end of the beach. Getting hungry, we reviewed the menu and saw that pizza was an option. We each ordered our own little pizza and waited patiently for it to arrive. Hungrier and hungrier with every passing minute (food takes a long time here) our pizzas arrived, steaming hot. It was much to our diasppointment when we took our first bite and realized the sauce was ketchup and the tomatos brown, and not very sure what kind of cheese it was, we instantly, in complete unison, placed our slices back on the plate. Cambodia is NOT the kind of place where one wastes food, so with each passing child begging for money and water we gave a piece to each. At one point, there was even a toothless, legless wonder amongst the sands dragging his body to our table. It would have been nice to talk with this man, hear his story, but he did not speak any English, but appreciated the pizza very much, even having to spit his napkin out not realizing it wasn't food. We thought, at last we could sleep knowing we made amends for the hotel we stiffed for our accomadations the night before.
As nice as this room seemed, I knew I would not have gotten any sleep without my bug net, so after several knots, lots of cursing, my net, though partially off the bed, hanging from lights, walls and gadgets, was hung with the rolling eyes of my dear friends Macaela and Courtney. Imagine the shock we were in when, in the middle of the night (3:36 exactly) mice were crawling on them, in their bed, on our TV, trying to get to our bus ride snacks of peanut butter crackers. The three of us, screaming, trying to turn on the lights, jumping around, finally found the switch and comfort in the lights. We quickly got out more rope, duct taping it to the wall so the nets would hang and keep out any night visitors. We sat, in the middle of our nets, lights on, keeping our bodies away from the edge as if on a boat hiding from a shark. Finally, the sun rose and we lowered ourselves back to sleeping position, afraid to close our eyes
Tonight, when you sleep, even if it is terribly hot, give thanks for your bed, pillows, hot showers, clean sheets, food and miceless houses. We are not sure of what awaits us tonight, but rest assured we will be vigilant. With each lesson learned we grow stronger and wiser than before.
Pictures will be posted of our nets, however, hopefully there will be no pictures available of us running around at night, saving ourselves from whatever comes to haunt us.
Thai Kho and Crew
PS I just counted 13 geckos on the wall.
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