Heading to the beach

Well, I ploughed through four espisode of The Shield last night before forcing myself to stop and get to bed. Another chapter of The Catcher in the Rye and finally I nodded off, only to be woken up at 6:55 by someone knocking on my door. Most annoying as my alarm was set for 7:00.

I was packed in about five minutes and met up with everyone downstairs. Claire loaned me another baht so I could run over the road and pay off my water from the night before. We skipped breakfast as we were supposed to get some on the bus and were picked up by a feeder coach at 7:45.

The coach park was full of the usual people selling snacks and drinks for the journey. We hopped aboard to find someone already sat in my seat. We checked tickets and he was, indeed, sat in the “correct” one. It turned out there were a few double-bookings, mostly involving people from our guest house. Thankfully the bus wasn’t completely booked – there was one spare seat – so everyone did get a place. Including English Guy who made a re-appearance. At 6’6″ or thereabouts he wasn’t in for a very comfortable journey.

Roughly three hours into the journey we stopped for a leg-stretch and picked up some fruit for breakfast. We’d been provided with something on the bus… a mint and a bottle of water. Hum. Not exactly the same as the two pastries Leah and I had been given on the way from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh.

We finally arrived in Sihanoukville at around 1pm. Claire and I set off at a march (well, a stroll), fending off the inevitable and persistent tuk-tuk drivers. Our first target was an ATM which it took us around 20 minutes to find. Finally loaded up with useable currency, we walked for a while longer then gave up and allowed a tuk-tuk to take use to one of the guest houses listed in Lonely Planet.

Thing is it just didn’t look right. More of a hotel than a house, so we marched onto the beach in search of the cottages. Which we didn’t find. We walked for around half an hour in 3/4 of a circle and then asked another tuk-tuk to take us to another address.

We ended up right back where the first guy had dropped us off. Argh. Along the way we did pass a place called “Union”, but we’d been warned about it. $2 per night, but some lads had moved out after two robberies in as many evenings. Not worth the risk.

On the beach, we checked out the cottages but they were all a minimum of $15 per person, up to $60. Ouch. They looked lovely though. By now we’d been wandering for almost two hours so stopped for some food in a bar called Coasters, run by an American. As such it was no surprise that the $5 burger was rather tasty indeed. The surprise was that it came with proper chips. I bought an hour’s wi-fi from the internet shack next door for a buck, as well. The hi-tech system of timing your connection out was achieved by the chap walking into the restaurant and telling me my time had expired! Being honest, I shut my laptop down and we paid up and left.

Back onto the strip leading up from the beach (Serendipity Beach Road), we tried around half a dozen places – all nice – before getting a really good deal at Thida’s Inn. They only had an air-con room left, normally going for $35 or so. We were offered it for $20 and haggled them to $18. Hot shower, two big beds, air-con, TV, DVD… not bad at all. The deal was for one night, and to shift into a fan room at a lower price of $13 the next day once someone else moved out.

So I’m typing this up with BBC World on the telly, having just had a shower and starting to get peckish again. There’s somewhere with free wi-fi a couple of doors down so I may be forced to buy a beer or two so that I can use it. Shame. Oh, and also hopefully book some diving for the morning.

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