We were woken at around 11:00 by the maid knocking on our door. Thing is, we stayed out quite late. And got quite drunk. Most of the beach bars are charging around $1 for a beer (as low as 50c during the various happy hours) and it was too good to pass up. Mixed with a lack of sleep over the previous couple of nights, we had a good time chatting and boozing away with a ton of other people. I nabbed a $2 hot dog on the walk home which turned out to be surprisingly tasty. The beach area’s not bad. It reminds me a lot of Palolem in Goa, India although a lot smaller.
The maid told us which (cheaper) room to move to and we shifted downstairs. Our new abode still has a TV/DVD, but is much smaller and has no attached bathroom. It’s also fan rather than air-con. And $12 a night cheaper.
We opted to walk up the hill towards the nearby main road for food, just to see what the places were like up there. At random, we chose Monkey Republic and opted for their large Heartstopper English breakfast. Two sausages, two eggs, two hash browns (or chips), mushroom, tomato, toast, beans and a pot of tea… for $5.50. And no arguments with the quality, either. A great feed and highly recommended. Their accommodation also looked OK, although one girl there did say it was loud until around 2am as the bar plays music until 1am and it takes people a while to stagger off. If you’re staying there and intend to get to bed before then, get earplugs or try to nab a shack at the back away from the bar.
As with most places around here, though, getting a room means being there at the right time. Very few places have a booking system – you turn up when you turn up and your room is yours until you leave.
We also had a quick look at Utopia over the road. It looks OK, with a new pool being built and a large bar area. One of their resident dogs just had thirteen pups! Fortunately, there is another dog (bitch, technically) who’s pregnant so she’s helping nurse them. The accomodation, on the other hand, is what you’d expect for $2 (or free, if you spend your day encouraging people to go to the bar in the evening): mattresses on the floor in a dorm. There are lockers for your valuables, but even if I did want cheap crash space… they’re full.
Back toward the hotel and I popped into Scuba Nation who I’d chatted to last year with a view to doing my Dive Master with them. That’s wet season here, and therefore isn’t too busy hence why I ended up doing the course in Bali instead. They’d been really helpful, though, so I thought it only fair to pop by and see if I could do a dive or two with them.
The price of $85 for two dives, all inclusive, seemed pretty good so I signed up. My booking was based on two people going on the dive and there was one other person signed up for Tuesday, the next day they’re going out. However, he hadn’t yet confirmed as he himself had booked in the hope someone else would join him. I left a deposit and my number, and they agreed to SMS me once he rang.
By 6pm, I’d not had a message from them. However, we had located a nice bar on the beach front where we sat and read for a while and Claire had a passable massage from a roaming local. The weather wasn’t as nice as it had been recently – overcast and windy – but still warm and pleasant to sit in. Certainly better than the arctic conditions which I hear are hitting the UK right now.
Also in the bar was a chap from the Midlands (West Brom supporter) called Simon. He’s part of a group that does conservation work in the area (Diving4Conservation)and he offered to take me out tomorrow for $65 – two or three dives, depending on the conditions and everything included again. That would suit me better as it would mean I could dive then leave on Tuesday as I’d originally planned. This would save me having to find more cheap accommodation on Tuesday night, which would be exceptionally difficult after returning from a dive late on that evening. I told him I’d check with Scuba Nation and get back to him… which I did.
As it stands at the moment, I’m heading out with him tomorrow and will check in with Scuba Nation in the evening to likely pick up my deposit. I really do need to head off on Tuesday if I can and they were fine with me leaving it a day and deciding then. If the Burmese visa thing doesn’t work out, I can always head back this direction!
Dinner was back up in the same area as lunch. We had a great Sunday roast (mix of pork and chicken, Yorkshire puds and an entire extra plate laden with veg) for $6 at Mick & Craig’s. Dessert was a very heavy apple crumble and custard – I had to eat half of Claire’s as she simply couldn’t finish it. The service was superb with very friendly, professional staff who really put the effort in. I watched the first half of the mackem game on the TV there then hopped over the road to the Beach Street bar for the second half.
I’m going off Sihanoukville as it seems to be full of people from the Dark Place Down The Road. I suppose they need to go somewhere that’s cheap and has wonders they’re not used to at home. Like taps, electricity, a cinema and motor transport. There were four of them watching the game in the bar, though none were wearing a football top. I guess they’d not been able to steal one from anywhere.
After dinner, back to Thida’s where I “fixed” the television by jamming the loose, plugless aerial cable into the back. The History Channel is certainly an interesting thing to have on when you’re writing up a blog!