Day 81: A Man In His Boat

Ah I love days like these, in terms of writing an entry in the blog at least. The day started around 10:30am after having a long awaited (and deserved) lye in. Sarah was the first to jump out of bed, lather on the sun tan lotion, and head to the beach to get a full day of sun. Jamie and I emerged some half an hour later, after sitting on the chair outside the room admiring the view. The pair of us allowed Sarah to enjoy her book in the rays, while we got in the sea. It was nice first thing in the morning as the sea was a perfect temperature, not too hot and not too cold. It really helped in the waking process.

We were provided with additional entertainment when a little girl continuously harassed Sarah. She constantly ran back and forth every 10 seconds. In the end Sarah had enough and joined us in the ocean. After splashing around for an hour or so we grew hungry and decided to visit Strawberry (our favourite restaurant) for brunch. We chose the biggest table and each enjoyed a different meal. I chose the chicken breast with mashed potatoes and gravy. To say it was nice would be an understatement. After settling the bill, Jamie and Sarah went in search of a cheap place to hire a kayak, while I popped back to the hostel with a bad belly! (Too much information?)

When they returned they told me of a place which cost $10 for half a day. We took them up on their offer, and like a cat to water we set off (I say cat because we lacked any degree of grace). Sarah climbed on first, followed by Jamie, then in a beautiful gymnastic mount, I hopped on…. I capsized it. Luckily we had a waterproof bag, otherwise everything would have been destroyed. Second time around we managed to sit on without any issues. Resembling 3 fluorescent oranges in our oversized lifejackets we set off. Sarah chose the middle seat thinking she’d get an easy ride, but was horrified to learn she’d have to do the majority of the rowing due to our terrible weight displacement. Poor Jamie had to be the power house giving our vessel all it’s momentum.

The plan was to row across the sea to the other island. We found out online that it was 1.5km away, which doesn’t sound far but when you have to fight the motion of the ocean it becomes hell. I got away without having to do any rowing, which was lovely, whereas Jamie had no respite whatsoever. We passed a couple black flags, which we presumed meant “do not pass”. Given the fact nobody warned us we carried on, and they were never seen again. We nearly made it to the island, but because the waves grew bigger and more frequent, we retreated with our tails between our legs. Sarah and I took it in turns to row. With me being at the front, every time I’d row we’d nearly capsize… Again. In the end I left it to the experts and we got back safely. When Jamie and I handed the kayak back, the lady was surprised at how soon we returned it, we didn’t get any money back for being early though.

For as long as the sun was out we remained outside our room, all three of us reading our books. When the sun began to set it painted the sky a bright shade of pink and orange. I left my book to take some photographs, then got ready to go out. We caught a tuktuk back into town. It was quite daunting riding at night because whenever we hit a pothole I could swear we were going over. We arrived safely and withdrew some money (ready for the islands) before finding somewhere for tea. We settled on a Mexican restaurant but were disappointed with the outcome. Having ordered chicken quesadilla you would have thought there’d be some chicken in it. We ate it regardless but decided to visit a restaurant we passed on the way for dessert. We took a doughnut with us for good measure though.

At the next place we ordered molten chocolate pudding (which came with yummy vanilla ice cream). Due to its richness we left with full bellies, then endured a tuktuk ride back to our hostel. When he pulled up at our front door we asked him if he’d mind picking us up at 6:30am the following morning. SIX THIRTY AM!?!? Are you high? We are supposed to be on holiday. The reason for this crazy start was because we were set to catch a boat to Koh Rong. An island where we could relax even more, and Jamie and I could get our diving licenses. The driver said he’d come back at the ludicrous hour (wether or not he understand half six in the morning was yet to be seen). The three of us then checked out in advance, packed our bags and settled down in our room for an early night!


Day 82: Koh Rong It’s Right!

Beep beep beep 6:05am!
“Right then Jamie’s alarm clock, not only have you woke me up at an ungodly hour but you’ve also taken it a step further by beating my alarm clock by a whole 5 minutes”.
“Luckily for you the sun is rising and after a great nights sleep I have awoken with a lot of energy”.
“Now where did I put that can of energy drink I bought the previous night? Ah there it is, the can of red monster, just where I left you, on the bedroom floor. I’ll quickly put my things away and slurp on your ginseng and taurine goodness, as for this vitamin B you claim to have, I’ll just have to take your word for it”.
The time is now 6:30am and as promised the tuktuk driver is coming round the corner with a smile on his face.
“I’ll forewarn the others then off we’ll go. Good job we checked out last night as there isn’t a soul in sight. Jamie, you try and figure out how to get the chain off the door while I prevent the dog of the household from escaping”.
“Ah freedom, now let’s ask this kind gentleman to take us to our destination, a place called Treetop Bungalow Headquarters”.
“Ah, very good, he claims he knows the way, now let the three of us climb aboard and see if that’s true”.

“Hmm so this guy didn’t know where he was going, thank goodness we left a bit earlier this morning to allow for such a situation”.
“It’s ok, it’s only early morning and most businesses aren’t open, making it easier to weed out the building we are looking for”.
“What’s this? The driver is now on the phone asking for directions? Now we are taking off again. Now we’re going around the round about the wrong way, granted we are moving slowly, nonetheless we are going against the vehicular grain”.
“Why’s he turning around again? We’ve stopped outside a travel shop, could this be it?”.
“The driver has now disappeared inside with our tickets. I hope this is the right place, it must be, mustn’t it? It is!”. We have made it with time to spare”.
Inside we walked and dropped off our bags at the door. We were then told to sit, by a female staff member with piercing light blue eyes, similar to that of Jamie Bliss. The same lady then offered us breakfast.
“What do you mean you’ll sit with the bags Sarah? Fine, fine, I’ll go fetch you some food, you just wait there.”
“Oh great, is that it? Continental? A croissant, a baby banana, a couple pieces of watermelon and pineapple!”
“Now, now Ben, a free meal should never be barked at”.
“Great job Sarah, now Jamie has no seat, you were supposed to be guarding them! Oh well, we can all squeeze beside you on this bench I guess”.
“My my, what a filling breakfast that was, I am positively stuffed, there is no way I will be able to eat another single bite, even Henry the Eighth would’ve struggled with that feast”.
“What’s the commotion about now, oh I see, we are getting onto the buses which will take us to the ship. Here are our bags good sir, now lets see if we can locate us some seats”.
“What a stroke of luck, there happen to be three seats in a row at the back of this shoddy vessel. How long is this journey? 20 minutes you say? Ah that’s fine, drive on driver!”

“Ah I can tell by the smell that we aren’t in Kansas any more. Which can mean only one thing, we have arrived at the docks”.
“Oh thank you kind sir, you were quick to take my bags before the journey and now even quicker to take them off”.
“Come on guys let’s get on the boat now, we’ll have the cream of the crop to choose from, in terms of seating arrangements anyway”.
“Argh rar rar rar”
“What the heck is that noise?”
“Argh rar rar raaaaar”
“Don’t turn around Ben, whatever you do don’t turn around”. Why did I turn around?”
“From the looks of things, that dog’s rear legs have just been hit by the white car. The poor thing is flailing in pain as it attempts to get to it’s feet”.
“Any second now I am sure I will hear the coup de grace that will free the dog of it’s burden of hellish turmoil”.
There was nothing.
“I best not tell Sarah about the horror scene until it is out of sight”.
“Ah would you look at that, it would appear fate is dealing us two hands today, 3 more seats in a row”.
“Now to knuckle down and read the last of my book ‘Life Of Pi,’ during the 2 hour journey ahead”.
“Excuse me young lady, as hot as you may be in this temperature, would you mind not wearing such a low cut top which causes your bosom to practically fall out. It poses a constant distraction to me as I sit here trying to finish my book”. “Drats, only 50 minutes in and I have completed it, what a book. Shame there is still an hour and ten minutes remaining of this voyage. Especially now that seasickness has decided to pay me a visit”.
“I know what I’ll do, I remember someone once saying that staring at the woman’s cleavage in front will… Uh hum… I mean, staring at the horizon will help reduce the aquatic ailment. Nope, nothing, I still feel rough, having this cold isn’t helping matters either”.
“How about if I listen to some music, they say it’s good for the soul, perhaps it will aid my body too! Maybe if I close my eyes as well all will be ok”.
Up and down, up and down, up and down!
“Bluergh, I still feel sick.”
“Wait, what’s this? A slight passing of the nausea is occurring. Come on Akon, keep singing, and Ben, keep those eyes shut, we can get through this”.

“Ah land, sweet undeniable land, you were always there in the horizon, playing peek-a-boo every time the bow bobbed on the waves, but now you’re mine and I am coming to get you”.
“I have no idea, in my book, how the character Pi survived at sea for 200 odd days, I barely managed those 2 hours”.
“I will make a promise to you land, here and now, I will never cheat on you with the ocean, ever again… Least not until I have to do the return journey”.
“Look at you, you majestic marvel, your sand so chalk white. Soft to the touch like flour. Your ocean so turquoise it could make the colour itself jealous. Your forests so full of life and colour, it makes Rio’s Mardi Gras pale in significance. You truly are beautiful”.
“Ah, we’ve docked. Now lets all take our time and queue up sensibly, as only one person can get off at any given time”.
“Or not then. Let’s do the complete opposite, push and shove until we are nearly falling from the sides”.
“Finally, we are free, and what’s this? Luck, you certainly like us today don’t you! All three of our bags unloaded and waiting for us, thank you very much”.
Now, let us find our hostel and check in”.
“My goodness, we are located right beside the port? This day just keeps on getting better. Oh ok, we have to take our flip flops off first do we? Or is this just a preference of your guests? I will take mine off either way, out of respect for your residents”.
“This is a wind up now, surely? How did we beat everyone here? Thank goodness these people know how to run a business and will give us our room key promptly, that way I can put down both Mine and Sarah’s holdalls”.
“Oh wait, you guys don’t know how to run a business, ok I guess we’ll all hang around the bar area, clogging it up as more and more guests arrive”.
“Thank you. Now we follow this lady you say? Ok, come on then guys”.
“Well this IS a nice room. Oh wait, one more thing before you run away… There are already 2 bags in here”.
Apology accepted
“Ah, haha, two more buildings up are we? Ok. That’s better, all but one thing, the smell! Is this the resort’s bathroom? Never mind about that now, I am sure it’s a temporary issue and will soon pass. All we need to worry about now is dumping these bags, applying some suntan lotion and exploring this island’s beauty for all it’s worth!”

Grumble, grumble, grumble
“What are you talking about stomach? How can you possibly be hungry? You had a continental breakfast, all but 2 hours ago. Remember? I even made the sarcastic joke that Henry the Eighth would’ve been full!”
“Ok then, if you want food lil buddy, then food you shall have.”
“Come on guys, we’ve walked far enough, I can’t see any more buildings up ahead, only trees and white sands. Sarah, did you read about any good places in the Lonely Planet?”
“There’s a place called Monkey Island you say? They sell good food you say? It’s only up ahead you say? Be still my growling belly for we shall sate you yet!”
“What a menu, and at such reasonable prices. I’ll have the ‘cluckin’ big chicken burger’ please, and for the lady, a fruit salad.
The lady behind the bar was happy because I said the full title of the burger. Clearly she must have created the name herself and was very proud of being the brain child behind it.
“That’s alright,” I said in response to her gratitude.
“Ooooh good idea Sarah, let’s play some card games while we wait. Rummy. Good choice. Boom, I win first game”.
A few games later our food arrived, to which I was ecstatically happy because my burger was (as the title suggested) cluckin’ big.
“Ah, a little poochy poo laying beside me on the floor. Such soft fur you have for such hot climates”.

“Now that we’ve settled the bill, lets return to our room so our Scottish friend Jamie can apply some factor ginge sunscreen”.
“With that done, lets find a lovely spot on the beach where we can wile away the hours in the sea”.
“Ok Jamie, we’ll wait while you go in that building and enquire about their fishing trips. Only $10 for line fishing is that good? No you say, preferring rod fishing over that any day”.
“No worries, I’m sure there’ll be other places, as for now, let’s just enjoy today”. The one thing that became most obvious to me as we strolled the beach, the amount of people our own age. For once the sands weren’t filled with old fat Russians, or old fat people full stop. Instead, they were paved with young, voluptuous women parading around in there bikinis. Please, oh please begin running in slow motion just like the Baywatch days I remember of young.
“Damn you then, no such luck, instead just lye there soaking in the sun while the three of us pass by in search of the perfect spot”.
“There looks good”.
10 seconds of sunbathing later,
“Right, that’s enough of that. I can’t lye on the beach any longer, I have no idea how you girls do it”.
“In the transparent, turquoise sea I go. Are you coming Jamie? NO? Ok then, I wasn’t aware you grew breasts, and liked sunbathing so much”.
5 minutes later.
“That’s better, I knew you’d come to your senses eventually”.
Half an hour of floating aimlessly and “bird watching” later (we saw red breasts, white breasts, the popular large breasts, and even the rare small tits).
“Let’s explore those rocks over yonder Jamie. We’ll be back in five Sarah.” “Hmmmm, not much to see here, not even any fish, let’s go back, so I can tag Sarah in”. Swappsies, in you go.
Splash, splash, splash was all I could hear in the distance as Jamie and Sarah made waves.
“I’ll just close my eyes for a second I think”.
10 minutes later
“Oh hello guys, have you both had enough?”
Drip, drip, drip went the sweat on my brow
“Enough of that, back in the ocean I go in an attempt to both cool down and catch some bottom feeder fish”.
“They’re just too quick. Oh, watch out Jamie, here comes Sarah with her camera”.
“Smile and pose, smile and pose”.
“Right then, lets return to the hostel now and shower ourselves down”.
“Oh look Jamie, there’s the book distractor from the boat, with even more of her chest exposed! Phwooar!”

“Ah, this’ll be nice won’t it, granted the shower/toilet doesn’t look that great, but at least it’ll be warm”.
“Arghghghghh cold!”
“That’s ok, at least it’ll be light in there”.
As soon as the door closes “Arghghghghgh it’s dark. With what little light that is peering through the wooden surrounding I will endeavour to shower”.
“That’s better. To save on towelling I will simply put on a pair of board shorts and air dry”. Lovely. Now that that burden is over with, I’ll return to the room to get started on another one”.
“For the next couple of hours I will attempt to write this blog in a new fashion. They say variety is the spice of life, let’s see if my dwindling fan list will agree, and enjoy this new take on my ramblings”.
“Right, now that I’ve caught up with the day so far, I’ll go into our room and see what the other two are up to”.
“Oh dear! Wakey wakey guys, time to get up, you’ve both been asleep for a while now”.
“That’s more like it, now lets get ready to go out. Good idea Sarah, food and beer are the perfect combination for the evening ahead. I’ll just go do my hair and I’ll be ready”.
“ARGH, why won’t my hair work, it’s become too long over the past 82 days, that number one haircut I had before we left has now grown out of control, much like a neglected garden”.
“That’s ok, I’ll just sweep it back, surely that way I’ll look like some Hollywood heart throb. Damn it. Nowhere near. I look more like a schoolboy on picture day”.
“Never mind about that now, after a few beers I won’t worry what I look like anyway”.
“Off we set then guys, let’s go fill our bellies like the kings and queens we are”.

“My, my, my it has certainly got dark outside now, the sun seems to set a little later here, at 6:40pm. As opposed to 6pm back in Sihanoukville”.
“Hhhmmm, it is quite difficult to navigate to Monkey Island, avoiding the odd dog, crab and dog doo is nothing short of a miracle”. Ah, I see the lights of the building shinning onto the beach. Our safe haven from the darkness is just a little farther”.
“It’s a lot busier than earlier, but wait, over there, two free tables. Ah that’s nice, right then, I’ll have the fajitas, and yes Sarah I’ll go halfsies with you on the buy one get one free cocktails.

50 minutes later…
“Ahhhhh, that food was delicious, and my my aren’t these Muay Thai’s strong”.
“Let’s play a game of psychic. The rules?You pick up a downward facing card, place it to your head and predict what you think it is”.
King of hearts
“WHAT!? I got it? YES, I am psychic. Oh hello”.
Two new people have arrived on the table beside us.
“Hello Helen, hello Dean. Chat, chat, chat, anecdote, anecdote, anecdote”.
“Hey Steve, what a surprise seeing you tonight. Where have you been all day? Diving you say? Was it good?… Really? You’ve sold it to us, it’s confirmed, tomorrow Jamie and I will enquire about the prices of this amazing 3 day experience”.
“Two more people coming to join the table, hello… Introductions, chat, chat, chat, etc, etc, etc…”
“A rather large gecko has fallen from the ceiling onto the laps of both Jamie and Sarah”.
“Now that you’ve finally calmed down Sarah, would you look at the time”. “12:15am. I am feeling quite tired, rightly so seeing as we have all been up for over 18 hours”.
“Good idea let’s go back. Goodbye guys, safe travels, enjoy the rest of your honeymoon Helen and Dean”.
“Now, let us navigate ourselves back across the dark sandy dessert and return to our room.

… At the door …
“What do you mean you can’t find the key Sarah? I put it in your bag when we sat down for tea earlier! Let me have a look, hhhmmm, I have clearly emptied the contents of this bag and I still can’t find it”.
“Come on Jamie, let’s retrace our footsteps and see if we can find this blasted unlocking device!”
… Back at Monkey Island …
“Oh dear, in the space of 5 minutes the four people we said goodbye to have clearly drank more. Theyre shouting and slurring all over the place”.
“Never mind us, we’re just looking for a key”.
…Much searching later…
“Nope, can’t find it Jamie, I know, I’ll download a torch app for my iPhone, and it will illuminate our way home”.
“As well as lighting our way, it will also weed out any fallen items, should the key have lept from Sarah’s bag during her drunken walking”.

“Oh hi Sarah, what are you doing walking back along the beach to meet us?” WHAT!?
“You’re telling me the key was in your bag all along? And I physically moved it out when searching for it? And it was only when you heard it rattle on the bench after we left that you knew it was there?”
Damn it!
“So that means, the walk Jamie and I just did was all for nothing? Let’s just get back to the room now and finally sleep. I am grumpy and exhausted”.
“There we go, I’ve finished the days entry, finally!”
“To finish off the day let us now go through the evening rituals of cleaning teeth, washing faces, and emptying bladders. Now we’re ready for a good nights sleep in our little wooden shack.
… Lights out …
“Everyone in bed? Everyone have their mosquito nets tucked in? Great. Night night guys, don’t let the Mosquitos bite!”

Day 80: Waving The White Bra

I think it was fair to say the beer took its toll on us. I woke up in the middle of the night, and for some unknown reason walked out the room and across the courtyard in order to use the outside toilet. It wasn’t until the morning that I questioned it, when the whole time we had a private en suite bathroom. It was around 10:30 when we decided it was best to start moving. Even then we dragged our heels to the restaurant for breakfast.

Afterwards, I collected my laundry and returned to the room, sipping on water to prevent any delayed headaches. It wasn’t until I checked through my fresh clean clothes that I discovered (to my horror) a dirty white lace bra. Not knowing who it belonged to, like fully grown mature adults, we threw it around the room in the hopes it would land on someone’s head. I’d still like to believe it belonged to the woman I handed my washing to, and in a truly eccentric fan like fashion she gave me her bra as a gesture of love, as if I were a whiter, more English Tom Jones figure.

After checking out, we asked a stray tuktuk driver to take us to our next place of rest, Otres Beach. Sarah tried for $1 each but he said it was 7km away, so would cost us $6 in total. It seemed like a fixed price, and as I’ve said before, the tuktuk drivers seem pretty decent in Cambodia. Plus, being hungover we weren’t going to bother arguing over a lousy dollar. Seven kilometres later we arrived outside our beachfront hostel named Footprints. We were given the option of a dorm room or a private three bed room. Seeing as they both cost the same price we opted for the comfort of a private room. We had a lovely sea view from outside our room, which Jamie and I appreciated for a while, when Sarah marched down to the beach to catch some rays. We soon joined her, leaving anything valuable in the room.

We spent the majority of the day on the beach/ sea, which made it all the more easy to forget about the hangovers. The beach was lovely this time around, free from both rubbish and tourists. We were only haggled once by a small boy trying to sell us bracelets. Try as he might, with his cute face and oversized baseball cap I succeeded in saying no to every item he offered me, and he went through them all. As expected, hunger struck. We returned to our hotel, had a quick shower (in the stagnant smelling brown water), got changed and went on the hunt for food.

We looked in a couple places but because of how remote an area it was few places had an array of options on their menus. Out of the five places within walking distance (at least, as far as we wanted to walk) we located one which had a half decent menu. We ordered food and while waiting for it to cook, did our best not to fall asleep. The day was perfect, temperature just right, warm summer breeze blowing through, good company, we really couldn’t have asked for more. After settling the bill, and our stomachs, we returned to the hostel for even more R&R. If I am honest, I don’t know what happened over the next few hours. When we got back to the room Sarah sat outside reading, while both Jamie and I led on our beds inside. I began reading some more of my book, but because the door was open and the warm breeze let itself in, within 10 minutes I was out of it. When I came too it was dark outside.

I moved over to Sarah’s bigger, more spacious bed but being in the annoying mood she was, she refused to let me sleep. Teasing me with the occasional prod and poke until she convinced us to go for food. Before we left there was the issue of getting a mosquito net for my bed. Cambodia is supposedly in the high risk zone for malaria and seeing as I am not taking tablets to prevent it anymore I have to take all the precautionary measures possible. (Well that was my excuse anyway, it was more a way of allowing me to sleep in the big bed for longer while a guy from the hostel installed one).

When he was finished, reluctantly I got up, put on a top and my flip flops then followed her majesty to the restaurant. We returned to the place we ate earlier that day, however, because there were no tables available we only ordered water and looked elsewhere. It was pitch black out by this time and the only lights to guide us came from the occasional roadside huts. We looked at a few places, but because of their lack of dishes we returned to the previous place (MERCURIAL). It took a while for the food to cook and in that time two tables became available. Not happy with the first one, Sarah made us move because she started falling asleep (claiming it was too dark). The next table was juuuuust right and 5 minutes later our food arrived.

After tea we returned to our hostel, bought some snacks and sat in front of the telly to watch a film. The interior of Footprints had a very homely feel to it, resembling a tropical living room. It would have been very easy to migrate there for a long time, as the chill out area was so relaxing. Add to it the small puppy which ran off with Sarah’s flip flop and it was a home away from home. Unfortunately, we caught the tail end of the movie, so when it finished we returned to the room. Sarah and Jamie then watched the movie Ted on our tablet, while I led on my bed typing out this blog. Halfway through their film Sarah disappeared to the bathroom, only to return 10 seconds later asking if I’d accompany her. The reason for this? There was a big spider in the only available one.

When I got there (playing the role of the bodyguard) I saw it was a decent size, but certainly not big. Resembling one of those black spiders you’d find in your bathtubs at home. Seeing as we were staying somewhere tropical I imagined it would be a more formidable foe. The second we were inside and the door closed, the eight legged horror started running around. “Urgh, urgh, urgh,” went the cries as we ran away… They were coming from me, not really. We then waited for another bathroom to free itself, before returning to the room, where I got back to my blog, and Sarah her film. I typed for a good few hours that night, before closing both my work and my eyes to spend the first night in our new little paradise, spiders and all!

Day 79: Lord Of The Flies

This time, instead of Jamie’s alarm clock waking me up, it was the man himself. Dam you Jamie Bliss. 7:20am was the time and in an hour we were to be picked up via minibus and taken to the bus stop. After a quick breakfast, game of pool and Sarah playing with the fluffy puppy, we were on our way. Ten minutes later (after worming through traffic) we were dropped off at the end of a street. Unsure of where we were, or what was going on, the driver told us we had to wait and a bus would arrive shortly. True to his word a bus did arrive 5 minutes later, we handed over our bags and hopped aboard for a four to five hour journey. For the most part I worked on my blog, and with what time remained I dived back into my book. When we arrived it was getting on for two o’clock.

Like usual there was a large group of tuktuk drivers waiting to take us anywhere. From our experiences, most of them only want to rip you off and will take advantage of your wallet given the opportunity. Not here. In Cambodia they all seem pretty decent, and you feel bad when you try and haggle the fare from $2 a person to $1. Our driver was very friendly, yet I still found it annoying that they plague you before you collect your bags from the undercarriage. Seeing as we didn’t have any accommodation, we asked the driver if he’d mind taking us to the backpacker area. He agreed, and before taking off his young son hopped aboard. He couldn’t have been any older than 5. The driver obviously got commission if he could convince backpackers (or anyone for that matter) to stay at the place he took us to. Not wanting to pay $20 for a room we were then offered it for $15.

Feeling as though the place was too far out of the way, we got him to drive us around until we found somewhere better. The whole time I remained in the tuktuk while Jamie and Sarah got out to explore at each stop. The first one was too smelly (because people we’re smoking pot). The next one was fully booked. The third one was quite pricey, but the fourth one was juuuuuust right. It just so happened to be the one we visited first for $15 a night. After apologising to the tuktuk driver for messing him around we got out and checked in. Presumably he got his commission too.

We stayed in the room for as long as it took to get changed and dump our bags. We then explored the local beach. We were quite hungry by that point, so decided to eat at the little beach side shack directly opposite our guesthouse. Despite the irritation caused by countless flies it was actually quite enjoyable. We made friends with a friendly 19 year old Cambodian girl named Aiya. She was jealous of Jamie because she wanted his Scottish white skin. To avoid getting a tan she was wearing jeans, long sleeved top and a cardigan. While we were waiting for our food she was chatting with Sarah about beauty tips, all the while trying to sell her a pedicure/ manicure. In the end she made Sarah a free anklet, and talked her into getting her legs threaded. Jamie and I had never heard of this torture treatment before, and for any guys reading this who are also unsure, it’s basically hair removal using a piece of thread. Looking like it was painless, and still not clear on how it worked, Sarah told Aiya to try it on my leg. I’ll tell you this for free, it stung. I now have a bald spot on my left shin, which apparently won’t grow back for a while because the follicles were pulled out. When our food eventually arrived we wolfed it down, while doing battle against the ever intruding flies. It was also quite fun to watch Sarah attempt to eat her tuna baguette while having her leg hair ripped out. After food we went to the beach.

We were very surprised at the temperature of the sea, it was warm. The only factor that spoiled it was the amount of rubbish on the beach. It varied from food wrappers to broken bottles. We thought we’d take a stroll along the sands to see if we could find a cleaner spot, unfortunately it just got worse. We gave up in the end and settled for a spot which was moderately clean. After putting our towels down we got in the sea. We stayed in the shallows for an hour or so before calling it a day. On our walk back we were treated to a view of the setting sun. It transformed the sky to a beautiful shade of pinky purple, and the way the sun danced across the ocean was equally as pretty. Back in the room we took it in turns to shower, but unfortunately the water was very temperamental. When we asked the staff why the water wasn’t working they gave us the usual scape goat answer “give it five minutes.”

Everything seems to be five minutes, it’s as if they think you’ll forget your issue and won’t pester them again. Sarah and I stayed in the room for an hour or so while she skyped her dad. Jamie was at the restaurant of the guesthouse eating some dinner, enjoying a beer and reading the latest news. When we joined him we discovered that another tourist had been attacked on one of the islands of Thailand. Sadly the 23 year old lost his life after being hit in the back by a stray bullet, so our thoughts go out to his friends and family. According to reports this was the 7th case of a tourist being attacked over a certain period of time. Because the islands of Thailand are so beautiful the report wouldn’t deter us from visiting (yes mum, I’ll go careful).

After Jamie paid for his meal the three of us hit the town for some food. We hired a tuktuk to drive us 2 miles up the road and drop us off outside the nearest bar. At night it really came to life in Sihanouk Ville. There were people all over the place, from tourists to bar reps. At points it kind of reminded me of Ibiza. We strolled up and down the road looking for somewhere to eat but were distracted by places offering diving courses. We enquired in a couple of them, but the price seemed pretty common throughout, around $320. Not sure if I wanted to spend that kind of money on something I’d only be using whilst travelling, I decided to leave and think about it. We then discovered a hostel selling cheap transport and accommodation to/on one of the islands, Koh Rong. This was where Liam had said was best for diving (if we were to do it). We booked something for the 5th of January then went about finding food. A short walk back up the hill we chose a Greek restaurant. I don’t think I’d ever eaten Greek food before, but when I was finished I didn’t know why. It was amazing. We settled the bill, then made that famous decision to go out “for one drink!”

During the walk to the first bar we passed a couple of reps for the fourth time that night, once again they tried giving us an additional pamphlet for their bar. The first bar we reached was very busy and had fire dancers for entertainment. They must have practised for a long time to be as good as they were, one of them was a bit cocky too. He knew all the women found it impressive, shame he didn’t get a little singe to put him in his place. Faster and faster they’d spin the fire baton, throwing it into the air to pass it to each other, before blowing it out and returning to the bar to mingle with ladies. We bumped into Steve (the Irish guy we met in Ho Chi Minh) while we were there. When he came over to talk with us the first thing I noticed was how polar opposite he was to Liam. If Liam had been at the bar no doubt he’d have jumped in with the fire dancers, much like he did the crocodiles. Jamie, Sarah and I took it in turns to buy rounds (each one coming to $3, what a rip off huh?) before joining Steve and his friend on a bar crawl.

We stayed out for quite a few hours, visiting a total of three different bars. At the end of the night I was very impressed, for the first time ever Sarah had kept up with us drink for drink. The pair of us then returned to our hotel, leaving Jamie and Steve to it. On the walk to find a tuktuk I lifted a local boy high into the air when he was blown away by my height. He then said “piggy back, piggy back” to which I obliged, only he climbed up on to my shoulders instead. I only walked a few feet, out of fear that I might drop him, all the while he was cheering in excitement. He was quick to climb down when I knelt down, and ran off into the night laughing (with my wallet in tow…. Just kidding). Sarah and I then found a tuktuk to take us back. On reflection that was probably the cheapest bar crawl I had ever done in my life, with the grand total coming to $5, at most!

Day 78: Pol Potts? Didn’t He Win That Tv Show Once?

Jamie’s alarm clock and I are going to fall out if it continues down this path. It woke us all up at 8:30am. Feeling absolutely shattered I forced myself out of bed with the knowledge we were being picked up at 10, and any more sleep simply wasn’t an option. I climbed down from my seven foot high bunk bed, got in the shower (I say shower, it was more of a dribble really) before getting dressed for the day ahead. When I went into the lobby it was a little bit awkward. The tuktuk driver Sarah rang the night before had showed up to collect us. He told me that when she rang he was out celebrating the new year with his family, and didn’t understand what Sarah had said, otherwise he wouldn’t have shown up. In the end I managed to get away by explaining we already had a driver for the day, and that I’d have a word with Sarah. I then returned to the room to find Jamie and Sarah were ready. The three of us then set out to try and squeeze in a quick breakfast. Unfortunately the driver was still outside playing pool and he came over to us before we left. Sarah also explained that it was cheaper with someone else, she then said we had his number and would phone him if we wanted a ride anywhere else.

At the tourist shop we asked if the tuktuk driver could pick us up there instead of our hostel, as we would just be across the street eating breakfast. It wasn’t a problem and we found a place which sold full English (well, the closest Cambodia could get to it). We managed to scoff it down and ended up only being 5-10 minutes late. The driver was kind enough to wait and we set off on a 40 minute ride to our first stop, The Killing Fields. Again, in a new country their tuktuk’s take a different form. Imagine if you will a horse and carriage, only instead of a horse there is a motorbike. There you have what the tuktuks of Cambodia look like. Our driver swerved many of the roads potholes and speed humps, and occasionally had to stop at a red light (where I’d imagine most bag snatching occurs). During that time we’d smile and say hello to the locals on their bikes, while at the same time pestered by a beggar. When we arrived at The Killing Fields we paid the $3 entrance fee, and were given a set of headphones and audio device. Then began our walk around the grounds.

I was quite surprised at how desensitised I was to it. I think the reason for that came down to two points, 1. Due to years of watching special effects movies and tv shows, things like skulls and images of dead bodies don’t look real to me. And 2. I went in there knowing that what I was about to see was going to be awful thanks to people pre warning me and showing me pictures. I’d have much rather discovered the place for myself and not had an idea of what to expect, maybe that way I would have been more emotional like I was at The War Remnants Museum. Nevertheless the three of us walked around, stopping at each place to listen to an audio description of what we were witnessing. Rather than go into a lot of detail, I will give you the most shocking things you might expect to see should you ever come here (but wait Ben, you’re now being a massive hypocrite. Completely contradicting your last sentence, yeah well, deal with it). The first piece of barbaric information involved the leaves of a sugar cane tree. It doesn’t sound bad when I say it like that, but when you see their razor sharp edges and learn the Khmer Regime were using them to slit Cambodian’s throats, they suddenly become terrifying.

We continued along the pathway, all the while listening to our audio guides until we reached a mass grave site. There were many of these dotted around the grounds and each one had a placard beside it to give you a head count of just how many bodies were buried in each pit. Around each of these sights people had placed their bracelets as a sign of respect for the fallen. Beyond the graves and the barbaric killing methods there were also separate display cases housing the clothes and bones of the prisoners. We sat down for a while to listen to the more lengthy part of the tour which contained stories from the survivors. One told of a lady that was raped. Another of a lady who lost her 8 month old baby (who would have been 30 now). The last story was that of a man’s survival and release from the prison, after another man sacrificed his life for the then 16 year old boy’s freedom. It went into detail about how he saw horrors growing up and how he planned to take revenge after fleeing to America.

The worst part of the tour, and nothing could have prepared us for it (well I guess it could if people pre warned you like I am about to) was called The Killing Tree. This was a tree where soldiers (or as I like to call them, brain dead idiots) followed orders to grab babies and children by their feet and swing them as hard as they could against the tree. Making sure they hit their heads, before throwing them into the pit beside it. It wasn’t just children and babies that were in the grave, but also their mothers too. More often than not the women were told to strip naked first. It was a sick act to learn of, and we found it very difficult to believe someone was capable of doing such a thing on as little as an order. The tree contained the most bracelets of them all, including one that I put on after Sarah was kind enough to remove it from my wrist. We were then nearing the end of our tour with only a couple things left to see. There was an execution site where loud haunting music was played to drown out the sounds of people screaming when they were killed. The music also drowned out the noise of the large pneumatic drills they used to kill. Because times were tough they couldn’t afford to waste ammunition on people, so more often than not the victims were bludgeoned to death. This was made apparent as we walked around the inside of the Sapla. The Sapla was a tall tower containing 17 tiers. Each tier housed skulls and various other bones of the human body. The skulls were on the ground level and categorised into male, female, young, old. The majority of them had large cracks in from were they were beaten to death. After we left the depressing and sadistic sight that was The Killing Fields we couldn’t help thinking how scary it was that it happened only 37 years ago. Like the audio tour said, mass murders have happened the world over, and the sad thing is it will probably happen again.

After grabbing some drinks (and myself a new bracelet) we returned to our tuktuk driver who took us to the second part of our trip, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. This was once a high school used to educate and house students who were eager to learn each day. That was until the evil communist leader Pol Potts got involved, and turned the place into a prison. When we arrived in our pumpkin carriage, we were greeted by a man with a completely burned face. He was hanging around the entrance with another man. For every person who passed by, the pair of them would beg for money. As bad as I felt for the poor people of the country, it’s just not safe or wise to expose your wallet and get cash out. Not to mention, if you gave every beggar some money, you’d soon be out of pocket. It cost us $2 in entrance fees, when we were inside it was evidently clear the place hadn’t been used for education in a long time. The tall dark grey walls of the buildings had an eerie vibe to them. As we made our way around the porcelain tiled prison cells, the feeling grew more and more haunting. We were there for at least an hour or two, each building block having more and more interesting things to observe.

In one building the large rooms were turned into small prison cells to contain it’s guests. By guests I mean innocent people who were abused and tortured. There were paintings to depict just how savage their techniques were. One of which involved a pull up bar (which would have been used for exercise by the school children) where they hung a prisoner upside down until they passed out. They were revived when their heads were dunked into a nasty pit of dirty, filthy water, only so the torturing could continue. In another building were hundreds, going on thousands, of mug shots of all the prisoners who were kept there. The chair which they all sat on when their pictures were taken was also a display.

The whole place had the vibe of a hospital from the 1950’s gone to rot. It was hard to imagine tens of thousands of people being killed, because in my head that was just a figure. It didn’t mean anything to me until I saw their faces. Some were just boys. It suddenly felt all the more real when I was able to put faces to figures. The worst bit was the sign outside the first building. This contained a list of strict rules everyone had to follow. Anything, such as back talking or even failing to respond quick enough to questions could have had fatal consequences. Sarah soon had enough (mentally & emotionally) by the time we finished our tour. So to cheer her up we decided to visit the Russian Market, as if there’s one thing that can cheer a girl up it’s shopping.

For an additional $1 our driver took us to a labyrinth of a market. Inside the vast winding rows of merchandise we all managed to find something to buy. Sarah found herself some clothes, Jamie bought a couple t shirts and I bought yet another bracelet and a pair of nice red shorts. We weren’t there for long… Actually, we were there for a while, while Sarah tried on various garments, but left soon after that. Our driver then took us back to the tour guide. There, we enquired about the buses, but they couldn’t really help us as we didn’t know where we were heading next. We found out they closed at 8pm and decided to go away and have some dinner to mull it over. Because we didn’t have a lonely planet to hand it made it difficult to decide where in Cambodia was good to visit. After eating we returned to the hostel to get a better idea of which direction to head in next, north or south.

We were back at the hotel for a couple hours, talking about which would be the better direction. Eventually we settled on heading south to Sihanoukville. During our time around the computer, the Scotsman known as Jamie Bliss jumped out of his skin when something touched his leg. It was a tiny, fluffy puppy. After a quick shower we returned to the tourist shop, with only 5 minutes to spare before they closed. We booked up a bus for the following morning, then popped next door for some food and a game of pool. When we were done we got back to the hostel around 9:30pm. While sat on the sofas Sarah and I made a new friend, he was a 5 year old Cambodian boy named Tali.

I impressed him by making a paper aeroplane. We threw it back and forth to each other, before Tali was distracted by Sarah’s Skype call. He kept jumping in and out of camera, but like most boys his age he was constantly distracted by other things every 10 seconds. We then played with the fluffy puppy again, with Sarah having to tell Tali not to pet it too hard. Eventually the pup ran for freedom, so I gave him back to his owners. I then made a quick Skype call, this time I got through to my dear mother. We chatted for a while about what I had been up to and the latest news back home, before saying our goodbyes. It was then time for an early night, as the next day would also see us starting early. All for a four our bus journey. It was 12 o’clock when I finally turned out the light… Ok, so maybe it wasn’t that early a night.

Day 77: The Colour Of… Books?

We woke up around half past nine, lazy I know. This gave us only an hour and a half to pack the bags, get sorted and find somewhere for breakfast before we had to be at the tourist information for our bus. We managed to find a tasty cafe around the corner, seeing as the three of us only had enough for one meal each (around 70-80,000 dong) we ordered tuna baguettes. After promptly paying, with me finishing mine as we walked, we headed to the coach pick up point. We walked through their front doors at 11:10am, even though we were late, the bus didn’t show up for another 10 minutes. When then got comfy for yet another 5-6 hour journey to the Cambodian border.

The seats had more leg room than I had grown used to. Thanks to me writing up at least 2000 words on the previous days activities (something I’d end up losing later on this day) I was able to enjoy my new book, The Life Of Pi. I smashed through it best I could and ended up reading a good 80 pages before we reached the border. 110 in total by the end of the journey (of course, Sarah would have finished it in the 6 hours we were given). During the ride the driver’s buddy went around asking everyone for their passports and $25 for the visas (it should have only cost $20 if we did it ourselves). This would cut out the waiting time for our visas to the new country, even if it meant we were being charged an additional $5 for the luxury. We got through fine, then had to have our fingerprints scanned into their computer systems to grant us final passage. With all that sorted it was back on the bus, for we had arrived at Cambodia.

We made a brief stop to a local roadside cafe, although our remaining Vietnamese dong would not serve us well in such a place. For the currency was now Riel (they would also accept dollars too). Jamie and I got off just to see what was about, but decided to take refuge aboard our sweaty bus when we were bombarded by beggars. At last count there were seven of them waiting outside the door, looking like vampires awaiting an invite to cross a threshold. When everyone else returned we were driven for another hour or so before arriving at the travel agent’s sister company doorstep. During the ride, when I took an occasional break from my book to observe the unknown outdoors, I noticed there were several big branded car suppliers, such as Range Rovers, Chryslers, Lexus. And I thought we were supposed to be visiting a third world country.

Like usual, we were swarmed by tuktuk drivers the second we stepped off the bus. The word swarm being quite fitting, as each driver was dressed in bright yellow polo shirts, resembling bees. After checking our emails to find we had no accommodation, we accepted a drivers offer to take us to a dorm he knew of. He only charged $6 for the three of us, which we thought was fair, as far as tuktuk drivers go at least. His place was fairly busy, mostly with locals, and only charged $6 a night to stay in dorm rooms. Before checking in our driver told us he was going to take us to the killing fields if we wanted. Unsure of how much things were, we told him we’d phone later if we wanted to go. He persisted and switched it around so that we’d have to phone him if we didn’t want him to come, the crafty swine.

The dorm room was huge and had the largest bunk beds I had ever seen. After throwing down our bags, the three of us headed out to explore the town. We walked a little way before stopping to get out money (dollars was the only currency the machines would give us). We then booked up a day trip the next day to both the killing fields and the genocide museum (talk about a happy day out). With a trip arranged to start at 10am we went to find somewhere to eat. It was only a few buildings down the same street that we decided to stop and feast. I ordered the BBQ pork ribs which were amazing. After an hour or so of being there we paid up, before deciding to further explore the streets. We didn’t find much, but did pass a temple which was still under construction at such a late hour. As we continued we were confronted by a huge gathering of people. They were stood outside a festively lit building, which boasted a large image of their king. We presumed the gathering had something to do with it being New Year’s Eve, it was only 9pm and we weren’t willing to stick around to confirm our suspicions. Instead, we turned around and walked back from where we whence came.

We ended up staying out later than expected, finding a restaurant/bar/hostel that sold beers for $0.50. Or a jug of the stuff for $2. Obviously we chose a jug. While we were there Jamie and I traded funny stories, Sarah on the other hand Skyped friends and family back home. There was also a brief stint with a praying mantis, nothing came of it, other than it’s presence scaring a few female guests. We noticed the bar across the street had a pool table. Seeing as Jamie and I were in the mood, we moved our things over and played a few games. During one match a boy came in selling books. One at a time he beat us both, meaning we had to pay $5 each for a book. They’d have been free if we won, that was the deal. Noticing a book amongst the others I’d heard of before but never read, I picked it up and paid the boy (look at me, I don’t buy or read a book in years, then suddenly I end up with 3). The book I chose was titled The Alchemist, it wasn’t that thick a book so I wasn’t as intimidated about starting it, unlike my previous two purchases. After one more game with the pool shark (for fun this time) he disappeared into the night with a box of books around his neck.

Before we all knew it it was midnight, “happy new year, yay,” was the pathetic cry we let out. This would be the first year since I can remember that we didn’t bother celebrating. We didn’t do Christmas so why start now. When we got back to our hostel, Sarah phoned the tuktuk driver to let him know we wouldn’t be needing his services the next day. My stomach dropped when I got into bed. I accidentally deleted a days writing, which really annoyed me to no end. I then spent a long time that evening rewriting my lost work, finally giving myself a break at 3am. The worst part was knowing I’d only get a maximum of 5 hours sleep that night!

Day 76: Crocodile Dumb-Dee

I was ready to smash Jamie’s phone to pieces when the alarm clock rang at 7am. Seeing as we had to check out that morning, I hopped out of bed quickly and jumped under the cold shower in an attempt to wake up. It worked to a degree then next came the process of packing the bags. Nailed it, next came breakfast. It was a light snack once again, an egg with a baguette, 3 slices of tomato, 3 slices of cucumber and a couple thin slices of sausage. It kept us going until we reached the bus anyway. We left our bags beside the reception desk(where they’d remain for the duration of our trip). I then left my bag of valuables with the receptionist. When I asked if they had a security box, he told me it would be safe enough behind the counter, as someone would be there all day (yeah, it would be safe, as safe as a bag can be behind a receptionists desk).

It was getting on for 8:10am by the time we finished paying for our accommodation, we should have been at the tourist information building by 8. It didn’t matter that we were late because so was the bus. It got to us around 8:40. Our guide was quite entertaining, reeling off joke after joke. He was quite clever too, at one point to ensure everyone was listening he said we were on the bus to the Chu Chi Tunnels. It was clever because we were heading to The Mekong Delta for a half day tour, so for those who weren’t listening, they’d turn around in unison and cry “wait, what? No, we’re going to the Mekong.” It took us a good few hours to get to there so during that time I began digging into my newly purchased book.

When we arrived at the river we followed our guide to the harbour. It transpired our group was a lot larger than previously thought, at final head count there were 74 people. There were so many people in fact that we had to be divided over the space of two boats, and additional seating had to be brought aboard one boat. Our first stop would see us visiting a small coconut candy factory. The people employed there made chewy sweets using coconut extracts. The days boat ride took us along the Mekong river and saw us passing through the four islands. Each one was named after the four animals found in Buddhism, they were a unicorn, phoenix, turtle and a dragon. To be honest, I didn’t think the day was going to be that great. The small village factory was a rather tedious stop (and seeing as I am being honest, I didn’t think the day trip sounded that great when the tour guide booked it for us the previous day). With that said, it was interesting to see the tools and machinery they used, but it began and ended there. Luckily the trip began to pick up when we stopped for lunch on the following island, the Phoenix Island.

It was only a 5 minute ride across the width of the river. We then had a sit down meal comprised of pork, rice, vegetables and soup. It was a rather tasty meal as far as inclusive tour meals go (by far it was the best one yet). We were then given an hour to explore the grounds of the island. We didn’t need to go far before we found some fun, with an ice cream in tow we made our way across a very thin bamboo bridge. On the other side of that bridge were some crocodiles in a large pond beneath a bridge. Not being one to sit still, Liam took it upon himself to climb a brick wall and attempt to get as close to a sleeping croc as possible. Using only a small stick to maintain some distance. While he was committing this act of stupidity/bravery he was crying over to me (in his broad Dublin accent) “Ben, take da picture.” Before he knew it, it wasn’t only me taking the picture, but every other tourist as well (probably even one of the crocs if it had the mental capacity and opposable thumbs). He was soon told off by one of the staff but became something of a revolutionist when another tourist attempted the same act. They too were struck down.

We then noticed for 10,000 dong you could rent a bamboo fishing pole. Attached to it was some string with a piece of meat tied to it. The purpose of this, to feed or fish crocodiles. There was no way in hell you could pull any of the fully grown beasts out of the water. When they took a hold they simply pulled down below the surface. I was hoping for one to perform their infamous death roll, however instead, one croc managed to let go off the meat when there was just the right amount of tension of the string. The end result, the meat flew into the air freeing itself from its ties, and slapped a child on the face. Although the child let out (and excuse the pun) crocodile tears, it did make everyone around her laugh hysterically. We became so distracted by the crocs that we lost all track of time, after a quick bathroom visit, we were the last ones to climb back aboard the boat.

Due to our late arrival it meant Sarah and I could no longer sit next to each other. This didn’t matter as it meant I got a chance to meet a new person, while Sarah solemnly read her kindle. My new friend went by the name Jun, and as she put it, was flash packing with her husband Nick. The couple were from Australia and were currently enjoying travelling Vietnam together. It was very easy to make conversation with her (possibly because she was quite laid back). During our 10 minute boat ride I was occasionally prodded by Liam, who for some reason was trying to get my attention. When we arrived at our third stop of the day, the bee-farm, we were asked to sit in groups of 6. I invited Nick and Jun to join us, thereby making our table full. It was here that I discovered why Liam was hitting me on the boat.

Apparently the Chinese couple in front of him were taking sneaky pictures of Sarah without her permission. He seemed to think they got somewhere between 10-20 snaps. Some of which he said looked quite good, like natural photos. The purpose for our visit was to try some honey tea, produced by the little furry blighters themselves. Not the tea but the honey, you know what I meant. We were also given the opportunity to hold a tray full of bees, Which Liam, Jamie and I did. We took it in turns to take pics, then returned to our table. After consuming a whole mugs worth we set off in small boats up the rivers natural canals.

The boats sat four people plus two rowers. We had a sweet lady on the front, who halfway through turned to us and wiped her brow as if to show exhaustion. With that, Jamie and I picked up an oar each and turned or small ship into a speed boat. As we powered through the water, we passed lots of villagers on their boats shouting the word tip, at us. To begin with we thought they were being cheeky and asking for money, it turned out they were encouraging us to give our rowers a tip. They steered us to our final village of the day where we’d get a chance to appreciate the villagers music and taste some fruits. We were ushered towards some seats, where once again they sat six people. The 3 female villagers came out in traditional costume and sang along to songs which were played by their male counterparts (they however did not dress up). Before it even ended they came around with baskets for us to, presumably, put money in. I was tempted to put my dragon fruit skins in initially, but saner heads prevailed. Unfortunately Sarah and I only had 50 or 200,000 notes left, not feeling as though the music was that good we decided to keep ahold of them. Our new friend Jun handed me a 2,000 note (6 pence) to put in instead, to which I thanked her and jokingly said I’d pay her back when we eventually got to Australia. After the music our group returned to the boat in a long straight line. However, somehow Nick managed to get himself lost and held up the boats departure. When he finally showed up, some 10 minutes later, he was welcomed back in the form of a loud cheer from all of us. We then raised anchor and set sail for the bus to Ho Chi Minh.

During the boat ride the Chinese people were at it again. The female of the couple slyly put her hat on her lap to block our vision, while her husband took photos of another westernised girl to their right. Sarah seeing this raged and told them to stop it. She tried informing the European girl what they were doing, but the Chinese couple just laughed about it. This made things worse for Sarah. The reason it annoyed her so much was because of the hypocrisy. In the Asian culture it is deemed really rude and offensive to take pictures of someone without their permission, yet there this Chinese couple were taking them willy nilly. Having not been to china myself I don’t feel it right to comment, but by hearing what friends had to say about the place, it doesn’t sound nice. They claim nobody wants to help you there, the people are very pushy shovey when it comes to queueing and as for general hygiene, apparently they just phlegm in the streets. Sarah took some form of revenge against them vicariously through Liam. When the lady was about to take a beautiful picture of a passing bridge, Liam jumped in the shot. So the end result was the lovely bridge with a crazy Irishman in the corner. He then proceeded to take lots of pictures of the woman using her own camera, which she laughed off, luckily. 10 minutes later we were free of the awkward situation, when we touched our feet back on land.

After getting back on our bus we travelled for another few hours. I kept fighting the tiredness as long as I could, but in the end I had to give in and sleep. When I woke up we had arrived. Jamie, Sarah and I then had to move our bags from our old hotel to our new one. We didn’t hang about, and ended up losing Liam when he stopped in a travel shop to book up another day trip. The lady at reception gave us our new key. Then the three of us got comfy in our spacious accommodation. This room had a new feature to us, a balcony. This tiny 3 x 2 foot ledge looked out onto the noisy street below. After having some refreshing showers and Skype calls, the three of us set out to find some food. We introduced Jamie to the place we visited the previous night. He seemed to like it. On the way back to the hotel we were confronted by some children who began asking us for some money, they repeated the word over and over, “Money? Money?” We told them no and continued walking (at least the kids were honest with their intentions, instead of pretending to want money for food like the older generations). When we got back to our room we began watching movies on the telly, as for myself I was committed to bringing you guys the latest travel news from the world of Ben and Sarah. It was another late night before I was done, but it didn’t matter because the next day we’d get a lye in, before having to catch a bus to our 4th country – Cambodia.