Okay, so maybe it's ridiculous to compare the two because even with the mention of spliff on this post's title, Sihanoukville doesn't even come close to being sinfully insane.
In fact, backpackers who end up here don't crave for rowdy nights at all. They are the jaded ones, mostly suffering from temple overload. Symptoms of which include sprinting away/wincing in fear when someone starts talking about 12th century Khmer architecture.
And so, the southern coast of Cambodia, fringed with Casuarina trees and ecru sandy shores beckons those weary souls.
Wait. Casua-what?! Casuarina is a type of tree or shrub that resembles Pines. Could it be the same genus as that of Anawangin's Pine-looking trees? I couldn't help but notice. And Erwin, my ol' travel buddy who was chugging an Angkor Beer and lounging on the same beach chair beside me, couldn't agree more.
We have been traveling around Cambodia for six days (about three years ago) and were relishing some downtime before flying back to the Philippines. My budget planning was a miraculous success, we were able to afford a few celebratory drinks. Uhm, alright maybe it was not much of a miracle since we constantly starved ourselves and slumbered in dingy guesthouses and walked the whole of Angkor Wat Complex's "Little Circuit" (which by the way is 17 kilometers) because we were too cheap to even hire a bike!
Actually, we even had a decent amount of riels spared for a non-canned meal. It was such a big deal to me, I told Erwin I wanted to head back to our accommodation just to dress up for dinner, though we haven't decided where to eat yet.
I hobbled out of the chair (the comfiest beach chair I've ever laid my arse on, it was heartbreaking to leave!) and led the way to a narrow alley that connects the beach to Ph 14 Milthona, the street where GST Guesthouse is located. The alley itself is dotted with souvenir kiosks, drinking joints and themed restaurants.
Somewhere along the way, Erwin dreamily drifted off upon hearing a certain song, like a child lured by the Pied Piper. His ears took him to a resto which I assumed owned by some French expat/retiree, judging by the menu charmingly written on a blackboard. This was later affirmed by the owner himself who popped out of nowhere and exclaimed "Bonjour!".
I smelled garlicky pasta meat sauce from the kitchen. If it's the music that convinced Erwin to dine there, it was the aroma for me. And no matter how famished such aroma made me feel, I still ran to and fro our guesthouse - changed to a crocheted, cliche tropical cover up faster than you could say fetta tomato huile olive (if you could even pronounce huile right).
Dinner was uneventful. We had forgettable meals (well, it's been three years!) that didn't set off our taste buds' fireworks, but made us feel posh because it's not-our-usual-one-dollar price.
What happened after though, was a nightcap to remember. At least for me who didn't hit the sack dazed. Erwin and I transferred from our table to the bar and ordered a mug of Angkor Draft each. The owner manning it was chattering with a fellow French in dreads, sitting on a bar stool not far from us and smoking a spliff.
At first we were talking amongst ourselves in Tagalog, recounting how kickass our trip has been. Dreads guy suddenly asked where we're from. He was curious for our language didn't sound familiar to them. In unison, we replied "The Philippines". His eyes transformed from dopey to about to pop out in a split second as he blurted, "I heard you got good weed there!". Surprise, surprise. His knowledge of geography seemed to revolve around uhm, grass.
But not to undermine Mr. Dreads, he's actually into world history. I must say, I got hooked listening to his backpacking misadventures (ooohh, that cute accent!)... Slowly, I developed an infatuation. And while I sat there, transfixed (I eventually stood up and sneaked closer), Erwin was experimenting with the joint passed on to him.
In just about under an hour, Erwin insisted we go back to the guesthouse. I was caught off guard for it's so not him to cut the evening short. I somberly bid goodbye to the French guys. Erwin didn't even bother to say farewell, and abruptly left the bar. I saw him sway left and right as I tried to catch up. When I was finally by his side, he threw an arm around me and blabbered gibberish. I swear it wasn't even English or Tagalog or geek talk. His words sounded like the vocabulary of my nine-month old infant.
It dawned on me that the spliff hit him hard. His head was spinning and he could barely walk straight. I dragged him at some point, with much difficulty for he was way taller than me. I dumped him on the bed while he was still talking to himself and constantly, creepily smiling.
What a crazy night. But something happened the day after that's way crazier than this, which involved giving up a mobile phone and iPod for a certain damage caused by Erwin. You gotta stay tuned for that.
Pinay Travel Junkie's
This page was viewed times.