28.12.2012 - 02.01.2013
We had spent a lot of time in Kampot and although we had a great time we knew for definite it was time to move on. The bus was booked and the early morning rise with standard stress of waiting for a pickup from bus company and it being late thankfully didn't distract us from looking forward to getting to the Beach. Upon the bus making it to our bungalow we knew that it was going to be a tight squeeze for the 6hr ride. The two people next to us, who sadly had to move because we needed to get to the back got the short straw as their seat didn't fully click in and therefore it was not the most comfortable from what I could tell. However, the good thing about being squashed up to someone is that you both feel compelled to acknowledge each other rather than keeping to yourself which happens a lot amongst travellers. We had a good chat with a guy called Mike who was from New Zealand he told us about his last minute booking for a room near Sihanoukvillle for New Year which cost him $90!!!. We didn't tell him we were only paying $6 despite his being a hotel and ours being a dorm room, however it was still a lot to pay for Cambodian standards I thought. Unfortunately, Mike was not staying at Otres so we didn't see him again but it was a welcome distraction from an otherwise uneventful trip.
We stayed at Wish You Were Here which is run by an Aussie guy Johnny who I found out was really into the Beastie Boys! He had a new cat which Sarah took a shining too, its name was chmaa which is cat in Khmer. It also had these fantastic hanging chairs which we both want in our house.
We had read about Sihanoukville being the kind of place that tourism normally ruins and therefore were expectant that Otres would be far more chilled and thankfully it was. It still had guest houses lining the beach with some playing gangsta rap and some playing smooth lounge music mixed with backpackers and families who either are getting a massage or being sold items by the locals which you find in beach resorts but the intensity of it all was so laid back that it didn't ruin the experience (although Sarah did get annoyed that they kept touching her legs insisting they needed to be threaded when they didn't!).The beach itself is sublime and it didn't fault when providing us with ample sun, sunsets, shallow clear waters to cool off and a selection of bars that served fresh fish and chilled drinks, what more could you ask when waiting to see in the New Year.
One of the nights during our time here we spent at Otres Market which was a cool bar area away from the beach which had music and stalls with people sitting around on mats, very hippy looking crossed with a village fete. They also had a treehouse and some swings that we pushed some of the local kids on causing lots of giggling. The rest of our nights were spent having a good meal and relaxing which we kinda did in Kampot but it just isn't the same when you have got a beach.
The only other thing that we did (that was a little disappointing) was the snorkelling boat trip that we bought into to go see the islands of Koh Russei and another two, the names which escapes me now. One of the local guys had sold it in and typically it didn't deliver what was sold. The snorkelling was average, mostly made up of poor corals and the boat was filled with too many people (30 instead 13) that a lot of us felt hard done by. We didn't really take many photos but what was fortunate was that we ended up chatting with some friendly people on the boat and on the beach area instead. Again, when you are all cramped up to each other you feel compelled to acknowledge the craziness in unison and chat about your experiences. It was great for that and the beach we stayed on was lush really, we just didn't take take advantage of it mainly because we were having a good time chatting with the people we met on the boat.
I ended up sitting with Chris and Nicole on one side of the boat during our voyage from the mainland and we shared stories as they had been to places we were going and also they lived in Perth despite being from UK, so it was really interesting to hear how that came about and certainly distracted me enough to forget about the heat and the small space I had to sit in and that the boat was rolling so much it felt like you would fall in the water!
Sarah managed to get in on the chat and we met Pete and Michelle (who is Nicole's sister) and kinda all decided to meet up later after the trip for drinks which was really thoughtful of them because they were holidaying together. Sarah and I had only just before been discussing how it would be nice to meet some new people and spend more than a bus trip getting to know them and with the added bonus of New Year coming up it would be a perfect time to spend it with a group should the occasion arise, and thankfully it did.
The dinner we had was excellent, the portion sizes got the thumbs up from us boys and the rest of the evening we had some good chats, I kept getting the sea mixed up with the river ( we had spent time much time in Kampot!!). We learned about Chris's terminology of Sicko! which described a stereotypical Aussie guy who you normally see in bars when travelling wearing a vest and loves a beer!, we all took to it and it was the word of the night for the rest of New Year.
To sum up New Year, it was a blast!!
Our guesthouse and the another called Richie's had decided to put on a small beach party with sound system and small dance floor made with mats. It ended up being exactly what Sarah and I wanted. Good venue, good location and great people.
I will let the photos say it all. ( To those involved don't worry this isn't Hangover III the end scene!)
Sorry Chris it had to feature.....
Happy New Year 2013
Stay tuned for more tales....