Sea and Sand. A beach!
26.01.2012 - 29.01.2012 32 °C
After a bus journey with all the usual Cambodian frills (delays, use as a rice transporter and then more delays) we landed at Sihanoukville. We had heard and read a lot of bad stuff about this place. Bought by the Russians. Gun shoot outs. Massive prostitution problems. However our desire to get some R+R on the beach was just too great. But we gave the town and local party beaches a miss and got the tuk tuk out of there. We landed in Otres beach and a new Aussie owned guesthouse called "wish you were here." It was Australia day. 50c a beer, vegemite on toast and snag in a roll. What a rippa!!!
WARNING- contains swear words. Mum, Dad and Mumsmum!
This is Stephan, His name is Stephan, man ...............
So what did we do? Absolutely nothing. We read. We ate. Lynne had her nails done. Despite the calls of "hairy legs" from the local hawkers she resisted her legs being threaded. We generally did nothing.
Happy Pizza. Non happy versions available. Super happy versions also available.
We had landed well and truly on the banana pancake trail and we were loving it.
2 days later and we are revitalised and couldn't wait to crack on with some more exploring. Next stop Kampot. (Yes of the pepper fame!)
DID YOU KNOW?:
During the Vietnam War Sihanouk became an intensive military port first in the service of National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam and after 1970, with the regime of General Lon Nol, at the service of the United States. With the success of the Khmer Rouge guerrillas in April 1975, the port was the last place to be evacuated by the US army. The SS Mayagüez was captured by militants of the new regime on 12 May. The US claimed that the ship was on international sea lanes, but the Khmer Rouge said that it was on Cambodian territory. This was the last official battle of the United States army in the Vietnam War. It is known as the Mayagüez incident.
LAND MINES IN CAMBODIA:
So I'm in trouble for not mentioning the fact we went to the land mine museum in Siem Reap. It was set up by Aki Ra. A former Khmer Rouge child soldier. He is clearly rock hard. He started by just helping out locals using his skills he learnt in fighting to de-arm land mines and make their land safe. But more and more people asked for his help and so he made it his full time work. Now a internationally backed NGO he has been forced to use a more internationally recognised method of destroying mines ie- blowing them up when you find them. His old method of stabbing around with a knife, knocking out the detonator and then steaming the dynamite out just won't do these days with Elf and safety around.
Mines are cruel. They last for decades and more. They are designed to maim. Some sick people make them to look like pretty plastic butterflies so children will pick them up and have their limbs blown off. Cambodia has an estimated 4-6 million land mines undiscovered. The country has over 40.000 amputees (one of the highest rates in the world). The centre was not only educational but gave a home and school to children who had been victims of land mines.