Sihanoukville is a coastal city in southwest Cambodia that we never new existed until 2 weeks ago. Our week here was one of lounging on the beach, daily massages, hair removal, lots of seafood, a minor case of food poisoning, with the highlight probably being haggling and conversing with the Cambodian beach peddlers.
By happenstance we ran into another traveling couple. Tara is one of Pete's sisters best friends. Her and her husband Tyler have been biking the world for the last year and a half. We had never met them but had exchanged emails and had been following them on their website Goingslowly.com which is an amazing site with beautiful photos and what inspired us to put some work into our own travel blog. We new that they were somewhere in SE Asia and decided to email them. Turns out they had been in Sihanoukville for several days so we all met up for dinner.
Tara and Tyler
photo by Goingslowly
photo taken by Magalie
Every day we came back to the same spot on the beach in front of a restaurant called Small But Sweet and we were always greeted by the smiling faces of the employees, the owners, and their son Dano, who loved to have his picture taken.......which was perfect because he was incredibly adorable.
The Cambodian beach peddlers sell anything and everything from fish woven from string, fruit, crabs, sarongs to the services of massage, pedicures, and threading, two pieces of string wound together and then used for hair removal, all with a side of persistence and sarcasm. A lot of them are kids that work all day to help their families and pay for their school. They speak impeccable english and have their selling spiel down pat. Can't even count the times we heard “open your heart, open your wallet” or if we said “I don't want one” the come back was always “You no want one you buy two”. At first it was a bit annoying, but after a week they warmed up to us and we became a bit attached them.
Oun, a bracelet seller, playing with our Kindle
Annie a masseuse/pedicurist/sweet woman with a contagious smile
Mixed in with the peddlers were land mine victims begging for money. During the the brutal oppression of the Khmer Rouge thousands of land mines were planted all over Cambodia and many still exist in some of the more remote areas. If a person does survive stepping on one they are sure to loose one if not more appendages. Many of the beggars were missing legs and one man both hands. It hard to explain how over indulgent and spoiled I felt getting a massage on a beach while these people begged for money. The social services that we take for granted are nonexistent for the disabled people of Cambodia so I felt even more obligated to give something even if it was just a few riel. I am probably more of a sucker than saint and the act is probably less about having a moral compass and more about a guilty conscience.
Beach BBQ......you picked what you wanted and they grilled it
Everyday was more of the same....what a hard life we lead.....
More Dano, I don't think the finger was intentional.....or maybe it was?
Maggie and Travis
Confiscating my camera
Photo by Dano (assisted by Magalie)
Pete and I are fairly unsocial creatures, but after this experience we were reminded that human interaction can be quite fun......... if its with the right people. After Sihanoukville we said our goodbyes to everyone with the hope that we might see them again somewhere in SE Asia.