7th December 2011
So here I am in Sihanoukville, Cambodia after two tours in a month running through Lao, Cambodia and Myanmar.
I've seen Hilary Clinton exit her plane in Yangon from up close [a historic moment], met a mustachio brother at an NLD celebration [how cool it is to see NLD supporters allowed to hold public rallies in Myanmar at last] and eaten some of the finest food in the world in Cambodia/Lao on the Water Festival tour.
But right now I'm sitting on the beach in southern Cambodia due to the fact I got in a remorque – as tuk tuk’s are known in Cambodia – in Phnom Penh two days ago and asked to go to the bus station with the simple plan of letting fate decide where I would recce first; Battambong and the south bank of the Tonle Sap or Phu Quoc and the Ha Tien area of southernmost Vietnamese Delta.
The first available local bus went to Sihanoukville which is half way to Phu Quoc so here I am. Tomorrow I should after 6 hours on bus and boat arrive on this big island via the border post I'm most interested to experience first-hand. There may be Vietnam visa on arrival here soon which would be very helpful as this would open up the Ho Chi Minh/ Delta/ Kep [in Cambodia] route in the near future. And that would be most lovely.
Which all means as my Vietnamese visa was being issued just up the road yesterday late afternoon I was eating a large portion of gorgeous Barracuda which was marinated then barbequed and served with garlic bread and salad, all for $3! I washed it down four glasses of cold beer from the tap at 50 cents per glass. All in a comfy chair on the beach to the drifting sounds of Amy Winehouse.
The sunset was duly extravagant you'll all be relieved to hear.
Hopefully in the next two days I'll be able to let you know all about the alleged perfect beaches and hotels on Phu Quoc and what new ways the Vietnamese have developed to relieve me of all my cash. They are really, really good at this. I'll have to have my best 'don't mess with me ' look on. That and a copy of the Lonely Planet in hand so that I appear to be a tight backpacker. Lonely Planet, I discovered years ago, is a valid discount card almost anywhere in the world.