Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Family tragedy. Sihanoukville. Royalty. Binges. Nicked phone in Pattaya.

After eight nights in Phnom Penh I received the news I had been dreading. On Saturday 29th November I checked my email and had received one from my brother stating that my Mother had passed away the day before on Friday 28th November at 1730. A further email told me the funeral is on Friday 5th December. She was only 57 and died a mere nine days after my 35th birthday. Obviously, like anyone else would be, I'm struggling to cope with this news. I try to think of her incredible strength of character and how she raised six boys who all seem to have done OK in their respective chosen paths.

I went to Armin's GH and discovered he'd checked out and gone to Sihanoukville (SNV). I was gutted as I needed someone to lean on. Consequently I spent all day Saturday moping around my room. I watched Boro v Newcastle at night but the game seemed to hold negligible significance considering the gravity of my family news.

I didn't sleep a wink and tried to get a Cambodian SIM card the next morning. However, you need to be a Cambodian citizen to get one!!! What a load of bollicks. I caught a 5hr bus for the 230km joureny to SNV.  I arrived and walked 3km to the Victory Hill area of the city. I checked in to the DaDa GH for $4/night and decided I would stay here a couple of weeks relaxing, saving money and mourning.

I drunk a hell of a lot of beer in PP. I even got evicted from two Guesthouses! This has never happened before! The first one was not my fault and the second one they never told me why. Perhaps they simply didn't want a piss-head in their midst every night! Since the awful news from home I've decided to quit drinking and smoking. I've managed four nights without a drink and three without smoking. SNV is a good place to do this. I've been reading my Buddha book focusing on chapters dealing with death.

I cycled around all the SNV beaches today, exhausting! I've found a little Khmer place that does the best fish/chips in Asia for only £1.20. I lost my 1GB USB stick in PP with 100 songs, all my pics from 900+ days of travels, my CV, all my MSc course info and various other important bits and pieces. However, I'd give everything away to have my Mam back.

I met a 33yr old Indonesian lady staying at my GH. She's Royal! Her Grandad is the King of an area of Sulawesi Island. Get me, mixing with royalty!

Have you seen the havoc at BKK airport? What a mess. Many people here are worried about getting home. Also the global economy is going from bad to worse. Arse.

SNV is a nice relaxed beach place in SW Cambodia. I kinda like it here. I can't give you much of an impression as I feel like shit. I'm glad my week of abuse in PP is over. It might be a while until I blog again. Until then.........

Remember that lass who I said was a princess in the last post? Her name is Juli from Sulawesi Island in Indonesia. Well she was staying at the same GH as me and I invited her to eat with Armin and I as she seemed a lonely. She accepted and off we went to meet Armin. They met and seemed to have one of those 'Love at first sight things'. I went to a quiz last Wednesday night and they failed to turn up mmmmmmmmm?

Next night I met them at a live music gig and there they were together holding hands and looking madly in love. Here, they inform me they are off to Thailand together the next day since her visa is almost up. So that was the last I saw of them! I made fun of her stealing my mate but I suppose it was my own fault for introducing them! The funny thing is though is that Armin seemed to think it was impossible to fall in love etc etc. It goes to show that even the hardiest of male hearts can be melted unexpectedly by a woman!

Anyhow I miss him as he was the best travel companion anyone could wish for. Hopefully I will see him in Pattaya again over Xmas.

Also remember how I said I had quit drinking? Well, those wheels came off with alarming ease. I went to that quiz night 1900 Wednesday and decided to have a few beers. Those few turned into dozens and I drank until until 0700 Thursday morning, drunkenly taking in a beautiful Cambodian sunrise. I awoke at 1600 Thursday and continued drinking until 0200 Friday morning. My next session was the mother-load. I went from Friday lunchtime (about 1200) until 1900 Saturday night. I went on a few downers during this as it was my Mother's funeral. Quite a session that - about 30hrs. The problem is that many people will join you and indulge in similar antics - there is no shortage of crazy bastards out here. This makes it hard to pull yourself away, worrying you might miss something!

The good news is that I have avoided the beer/cigarettes since Saturday. I have also moved to a $3 room that has a TV with all the channels! I love this new place and promptly gave her $30 for 10 nights. I have many friends here now. People of all ages, gender, race and craziness. I really like it here and I regret booking flights for January as I could see myself living here. Cambodia gives you the feeling of being really alive. Only a few nights ago at Blue Dolphin Bar on Occiteal beach, some crazy Khmer let off a few rounds from his machine gun into the air. Many people fled the scene but the long-timers here merely smiled and continued sipping their draught beers (as I would have no doubt done had I been there). I love this. People get robbed all the time. Motorbikes get stolen everyday. The police work with the thieves who work with the motorbike rental people. It is crazy man. It's all to rip-off stupid rich white people.

I avoid all this because I listen to the advice of long timers. I would never hire a moto on the premise that I dont have $1000 in the (likely) eventuality of it being stolen! I also never wear (beacause I dont have any) jewellery. I never walk around with more than $10 on me so if I do get robbed I can just hand over my pathetic sum with no hard-feelings. So, you do need to be on-the-ball a bit in Cambodia. However, having said this, there are many positive things about here too but I will save tham for another day.

Armin and Juli promised me I could be the best man if they get married. Thing is, this would actually be a Royal wedding! Now that would be something to tell the elusive grandchildren (first I need an elusive wife followed by some elusive kids who themselves find elusive partners etc etc you get the picture).

I am off to the beach to watch the sunset, then I'm going to cycle down to the chicken farm for a beer (better make that a coke). You would have to see this place to believe it.

Yam Yam Boom Boom brahm dola = Oral sex followed by full penetrative sex is $5

I Li yu too much = I like you a lot (this is the stuff you here at the chicken farm)

Li ah hi = Bye

I took the bus from Sihanoukville to Ko Kong and then a bus to Trat and Pattaya. I was upset that the Thai authorities only issue 15day visas now - nightmare! I need to cancel a flight I had booked for the 15th Jan as I need to leave Thailand by 2nd Jan.

I also had my phone stolen so I have lost all my contacts. I woke (in a shit hole guesthouse on Soi Chaiyaphum) and my room door was ajar. The only thing missing was the phone. It was a cheap crap phone but I wish they had left the SIM card. I am having disasters with phones this year. More bloody hassle than their worth.

I am off to BKK tomorrow and then making my way back down to Malaysia. Pattaya is still insane - even more so around Xmas time even though Buddhist Thailand doesn't really bother with it.

I have to dash as I need to cancel my flight and hopefully get some money back!

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