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April 6, 2007

Relaxing on the Beach

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Considering how this was a last minute choice, just wanting to get out of Phnom Penh while waiting for my package to arrive, it worked out great.  Turns out four days of laying out on a beach doing nothing was just what I needed.  It was a 4.5 hour trip to get there and left me time to hit the beach that afternoon.

I got there on Saturday and I’d read that it was a popular place for well to do Cambodians to head for a weekend getaway also.  As I walked out I was shocked that it seemed to be all Cambodians and very few foreigners.  After a couple hours and a long walk up the beach I figured out that all the Cambodians were in the water swimming and playing while all the tourists were laying out on the beach chairs getting some sun or reading under an umbrella.  It was actually about a 50/50 mix.

I fit right in hanging out under an umbrella and read a couple of books.  I’d forgotten how warm the water is and you really had to walk around to find a colder area to get some refreshment from the heat.  The one thing you had to watch out for while moving around was jellyfish.  In the mornings you would see some really big ones (18 inches) that would be brought in with the tide.  Throughout the day smaller (two fist) size would move up and down the coast.  They were easy enough to avoid, but in some areas would have been too thick.  I never saw anyone who got stung and most of the kids looked completely oblivious so maybe they were avoiding the people.

It is a nice setup they have.  There are restaurants/bars all along the beach who put out nice lounge chairs that are free to use they just expect you to order your food and drinks from them.  Of course there are also vendors going up and down constantly selling trinkets, fruit, barbecue lobsters, massages, and leg shaving.  The leg shaving was interesting they would have two strings that they would roll over the girls legs and it must pull the hairs out from the roots.  I didn’t see anyone flinching so maybe it wasn’t too bad and must leave them very smooth.  I hadn’t seen that anywhere before and it took my a bit to figure out just what they were doing.

At sunset all the restaurants would carry out tables and set up a barbecue area starting about 10 feet from where the water was and have several rows and tables and chairs going up.  You would just decide where you wanted to go sit and watch the sunset and then the starts and listen to the small waves roll in while you have some fresh bbq and a beer.  Quite the life.  I was also able to relax because I’d found out the package I was waiting for arrived in Phnom Penh the day I left and was waiting for me.  I extended my beach time one day longer than anticipated and enjoyed my few lazy days there.  I’d already had to cut out one city I’d planned on going to in Cambodia so I couldn’t put off leaving any longer and left to go get my package Wednesday afternoon.

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