A taxi from the airport took us to the guest house that we had arranged to stay in for the 3 months. A simple, double room with private bathroom, hot water and air conditioning for $100 a month. Can’t go wrong, right?
It was a slight surprise to find the guesthouse in a secure compound, with 12’ barbed-wire topped walls. We were shown to our room which was ok, if basic. The bed was very low and had a mattress almost as thick as a slice of toast. I exaggerate, but not by much.
We went out for a walk around the neighbourhood and were stared at by the people in the side-street where the guest house was located. Children were running wild in the road, one or two nasty comments were made by some of the families in their open-fronted houses. The majority of locals appeared to be Chinese, Vietnamese or possibly Korean. We’ve since found the Cambodians to be lovely, friendly and not at all rude.
I took Corinne out in a tuk tuk the first night and headed for the beach road to find somewhere to eat. The plan was to get her away from downtown as quickly as possible and find somewhere she’d feel safe and comfortable. The plan worked, with us having a lovely meal in a lovely restaurant. After we took a tuk tuk back to the guesthouse and after being shouted at and whistled to by the tiny hookers at the end of the street, we went straight to bed. Woken at about 3am by a loud scratching and squeaking, I thought there may be a rat in the bathroom and told Corinne to stay in the bed. I got up and opened the curtain and it turned out that the rat was crawling along the corrugated tin roof outside the bedroom window. Suddenly it moved really fast as a cat appeared and carried it off between its jaws. The vomiting guy and rooster were pretty much the only other disturbances in the night so we did get a bit of sleep.
The morning after, I researched online and found a few rental agencies who I called an arranged to view properties. Corinne wasn’t feeling very safe in the neighbourhood so we had decided to try and find somewhere close to where we would be working. I viewed 2 apartments and reported back to Corinne who had sat outside the guesthouse while I was away. We were due to view another apartment the next day and so went off to the beach road again for dinner in the evening before grabbing another early, less eventful, night.
We looked at a lovely little studio apartment the next morning and walked back to the school to see how long it would take Corinne to get to work each day. On the way I spotted one of the apartments that I had seen the previous day and so we stopped in a restaurant for a drink and a rest. I called the agent and asked if we could view the apartment again and off we trooped a bit later.
That evening we slept happily in a comfortable bed in our safe, secure apartment in a much nicer neighbourhood. We’ve been here now for a month or so.
We’ve explored the local route down to the beach quite extensively. A 20 minute walk takes us down Ekareach Street to the Golden Lions roundabout. From there we can head directly down Serendipity Road past a goodly number of bars and restaurants until we come to the pier down on the beach. Heading to the left will being us to Ochheuteal Beach, lots of beach shack restaurants and lots of beach sellers. To the right and we are on Serendipity Beach – not so much sand, just a few restaurants and guesthouses but more peaceful and as the name says, pure Serendipity.
a 10 minute tuk tuk ride will bring us to Independence Beach. This is a small, fairly secluded gorgeous stretch of sand with a dozen or so restaurants on it. A great place to spend the day and let the world disappear. Less beach sellers, but enough to get my fix of mantis shrimp, crab, squid etc.
15-20 minutes in the other direction is Otres 2. A piece of pure paradise with water warmer than our shower in the apartment, gorgeous soft white sand and guesthouse bars on the beach. We spent the day at The Secret Garden and extended the stay slightly when the heavens opened and decided not to stop.
Yes, it’s been raining a bit recently. Mostly at night and usually not for too long, but when it rains, it’s pretty serious about it.
Corinne’s been putting in some serious hours on the education policy for the school, I’ve purchased a machine to act as a server for the new centre and I’ve been trying to get the thing working with various configurations. I think I may have achieved something today so I’m taking a bit of time out to update the blog a bit.
Last weekend turned out to be my 50th birthday. My gorgeous wife treated me by taking me to Kep for a couple of days where we lounged in a rather chilled and lovely hotel directly across the road from the sea and about 100 yards from the Crab Market. A cookery lesson on the morning of my birthday made the weekend perfect, when combined with a lot of lounging around and even more eating of crab and other seafood goodness.
It’s Khmer New Year tomorrow. We popped into Psar Leu market today and it was complete and utter madness. Thousands of people milling around. I just grabbed a kilo of shrimp and another of squid and headed out, managing to obtain a posy of flowers on the way.
We’re preparing for the arrival of Mum & Dad at the end of this week. They informed us last week that they were thinking of coming out and now it’s all booked and in place. Can’t wait to see them and show them how things are here. It’s a different life to that in Egypt but I’m loving the people and the food here. It’s definitely more intense as there seem to be a lot more people here than in Dahar, but our local business owners and neighbours are lovely.