Outré Otres

Sihanoukville and Otres 1&2

We would have posted some photos but since the gi-normous big bad Chinese casino development just up the hill was (according to the locals) doing something iffy with the electricity we did not. Instead we sat glumly in some dubious pod chairs battling (quite unsuccessfully) the swarms of giant mosquitoes as the heavy scent of sewage drifted past us. The pool looked inviting, tho the discarded corrugated iron lying beside it spoiled the total effect.

We were unsure who ran the place (we asked but were told enigmatically “…zere are no bosses, we are all ze boss…” ), but the gathered group of stoned Germans seemed content to focus on the universe for all eternity, if that’s what it took, in a zombie-like trance.

1,000 yard stares were the order of the day, and so the long ten minutes wore on. The generator throbbed a melancholy drone, spiders scuttled, as they do, and lizards…well they slithered.

A tropical malaise hung heavily all around. This is not so much a resort as an upwardly mobile malarial swamp. Tourists trudge forlornly through calf deep mud, dodging refuse left, right & centr, glazed locals look on with a gaze somewhere between boredom and contempt.

What did we do ? We ran for it ! You bet we did.

To be fair the spokesperson for the anarcho-syndicalist collective (the very cut) Krystal was charm itself when we announced our surrender and retreat. We had the impression that we were far from the first to raise the white flag and march off rapidly backwards. So grabbing our yankee dollars we headed for the speed ferry and hoped for tropical paradise of Koh Rong.

We were were making good our escape, I’d headed to the ATM while Kristen waited for the taxi to the speed ferry.  I pocketed the greenbacks and was heading back towards Blue Sky when a disembodied voice that sounded much like my darling wife floated through the air.  ” Billlllll”, it said ” Billllllll”, I looked around, confused, “Billllllll” the angelic voice repeated and I looked up and saw Mrs Haskett perched in the back of a cattle truck, our “taxi”.

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There she is !

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We slalomed and rode bucking bronco style down a series of muddy bumps interspersed with a little road.

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Were off loaded onto a regular bus…

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…finally to the speed ferry jetty where we embarked in stages, firstly, gingerly stepping off the wharf down onto a wet, slippery, moss covered pole.  Balancing there for a second with visions of crushed ankles and disappearing into the oily watery murk dancing in our heads, the Cambodian ferry men grab you and guide you onto the deck.

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The speed ferry lived up to its name and sped through the Gulf of Thailand, slapping the waves and sending jets of water and foam splashing out on both sides. (For the record their safety briefing was non-existent and the luminous orange ‘safety’ vests looked less than buoyant.)

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Finally, Koh Rong.  Far less developed than we feared.  Quite idyllic really especially if you’re looking for a hippie-haven. There is a backpacker alley near the jetty but if you walk down the beach for ten minutes you reach the Treehouse Bungalows and a lovely stretch of beach, with soft white sand, gently swaying palms and water of a thousand ever changing colours lapping at your ankles.

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