Our restaurant located in front part of the guesthouse, and surrounded by hotels and tourists. Even our main target market is expats who live in Asia long enough and miss comfort food from their homeland, we have tourists here as well. I like talking to tourists and share some secret information with them, that only people who live here know. Or give them recommendation what to visit in the country. I think it is always useful to talk to someone who visits same places a few times, who has knowledge of what is going on there and plan your trip based on somebody’s mistakes or positive recommendations.
The most common, and I think the funniest, story that we tell is about Koh Rong Island. After we found our first apartment in Phnom Penh, I still had a week or so left of my vacation and we planned to spend resting and roasting our bodies on the island. Martin booked a private bungalow with private beach for 4 days on the Koh Rong island. Just don’t imagine any luxury pictures in your mind, it is far far far away from perfect Maldive’s landscapes. On part of island where no power supplements and not much civilization in general. Even boat from the main part of the island to our accommodation was from a previous century, the simplest fishing boat, without any safe area on it.
Island and this particular area are beautiful, so wild and green. White sand beach, palms, jungles, very warm water, snorkeling, kayaking – everything is there. I will skip part of unsuccessful kayaking and will tell you story of unsuccessful snorkeling. I am a scary city cat, I afraid of any wildlife or insects. I am afraid of touching seaweed, alive fish, crabs, small jellyfish, cockroaches… the endless list of things I am scared of. So when we asked for snorkeling I was excited but in my own way. When I saw fishing boat, the guy who doesn’t speak English at all I felt confused. It was our first “island” experience in Cambodia, and we didn’t know who things work here, but we definitely didn’t expect been dropped off in middle of the ocean just with masks without safe jackets. This guy just stopped his boat in random place, gave us masks and pointed where we have to swim for snorkeling, and it wasn’t close. As you can understand I refused to do it, Martin would possibly try, but a half bottle of sambuca in his body won this battle in his mind.
I saw nice abounded beach nearby and asked to get us there. When I was able to see sea bottom I finally agreed to get in the water. On this little nice beach was an area with a few rocks, very shallow water and a few beautiful fishes. It was more than enough for me. All Cambodian islands covered in crabs holes, usually it is very small crabs, but when we were on this “snorkeling activity” I saw big crab holes on the bottom and being over protective I decided do not step in the area, and I told Martin, “big crab holes over there DO NOT step there, just swim over”. What do you think he did? One minute later he is covered in blood, all water around him is covered in blood, fish boat a few hundred meters away and his foot keep bleeding as hell.
He managed to get himself on the boat, in painful agony we got back to the island because this area forgotten by everyone, no first aid or any medicine available. Considering salt water, sand and the general unhygienic situation only thing I had in mind is use sambuca to disinfect this massive open cut on his foot and tight some fabric over.
Next a few hours after the accident he was dying in pain, and I couldn’t stop myself from laugh, and “I told you so” look.
Moral of the story – listen to the woman and stay safe in Cambodia!