Koh Rong – part 2

Posted from Kaoh Kong, Cambodia.

While sitting on the beach the day after arriving on Koh Rong, and after a brief evening stroll, two very familiar figures began making their way toward me. Funny. I never thought I’d run into Andrew and Mariela again, but there they were. An American and an Argentinian I had met in Siem Reap. We all laughed at our coincidence and decided to meet for dinner later that night.

For dinner we went to a barbecue at Island Boys, a guest-house and bar/restaurant that had just been recently purchased by some Aussie guys – like five days ago. For $5 we got a huge meal – albeit a little late, of fish of our choice, salad, potatoes and bread. The guys were so busy running around and learning to run their business that they forgot our order. To make amends we ended up getting three free beers – each. Noice.

 

If fish isn't your thing, you can have chicken.

If fish isn’t your thing, you can have chicken.

In the morning the three of us grabbed some water and donned shoes to make the 40-min trek through the jungle to the other beach. I’d like to take this moment to mention how much I love my barefoot shoes. This hike was not easy. The beginning of it was a gradual climb uphill, but as we approached the bay over the hill the way down was steep and rather far down. Ropes are set up to provide support in some places, but if you’re not able-bodied share a boat to Long Beach with some other people for about $30.

As the tide went out the beach became wide and pristine. But still only a handful of people.

As the tide went out the beach became wide and pristine. But still only a handful of people.

Long Beach is b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l. It’s not the widest beach, but at 7 km long it still wins a place in my heart. The only downside was the sand flies. Luckily I brought my bug repellent and reapplied after every dip. I still got bit. A lot. But how glorious it was to be in such a gorgeous place with so few people. We enjoyed it until our stomachs began to growl. There is a guest house and restaurant on this side of the island called Broken Hearts, but we wanted to get back as we heard the jungle can become quite unsafe at night.

Andrew catching some rays after a dip.

Andrew catching some rays after a dip.

The walk back to the main beach made me feel old. Actually, it was the climb up. Was my bag really that heavy? Nope. I’m really that old. (My quads hurts for days.)

We went for Italian food at La Mani, a little joint run by an Italian lady who informed us in very broken English that she just smoked a joint but she can cook very well when stoned. I had spaghetti carbonara and it was absolutely amazing. But I wasn’t surprised. Stoners often make the best food.

I spent that night drinking at the bar with the staff. It was during this time that I learned something about what’s going on on this island. Apart from the fact that the government has already pieced it off to have it developed into a tourism mecca with an airport, the joints already established are run by opportunistic stoners (well, not all of them) who got in on the ground floor and will probably be wiped out once the big guys with real money get here. If that actually happens. After I went to bed two staff members, from different establishments got in a fight that led to biting, eye-gauging and shiners. I think they’re both Irish. And one of them is probably going to lose his eye but doesn’t have enough sense to leave the island and seek medical attention. Pity. But then I suppose this is the life he wants for himself. It left me disenchanted with this place. I know people are always in search of the “dream.” That grandiose lifestyle that ensures their security and way of life, but Koh Rong isn’t for me.

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The next day I did very little, not on account of my hangover, which was minimal, but because I just wanted to chill. I hung in a hammock on the top deck of the hostel doing puzzles and listening to the water. But I was over Koh Rong.

I had gotten my laundry done and my socks and boxer shorts were missing. I only gave them 13 pieces of clothing. And three pieces were missing. I got the socks back, but the boxers – an old pair of Dave’s that I sleep in – are gone. Someone also, I can only assume, kicked one of my flipflops off the deck, so I’m down a pair of those too. Damn.

I decided to get on the boat in the morning and head back to the mainland. I was sick of bailing water to make the toilet flush, only getting electricity after dark and sleeping above a bar that doesn’t shut down until the generator runs out of juice. It was time to leave. My plan tomorrow – get on the boat, get my Vietnamese visa and figure out how to get to Kep and then Vietnam.

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