Reading for comprehension is not my forte. Actually, as I ponder these pages, I wonder what my forte is. Clearly, I will not be writing a book called, "Carefree Travel with Your Wee Children."
I will confess publicly that when I read that Sinhanoukville was billed as a "beach resort" town, I took that at my American, Myrtle Beach-y aesthetic kind of face value. Huge mistake in southeast Asia. I mean, really.
When I read "beach resort," I pictured bright lights, fast food, stuffed animals on the boardwalk. There were animals on the boardwalk, alright, but they were stuffed with Khmer cooking and tequila. <giggle>
So, Sinhanoukville is a backpacker kind of beach resort. The kind of place where if you are traveling around Asia for eight months living in the same shorts day after day with your hair in dreadlocks and loving the idea of staying at a place on the beach where you rent a hammock for $5US and share a bathroom that you have to be drunk to use, this is your kind of town. It's very similar to many places in Thailand and Vietnam, and there is absolutely no reason on earth for me not to have known this. Except that I can be a bit blithe about this travel business. Oops.
Random shot of the local marketplace. We did stop in and I got such a deal on some Ray Bans!
And when I categorize the place as "backpacker heaven," I should qualify that with "mostly." I do think if I had done a bit more research, there are areas of Sinhanoukville where we might have stayed and been a bit more at home. I don't think the town will be billed in our lifetime as "The Perfect Family Getaway," but there are bits of it that are a tad more remote and maybe a little tidier and less heavy on the party atmosphere.
Although, at the end of the day, we were staying in a beach town on the Gulf of Thailand where the food was divine, our hotel was perfectly fine and reasonably priced (nice pool!), and the sea water was like taking a salty bath. What, oh, what could I possibly have to complain about??
What, us complain?? Although I think they have the right to complain about tragically bad photoshopping.
We arrived in the late afternoon and spent about a couple of hours or so doing reconnaissance. Our first stop was on the beach where we met Mr. Tiny Bikini. That beach was an easy enough walk from our hotel, so we decided to keep walking. Excellent choice, if I do say so myself. Some quick research revealed a beach *just* a bit further on that was part of a fancy schmancy resort. The fancy schmancy resort people clean the beach daily, including sweeping off random backpackers. This sounds like a great place to park your family for the day, except for the fact that one qualifies as a "random backpacker" simply by not staying at the fancy schmancy resort. Unfortunately, that meant they were going to sweep the likes of us off, too.
But, no worries! Clever people that we are, we devised a Very Excellent Plan (in two parts). Fancy Schmany Beach Invasion Plan Part 1, the evening we arrived, we ordered drinks at the bar. Voila! Free beach and playground (check out the background to the right) access!
Fancy Schmacy Beach Invasion Plan Part 2, the following day, we arrived just before lunch and as the security guards asked us to leave, we announced that we would be buying lunch at the bar. And drinks! So, please, sir, can we stay?? And they let us. Not without a bit of further negotiation, mind you, but we are used to that and have no problem using our adorable children as leverage. Although, given that it was the off season and the fancy schmancy resort was basically guest-less, I think in some ways we were doing them the favor. It was an expensive lunch, but when you consider that we were actually buying a day on a gorgeous beach and got lunch tossed in as part of the deal, it was worth it.
Wouldn't you say?
There, that's a better shot of Jeff.
Yes, that is a French Fry. You have got to love a Fancy Schmancy Resort that can deliver French Fries to the beach.
More tomorrow: We are nearing the end of our Cambodia trip and considering that it has taken me twice as long to document as it took to actually live it, I would say it is about time!