October 29, 2008

Check out the pictures here!  I’ll be updating captions, but most are from Otres Beach and there are some of the new beach bar that is under construction (albeit, slowly).  Others are from driving around town on errands.


Driving in Cambodia

October 29, 2008

From the moment I arrived in Phnom Penh, I knew driving here was going to be challenging and at the very least, interesting.  As Alan and I pulled out of the airport, he said that while everything looks very hectic, it’s actually quite organized.  In order to make a left, Alan just inched his way out until everyone stopped or moved around him.   When driving in a car, the sheer number of motos (mopeds or motorcycles) that move around you is a bit daunting, even as a passenger. 

It is amazing what one can fit on the back of a moto.  Entire families (four or five people with a baby) on one moto…or a cage balanced off the back with eight or nine piglets in it.  Trucks and vans with nine or ten Khmers and the back end stretched out another six feet with anything from wicker furniture to motos hung off the back doors.

One thing that really caught me off guard is people simply don’t wait.  If you are moving too slow or trying to make a turn…people just go all around you.  There really is no “lanes” that are followed.  Basically, just any open path.   It is not uncommon to drive on the opposite side of the road or off the road.   The other main difference is when you make a left hand turn; you have to look to your left to make sure nobody is passing you on that side!

I’ve been taking Alan’s motorbike out a lot more since it is nicer.  I haven’t gotten into any accidents yet.  So that’s a good thing.  I’m still not completely comfortable, but with practice I’ll soon be a master Cambodian Driver!  

Rain, Beach Shack and Snake Wine

October 27, 2008

Well, it has been raining alot here the past few days.  Since I’ve been here really…today seems like a really nice day though.  I’m sitting at Alan’s bar while watching the motos go by and the construction crew arrive.  I’m looking forward to a nice day here for a change.  

Construction at Alan’s hotel is going well but we ran into a problem for the Otres Beach shack…we have alot of wood and rubble from the hotel site that Alan wants to move out to Otres to use in building the new additions.  However, its very difficult to find a truck.  The cheapest we have found was $12.50 for the 7km trip.  Hopefully we find a reasonable priced alternative soon as it is slowing down our progress there.

This town is so amaizng.  There is this sleepy feeling about it, but at the same time, you know there is this whole underlying buzz that is there waiting.  I can’t stress enough how much opportuntity is here if you look for it…there is alot to be doneif you have the right mindset.  I am really looking forward to further exploring the town…getting in some pool tournaments at a few of the local ex-pat bars and things such as that.

Oh, I have to tell about this sashimi place that just reopened.  This was one of Alan’s most favorite places to eat here.  A few of you wil love this…I got twenty-one pieces (seven of three different types of fish) of sashimi for $4.  Yeah…$4.  It was amazing…our total bill including sake, 4 tempura prawns and white wine was under $20.  How can you beat that?  I love this country!

I tried snake wine last night.  Alan and I were sitting at his bar last night drinking beer and going over some ideas for the beach bar when he asked one of his staff to bring over a bottle on the top shelf.  Inside thebottle is a cobra with a very large black scorpion and ginseng.  They are left to sit in rice wine for months.  its a very oily texture…reminds me of fish oil.  I took a shot of it and at first thought the warmth was very close to a whiskey warmth.  However, within ten seconds this euporhic…almost high, like feeling swept through me.  It was amazing.  Snake wine is common all over Asia and is supposedly quite good for you.

So far things are going great.  Since its actually sunny today, I will get a chance to take some pictures when I go into town with Alan.  Stay posted…

First Impressions

October 24, 2008

Well, to sum up my first impression of Cambodia all I can say is this:


There is so much that I want to write about and I know I won’t have the time to get it all in this post.  I’ll try to write about a few things and experiances I had since leaving Phoenix.

The flight from Phoenix to LA was delayed by almost 40 minutes…which really sucked.  I was so tired already and at the edge of my nerves.  The last thing I needed was to have this delay.

LAX was just as I remembered…however, changing terminals was actually too easy.  I had to go from my terminal to the Bradley International Terminal to check in with EVA.  When I got onto the shuttle bus, I was hit by a feeling of Deja Vu.  Exactly two years go I wason this bus trying to get back to Hawaii after a sailing trip to San Francisco.  Our voyage was several days late arriving in port.  My parents were visiting Hawaii and I was in a rush to get back there to see them for a few days before they left.  I was on a plane back to Hawaii literally 3 hours after landing.  So I was on this shuttle bus and my flight was delayed because there was an earthquake on Oahu…all fights were cancelled.  I ended up getting a ride to Phoenix with Liz and Roxy (her dog).

The 14 hour flight was actually very smooth.  I was given the emergency exit aisle and a window seat…I could stretch my legs out as far as I wanted.  I slept nearly the whole way…it was fantastic.  The food wasn’t too bad…I mean, it was airline food.

When I arrived in Phenom Penh I was shuffled through to get my visa.  Took about 5 minutes…very smooth.  I then met Alan, retrived my bags and left the airport.  The drive to Sihanoukville was about 3 hours in a early 90’s Land Rover with a turbo charged diesel.  I think they forgot to sound proof the passenger compartment because to hold a conversation with Alan I had to yell.  At about the half way mark, we had a flat tire.  This would have been ok except our foot long bar didn’t generate enough torque to remove the bolts.  Luckily a Khmer stopped by on his moto and once Alan demostrated what we needed, he came back in about 5 minutes with a long steel pipe which worked perfectly.  Alan gave him 10,000 Riel (about $2.50) and said that was more than several days’ wage.

The rest of the drive was smooth.  Driving here is completely crazy.

Things here are great.  I’m still getting settled in and whatnot.  Details and pictures of things here at the hotel will be up shortly.

Where it all Began…

October 21, 2008

Bags are packed…the goodbyes have been said…the tears of sorrow and joy have been wiped away.  If I actualy got any of the luck I was given by countless people…well, lets just say I would be heading towards Vegas right now.

I’m sitting at my gate in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.  I have checked my bags and passed through security.  My flight to Los Angeles boards in roughly a hour and with that short hop to the West coast, my trip will offically begin.  

I had an unbelivable last few months in Phoenix.  My God…the time really flew by.  I was asked to recall my most favorite memory.  I wish I could pick just one…but I can’t.  They were all equally important to me.  I’ll see all my friends and family again soon.  I have a feeling the time will pass by very fast.  

By the way…Liz…thanks for the awesome party!  I can’t wait to get the pictures!