Bar Fights, Ambush and Karaoke Girls

I haven’t been able to post anything the past few days because the Internet at Alan’s hotel has been down. The ISP has 24/7 tech support, however, this week is the Water Festival and apparently the Khmers don’t do a thing all week. Alan had no builders on his hotel and we couldn’t even get bricks delivered from the hardware store. A dozen calls a day for three days yielded nothing from the ISP’s support department. I took the opportunity to go without the Internet for a few days and see how I would hold up. I’m proud to say I did fairly well. There were a few sleepless nights, occasional cold sweats and some mood swings, but I went nearly three days without Internet!

I don’t think I can recap everything that has happened this week…I’ll try to get the few highlights though.

First, we had a huge argument with our “neighbors” at Otres Beach. There is alot of history, but the cliff notes is we tore down a building and were rebuilding it out of brick along the same footprint. The neighbors complained because the building was on their side of this access way…which is true, however, the neighbors had a prior agreement to allow that building to be there, which causes us to lose one room (out of 4). The problem with arguing with Khmers is it is very much like arguing with a child, they simply do not use logic. Well, Alan got so fed up because the reason they are doing this is because they don’t want the competition next to them and we spent an evening completely redesigning the layout of the buildings. We can now fit in 4 individual bungalows in a really really sweet design and have extended our bar seating area. As we layout the foundations this next week, I’ll be sure to post pictures of the progress.

Speaking of progress, we have cast the bar top yesterday and it looks AMAZING. We have started forming up the inside counter tops today and a few other small things. Check out the construction pics for the past few days. We are shooting for a December 1st opening and I think I can make it in time. I have a good crew of very smart young Khmers and they seem very interested and challenged by this project.

The puppy got attacked by a pack of stray dogs several days ago. I kinda adopted him after I found him out at the beach. He is very young and I don’t believe he is even weened. I brought him to the hotel during night and he explored and slept around at the construction site during the day. A few days ago, I had to borrow some tools from someone a few plots down and walked along the beach to their bar…the puppy took off after me and I, nor the crew, noticed. The pack of dogs that hangs out in the lot next to us rushed him. I had to beat the dogs away from him and carried him back to our site. The puppy was bleeding very badly and I thought it was coming from his stomach, I was sure they gashed him open. I managed cut up part of my t-shirt and made a bandage to stop the bleeding and then went back to Alan’s hotel. The town vet was out of the area on vacation (This damn Water Festival) and so I ended up cleaning him up at the hotel. He was very sore and was yelping alot. He is doing just fine and has been running around the hotel wagging his tail and getting a ton of attention from the guests. I need to wait until hes a bit older before I can take him back out to Otres. But he is gonna make a great beach bar dog.

Last night I went out to my first Khmer karaoke experience. I went out at the prodding of Wendy and Ra (long story about him, but he works for me right now). We walk into this local place that has music blaring and a number of tables full of Khmers laughing, drinking and singing. We get served by whats called a “Karaoke Girl”…basically a cocktail waitress, but with a twist. She brings out a tray of beers and small cups with ice. After filling these small cups with ice and beer, she pulls up a chair and sits with us. Oh yeah, before they drink they always raise their glasses and say “cheers”…this was an event that happened more times than I can count. Now, keep in mind that Wendy and I are the only Westerners in this place so we have quite the attention. The Karaoke girls all were constantly throwing glances or coming by where the girl we had would fight them off. It was quite the experience. Toward the end, Wendy leaned in and whispered to me that I could have the girl for $5. However, as Wendy put it, what I would catch from her would cost me much much more. We ended up going to two other local places, including a Khmer dancing club called “Blue Storm”. Everybody dances, boys with boys, girls with girls, groups of boys together, it doesn’t matter. They all have fun. There isn’t this stigma attached to being close physically to the same sex like it is in the West.

Things here are still going great. The weather has been stunning, literally perfect. We are making alot of progress out at the beach and I think I can get this place opened before the 1st. Keep your fingers crossed.

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