Thursday, June 9, 2011

Serendipity Beach: Sun, Sand, Sea and... Spliff?

Sleepy Sihanoukville succumbed to the basic necessities of summer pilgrims. Accommodations for every budget sprouted, restaurant menus altered to intercontinental, watering holes mushroomed, masseuses/manicurists peddled their services by the beach, banana boats and jet skis bobbed on the water... it's got all the perks of Koh Phangan's Sunrise Beach with a fraction of the craziness, sans the booze buckets.

Not quite Thailand's Lamai Beach in Koh Samui, let alone Koh Phangan. And it will probably stay that way. Up ahead is Occheutal Beach.

Okay, so maybe it's ridiculous to compare the two because even with the mention of spliff on this post's title, Sihanoukville doesn't even come close to being sinfully insane.

In fact, backpackers who end up here don't crave for rowdy nights at all. They are the jaded ones, mostly suffering from temple overload. Symptoms of which include sprinting away/wincing in fear when someone starts talking about 12th century Khmer architecture.

And so, the southern coast of Cambodia, fringed with Casuarina trees and ecru sandy shores beckons those weary souls.

Serendipity Beach, devoid of inebriated partyphiles, crack of dawn.

Wait. Casua-what?! Casuarina is a type of tree or shrub that resembles Pines. Could it be the same genus as that of Anawangin's Pine-looking trees? I couldn't help but notice. And Erwin, my ol' travel buddy who was chugging an Angkor Beer and lounging on the same beach chair beside me, couldn't agree more.

We have been traveling around Cambodia for six days (about three years ago) and were relishing some downtime before flying back to the Philippines. My budget planning was a miraculous success, we were able to afford a few celebratory drinks. Uhm, alright maybe it was not much of a miracle since we constantly starved ourselves and slumbered in dingy guesthouses and walked the whole of Angkor Wat Complex's "Little Circuit" (which by the way is 17 kilometers) because we were too cheap to even hire a bike!

Actually, we even had a decent amount of riels spared for a non-canned meal. It was such a big deal to me, I told Erwin I wanted to head back to our accommodation just to dress up for dinner, though we haven't decided where to eat yet.

Left: Would be lovely to hire one, if only I had the extra bucks. Right: Even in this suit, no one offered a ride. Along Ph 14 Milthona.

I hobbled out of the chair (the comfiest beach chair I've ever laid my arse on, it was heartbreaking to leave!) and led the way to a narrow alley that connects the beach to Ph 14 Milthona, the street where GST Guesthouse is located. The alley itself is dotted with souvenir kiosks, drinking joints and themed restaurants.

Somewhere along the way, Erwin dreamily drifted off upon hearing a certain song, like a child lured by the Pied Piper. His ears took him to a resto which I assumed owned by some French expat/retiree, judging by the menu charmingly written on a blackboard. This was later affirmed by the owner himself who popped out of nowhere and exclaimed "Bonjour!".

I smelled garlicky pasta meat sauce from the kitchen. If it's the music that convinced Erwin to dine there, it was the aroma for me. And no matter how famished such aroma made me feel, I still ran to and fro our guesthouse - changed to a crocheted, cliche tropical cover up faster than you could say fetta tomato huile olive (if you could even pronounce huile right).

Dinner was uneventful. We had forgettable meals (well, it's been three years!) that didn't set off our taste buds' fireworks, but made us feel posh because it's not-our-usual-one-dollar price.

Left: Mind boggling menu behind me! Right: A still-sober Erwin by the bar.

What happened after though, was a nightcap to remember. At least for me who didn't hit the sack dazed. Erwin and I transferred from our table to the bar and ordered a mug of Angkor Draft each. The owner manning it was chattering with a fellow French in dreads, sitting on a bar stool not far from us and smoking a spliff.

At first we were talking amongst ourselves in Tagalog, recounting how kickass our trip has been. Dreads guy suddenly asked where we're from. He was curious for our language didn't sound familiar to them. In unison, we replied "The Philippines". His eyes transformed from dopey to about to pop out in a split second as he blurted, "I heard you got good weed there!". Surprise, surprise. His knowledge of geography seemed to revolve around uhm, grass.

But not to undermine Mr. Dreads, he's actually into world history. I must say, I got hooked listening to his backpacking misadventures (ooohh, that cute accent!)... Slowly, I developed an infatuation. And while I sat there, transfixed (I eventually stood up and sneaked closer), Erwin was experimenting with the joint passed on to him.

In just about under an hour, Erwin insisted we go back to the guesthouse. I was caught off guard for it's so not him to cut the evening short. I somberly bid goodbye to the French guys. Erwin didn't even bother to say farewell, and abruptly left the bar. I saw him sway left and right as I tried to catch up. When I was finally by his side, he threw an arm around me and blabbered gibberish. I swear it wasn't even English or Tagalog or geek talk. His words sounded like the vocabulary of my nine-month old infant.

It dawned on me that the spliff hit him hard. His head was spinning and he could barely walk straight. I dragged him at some point, with much difficulty for he was way taller than me. I dumped him on the bed while he was still talking to himself and constantly, creepily smiling.

What a crazy night. But something happened the day after that's way crazier than this, which involved giving up a mobile phone and iPod for a certain damage caused by Erwin. You gotta stay tuned for that.

Pinay Travel Junkie's boring note to self: While it's fun to try outrageous stuff whilst backpacking, it's smart to do so with a sane companion. Or skip it altogether. Erwin could have passed out anywhere had I not dragged him back to our guesthouse.


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Micamyx|Senyorita said...
June 18, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Uh oh. The last paragraph seems to pertain to a major damage T_T When did this trip took place? How old yung french guy? Wehehe :P

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 18, 2011 at 1:08 PM

Major, major damage! Uhm, I didn't ask but I assume he was mid-twenties *kilig*

Ooohneh said...
June 18, 2011 at 2:12 PM

haha! strong stuff they got there..

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 18, 2011 at 2:48 PM

Haha! I reckon pretty brutal stuff. Khmers seem to be lenient with it too.

Ed said...
June 18, 2011 at 8:20 PM

what the? you walked around Angkor Wat Complex because? grabe yung tipid kahit bike, di pinatulan! hehe. 1 usd/day yun di ba?

Sakit ng iPod touch and mobile phone damage. Oh well, these are the usual stories that last forever. pero ayoko paring mabawasan ng Ipod. hehehe

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 18, 2011 at 8:38 PM

Yeah $1-2 a day ang paghire ng bike. Depende sa klase. Feeling namin maikli lang 17km... feeling lang! Haha! Darna!

tina said...
June 18, 2011 at 8:44 PM

whoa! bitin! anung craziness kaya un, can't wait for the next post :D

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 18, 2011 at 8:49 PM

Err, it was an accident actually. Can't wait to post it soon too!

Archer said...
June 18, 2011 at 8:53 PM

can't wait to read about what happened the day after! love this post!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 18, 2011 at 8:57 PM

Archerrr! Lemme say this again... I sooo love your name! Wait, napressure ako. Haha! There's something I need to post first before the continuation :)

sheril benedict said...
June 18, 2011 at 9:43 PM

Great post !!

AJ said...
June 18, 2011 at 9:57 PM

Ayos sa cliffhanger. The plot thickens! Aabangan ang susunod na kabanata. :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 18, 2011 at 11:06 PM

AJ, this post would be too long had I included it :)

Islandvacations said...
June 19, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Nice knowing your're in Cambodia. Your post had tickled my imagination and enhanced my interest to visit Serendipity Beach in the near future.

Lovely said...
June 19, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Oh, I didn't know they also have these stuffs in Sihanoukville. But the beach looks great though. Maganda nga sya puntahan to breakaway from temple overload :)

I'm also looking forward to read the next part. All the best to your upcoming trip! :-)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 19, 2011 at 3:08 PM

Hi Ed, hope you could visit. Cambodia's got so much to offer besides 12th century temples.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 19, 2011 at 3:16 PM

Hello there lovely, Lovely! It is indeed the perfect 'breakaway' :)

Nelieta said...
June 20, 2011 at 3:50 AM

I am definitely staying tuned for the next story! Poor guy!!!

Ian said...
June 21, 2011 at 10:09 PM

I'm just quite confuse how did Erwin got into the spliff did the French guy offer it and he tried it?

♥ joei said...
June 22, 2011 at 7:04 PM

Haha! Entertaining post. Will wait for the next one!

Anyway, followed you on Google Friend Connect. If you like my blog, hope you can do the same :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 23, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Ian, yup the French guy passed it on to him.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 23, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Thanks for following Joei! Will definitely visit your site :)

docgelo said...
June 27, 2011 at 3:13 PM

this what makes relaxing (in any form,anywhere) interesting; we get to do what we want to do without plans, just go-with-the-flow-kind of thing. kaya lang food was less fascinating? :(

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 28, 2011 at 2:21 PM

The food, unfortunately, was not fascinating at all :(

nomohabits said...
August 21, 2011 at 10:57 PM

It was a Jeff Buckley song, me lady. Lol at that poor guy.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
August 21, 2011 at 11:03 PM

Time to share what happened the day after, Erwin! C'mon, peeps are waiting.

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