Trash and treasure in Sihanoukville

sokha-beach-sihanoukville-cambodia

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I started this blog because I had a lot of positive things to say about Sihanoukville. I purposely did not write negative things, but that may have been a little misleading. Like anyplace else, there are positives and negatives about Sihanoukville. I went to my favourite beaches today and took photos of both the positives and negatives. This blog is about trash and treasure in Sihanoukville.

I’m not picking on Sihanoukville alone. When I went to a beach on Bali that didn’t have a trash pickup service, a stream was filled with plastic. You couldn’t even see the water there was so much of it. When the wind blew onshore in Kuta, trash washed up on the beach. They picked it up, but I think they just dumped it at sea again, so it washed in the next time the wind blew onshore.

sokha-beach-sihanoukville-cambodia

Sihanoukville is a place of contrasts. I tend to overlook the trash on the beach and focus on the islands and the trees on the headlands where I swim. It’s there, though, and can be hard to overlook. I went to Sokha Beach first. They groom the beach at the resort end and sometimes clean up the trash on the free end of the beach. It piles up quickly, though and they can’t really keep up with it. When you look out to sea, it’s beautiful, but if you focus on the ground, there is trash everywhere.

sokha-beach-trash

The same is true of Victory Beach. It’s worse there because there is no resort and no one picks up the trash on one side of the pier. There is a little cafe next to the pier on the other side and a more upmarket one next to that. They pick up the trash on that side of the beach, which is good. Like Sokha, when you take a long look out to sea, it’s beautiful. When you look more closely, you see a lot of trash.

victory-beach-sihanoukville-cambodia

Like I said, I can overlook the trash on the beaches, but I have a harder time overlooking the mega-developments that are happening along the coast. When the beach road was narrow, we used to “go looking” almost every evening. There were just a few motorbikes on the road and it was quite pleasant. Now there are trucks everywhere taking dirt and supplies to the big developments. I took this photograph of one of the developments. There used to be a big field there. Just next to it, cows still graze, but the development is an eyesore in my opinion.

victory-beach-trash-flowers

flowers and trash side-by-side at Victory Beach

 

I can overlook the trash, but the developments are getting to me. Sihanoukville used to have a village feel to it. It’s grown in 10 years and while we rarely saw cars even on Ekareach Street, there are almost as many cars as motorbikes on Ekareach Street now. Where there used to be little shops, many have been torn down and taller buildings are being built. There are so many casinos in town now, it’s ridiculous.

development-sihanoukville-cambodia

If it continues developing at this pace, the time may come when we have to move to someplace quieter. I’d like it to be near the coast because I love to swim, but we’ll see. Steung Hau still has cheap land and long, beautiful beaches. Granted, there aren’t any places that serve cappuccinos or western food there, but that’s a small price to pay for a quieter location. Kampot is another option. There are some beautiful beaches near Kampot and many of them are empty. It will be a longer ride to get to them, but that’s okay. It will be worth it to have an empty beach to swim at. Then again, we may adjust to the changes and stay in Sihanoukville. There is both trash and treasure in Sihanoukville. Time will tell if the trash overtakes the treasure.

cows-sihanoukville-cambodia

Sihanoukville beaches

From some articles I’ve read, I’ve gotten the impression that Ochheuteal Beach is the only beach in Sihanoukville. If not that, it’s touted as the most popular beach in town. I almost never go to Ochheuteal. I like to swim and I choose quieter beaches where I can enjoy a view of nature while I swim. Here’s a rundown on Sihanoukville beaches you might not have thought about.

I’ll start with this satellite view of Sihanoukville. It covers all the beaches in the area. Admittedly, it can take some time to reach some of them, but if you want to be surrounded by nature instead of restaurants, it can be worth taking the time to get to some of them.

Towards the bottom of the photo, you’ll see Ochheuteal and Otres. Look at the very bottom of the photo and you’ll see the outline of another beach. Well, it’s a narrow beach, but it’s there at the bottom right. It’s hidden because it’s not developed and there are trees on the beach. It’s a bit rocky on the ends of the beach, but you can still find hundreds of metres of beach to swim in.

I don’t go there often because it takes about an hour to get there. I usually don’t have time for day trips, so I go to beaches closer to my home. My two favourites are the free end of Sokha Beach and what I still call Victory Beach (because it’s below Victory Hill). My current favourite is Victory Beach because it’s often windy when I go swimming and Victory Beach is sheltered from the wind. When there are whitecaps at other beaches, the water is fairly calm there.

I also like to take the kids there because there is an inexpensive restaurant on the left side of the pier and the water is shallow for a good distance. I like to go swimming alone there, too, because once I get past the beach, there’s a rocky, undeveloped area and I can swim between the rocks and have a wonderful quiet little nook where I can imagine I’m on an unspoiled island. Here’s a photo of the beach as seen from the restaurant.

What you don’t see is what I see when I go swimming there. This satellite image shows the area past the beach. There’s a little unnamed beach on the other side of the headland that is usually empty. Then you come to Hawaii Beach, which is also relatively quiet.

This photo illustrates a point I want to make about Sihanoukville beaches. The beaches with the biggest names may not be the beaches you want to go to if you want to get away from the crowds or want to go to a beach that isn’t lined with restaurants. The Airport Disco used to dominate the right side of the pier at Victory Beach, but it wasn’t very successful and they tore it down. Now it’s a relatively quiet beach with a few palm trees to provide shade.

If you really want to get away from it all, you can go to the beach I mentioned above (the one at the bottom of the first satellite image). It will take a while to get there and you’ll need to take food and water with you, but you will be surrounded by nature. Arguably, it will feel more remote than some of the islands, which have been developed since fast boats became available.

Think outside the box when you’re in Sihanoukville. You can find Sihanoukville beaches that suit you better than others. You may have to search for your ideal beach, but it will be worth it.

 

Another Side of Ochheuteal Beach

view from our restaurant

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My family and Cambodians in general squeeze everything they can get out of any holiday. When International Women’s Day rolled around last week, Sopheak kept the kids out of school and arranged a day at the beach. We went to the end of Ochheuteal Beach, near the headland/peninsula that separates it from Otres Beach. This is what it looks like from the road.

road at far end of ochheuteal beach

I’ve written about that end of Ochheuteal before, but focused on Sunset Lounge. We went to a more traditional “restaurant.” It was lovely. There’s a string of them at the end of the road that takes you to that end of Ochheuteal Beach. I claimed a hammock. There were three in our little space, but one went unused because it was in the sun.

view from our restaurant

This end of Ochheuteal isn’t entirely unknown. I saw several Westerners walking and jogging on the beach, but none of them stopped for refreshments. They turned around and went back to the Serendipity end of the beach. I was the only barang in any of these more traditional restaurants. We ordered a feast for seven people, but it didn’t cost any more than meals for two at a more upmarket restaurant on Serendipity Road.

I went for a swim. While I was swimming, I noticed a tractor and some workers just beyond the treeline. After my swim, I took a closer look. From what I can tell, they’re extending the pathway from the other end of Ochheuteal through the empty space that once was going to be a huge resort complete with a nine-hole golf course. It may happen one day, but it hasn’t happened yet.

workers making pathway on ochheuteal beach, sihanoukville cambodiaThat may be a road next to the pathway. If that happens, we can expect even more development on this end of Ochheuteal. It may be the end of the traditional restaurants on the beach. If that happens, I’ll be sad. It’s so nice to see these little restaurants thriving. This derelict building may be knocked down and replaced by a new resort, which will also take over the beach in front of it. I hope my imagination is getting the better of me, but fear I might be right. Big resorts are springing up everywhere in Sihanoukville.

derelict building near ochheuteal beach, sihanoukville, cambodiaAnyway, we had an idyllic day until about 3:30 p.m., when the tractor moved onto the beach. I have no idea what it was doing and hope it wasn’t installing sewage pipes. It was noisy and no one paid much attention to the children who got far too close to the tractor, which was digging sand and then swinging to the side and depositing it behind the ditch to create a break-wall. They didn’t want their work interrupted when waves caved in their trench.

tractor on ochheuteal beach, sihanoukville cambodiaWe put up with it for about half an hour, but decided it was time to head home. No one seemed too bothered by the tractor. Even I was fascinated by it. The wind was sideshore and blowing the fumes in the other direction and the tractor wasn’t too loud, but it was getting late and Sopheak had to go open her new bar. She has a buyer and I hope she sells it soon. It’s too much work and keeps her up too late.

While it lasts, the other side of Ochheuteal Beach is well-worth visiting. You may prefer Sunset Lounge or another place that has tables and chairs. If you don’t know Khmer, you probably won’t be able to order what you want in the little restaurants, but you might want to buy a trinket from a vendor walking up and down the beach.

vendor on ochheuteal beach, sihanoukville cambodia

Serendipity Road Revisited

Looking up Serendipity Road from the bottom

I’ve been having my afternoon coffee at Escape lately. I still like Artisan, but the sun is lower at this time of year and it’s sometimes hard to find a place in the shade. After two weeks of watching tourists, I decided it was time for a Serendipity Road revisited post.

Golden Lions, Sihanoukville Cambodia

It’s easy for me to step back in time and remember the first time I saw Serendipity Road. It was a narrow, rutted dirt road the first time I saw it. I was on a rented motorbike. I decided my motorbike skills weren’t up to the task of negotiating the road, so I continued up Ekareach Street. At that time, there was almost no traffic in Sihanoukville and most of it was motorbikes. Times have changed. Even at 1:00 p.m., when traffic is slowest, there were plenty of cars and motorbikes on Ekareach Street. As you’ll soon see, there were also a lot on Serendipity Road.

I took this photo to show that they’ve widened the top of Serendipity Road. They didn’t widen it as radically as planned, but the extra width helps. There used to be bottlenecks as you approached the Golden Lions. You still have to go around cars and sometimes buses, but the bottlenecks aren’t as bad as they used to be.

Serendipity Road Sihanoukville Cambodia top

Before continuing down to the pier, I stopped for a cappuccino at Escape. Actually I had two cappuccinos and a bottle of water. I’m reading a brilliant book and I couldn’t put it down. After an hour or so, I forced myself to leave, but not before I took this picture. It’s not as dark as it appears in the shade of Escape, but this is the view. Basically, the view is of the passing traffic. When I came here, most of the traffic was male and white. Today, we get tourists of all ages, sizes and races. As many women visit as men and I often see families and groups of older women.

Serendipity-Road-from Escape

I had to stop and take a photo from the top of Serendipity Road where it goes down to the pier. They paved it recently, which was a good idea. The old cement road was crumbling under the weight of the cars and trucks that rolled down it. Building is still going on on the road and some of the buildings are big.

Serendipity Road Sihanoukville looking towards the pier

New hotels on Serendipity Road, Sihanoukville Cambodia

Finally I reached the bottom of the hill, where I took a photograph of the pier. You can see the boats, but the throngs of people on the pier are a little harder to see.

Pier at the bottom of Serendipity Road, Sihanoukville Cambodia

Then I turned around and took this photo up the road. The bottom of Serendipity Road is clogged with tuk-tuks, motorbikes and cars. That’s the main reason why I rarely go to Yasmine for coffee. The views are nice, but it’s hard to find a place to park.

Looking up Serendipity Road from the bottom

I came back from my little tour of Serendipity Road marveling at how much it’s changed in just ten years. Sihanoukville was a haven for backpackers looking for cheap accommodation, cheap beer, cheap drugs and, sometimes, cheap prostitutes. I didn’t like walking down Serendipity Road in the past. Every tuk-tuk driver said, “Want drugs? Want girl?” They don’t say that anymore. They just say, “tuk-tuk?” The tourists are mellower, too. They seem to be here to enjoy the sun, the water and the islands.

The city is growing faster than I’d like, but I have to admit, it’s improving every year. One thing I love about it is that visitors come from everywhere. You see Chinese, Japanese, Korean, European, American and Australian tourists here. Most of the time, I don’t understand a word I hear around me when I’m having my daily cappuccino. Sometimes I recognize the language, but I have no idea what they’re talking about. I like the cultural mix. I think I’ll be staying here for a long time to come. As my book, Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese says: “Wasn’t that the definition of home? Not where you are from, but where you are wanted.” I have a family here and feel wanted. This is my home until or unless something changes.

Independence Beach Update

It was almost a month ago that I wrote about the big changes going on at Independence Beach. In the second paragraph, I speculated that they might be building a resort. Well, I was right and it looks like it’s going to be another mega-resort and I suppose condominiums. In preparation for the Water Festival, they’ve plastered signs across the site. Not a very good photo, but you can see from the picture that it’s another high-rise beach development.

Either I’m not very observant or they built this building in a hurry because I didn’t notice it last time I passed by. I assume it’s where people are meant to go to find out more about Blue Bay.

It took me about 20 minutes to get from Ekareach Street to the beach yesterday. They were already setting up stalls in anticipation of the Sea Festival, which starts on the 23rd. Trucks unloading products for the stalls were blocking traffic. I couldn’t take any pictures as I crawled through the traffic, but about 50 stalls were already filled with goods. I saw everything from clothes and shoes to gifts and one place was even selling mattresses. They were just getting started along the beach road. I was able to take this photo of one stall. They are all about the same size.

As I made my way towards the Hill, where I was going for my almost nightly meal at Irina Franca, I passed under this banner. It’s much smaller than the one on the other side of the beach, but I was tired of fighting traffic, so I didn’t go back to take a picture of the larger banner.

Also note the now completed sculpture on the left. There’s a wide footpath leading to the Independence Hotel pier. It looks like it’s going to be open to the public.

Next time I’ll give an update on Dao of Life. They’re moving down to the bottom of Serendipity Road. I think it’s a great location. Just have to take a few photos.

From Sihanoukville Port to Hun Sen Beach

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I’ve taken the road from the Sihanoukville port to Hun Sen Beach many times before, but never explored the nooks and crannies of the village by the water. One day it may be gone, so I decided today was the day I was going to take some photos. I’m glad I did.

hun sen beach sihanoukville cambodia I rode out to Hun Sen Beach before I started taking pictures, so this will be a tour in reverse. Hun Sen Beach is Sihanoukville’s widest and cleanest beach. I had no idea why it was so clean until today when I saw some people cleaning the beach.

My next stop was at a spot where some men were building two boats. There are two or three spots where you can see boat builders, but I didn’t want to get too carried away, so this is the only photo I took.

boat builders sihanoukville cambodiaAs I continued back towards Sihanoukville, I noticed a road and decided to take a ride down it to see what was there. I saw some houses on stilts hanging over the water. They had spectacular views, but I didn’t take any pictures. I couldn’t resist taking this photo, though. Yes, that’s wall-to-wall trash, but there was something too intriguing about the setting to pass it by.

boats near sihanoukville portMoving on, I came to another road and decided to see what was there. It seemed like a complete community. Some of the buildings were on piers. For some reason, there was no trash in the water here.

boat in water sihanoukville cambodiaNow I was getting closer to the port, but I had to stop and take a picture of this “boardwalk.”

wooden bridge in sihanoukville cambodiaAnd then my journey was over. I stopped at my favourite park. It’s near the port. The grass is overgrown and people don’t worry too much about where they throw their trash, but I love it. It brings back fond memories of my first year in Sihanoukville and it is one place where you never seem to see barang. Only Cambodians go there. I’ve posted sunset photos before, but it was long before sunset today, so I took a picture of the food stalls instead of the islands.

parkAfter a bottle of water, I returned home, but I’m kicking myself a little. I wish I’d gone further and taken more pictures. Eventually, the road takes you all the way to Steung Hau (sp?). I haven’t been out there for years. Maybe next week? We’ll see how the weather is.

The Road from Otres to Sihanoukville Airport

I’ve been wanting to take the new road from Otres to the Sihanoukville Airport for a while now. Today was the perfect day for it: no rain, a little overcast and windy. I was hesitant after a friend hit a rock and had a bad accident, but another friend told me it was smooth now. She was right.

road from otres beach sihanoukville to ream I told myself I wasn’t going to get distracted by new developments. It wasn’t easy, because I saw many as I rode my motorbike to Wat Otres, where the new road begins. I couldn’t help but take a picture of this mural on a wall just outside of Otres, though. I have no idea who did it, but it’s brilliant.

mural near Otres beach, sihanoukville cambodiaThe first thing I came across on the new road from Otres to the Sihanoukville Airport was this.

on road from otres to ream, sihanoukville cambodiaI was impressed but was more impressed when I came across this vista.

road from otres to battrang, sihanoukville cambodiaI took this photograph at a crossroads. I rode to the bottom, but turned around. I thought the other road would lead to a beach. I ran into a Cambodian man I know on my way back up the hill and he wanted to show me the 3 hectares of land he had bought, so I followed him to the bottom. He told me the road comes out at Route 4 in Battrang and was going to be paved next year. I’m glad I went today. I’ve been kicking myself for not taking photos of places before they’re developed. I didn’t see much of interest on his land, but after I turned around, I had to take a photograph of these cows. I suspect one day there will be a resort where this little shack is today.

road from otres to sihanoukville airportWhen I got back to the top of the hill, I went down the road I suspected led to a beach. I was right. It was a beautiful, unspoiled beach with only a couple of families having picnic lunches on the beach.

empty beach outside of sihanoukville cambodiaOther than that, it was completely empty. I loved it and plan on returning soon to enjoy a few hours on an empty beach swimming and relaxing in the sun.

empty beach between sihanoukville and ream, cambodiaIt reminded me of Maui, circa 1969. We used to go to Makeena Beach and swim nude. It was completely empty. A guy told me there’s a golf course there now. It’s getting harder to find empty beaches. No, I won’t swim nude (that was when I was a young hippie), but I’ll enjoy the natural, empty beach for as long as I can.

The BIG Sihanoukville News

Update 13 March 2016: According to the Khmer Times and other publications, it looks like the Sihanoukville beach vendors have been given a reprieve. I’ll keep you posted, but for now at least, it doesn’t look like their establishments are going to be bulldozed.

The big Sihanoukville news is that all those lovely beachfront restaurants on Otres Beach are soon going to be a thing of the past. The story broke on the Cambodia Daily on February 17 and was quickly shared on Facebook. Some beach establishments confirmed it, with one saying they would stay until their business was bulldozed. His words reflected those of a business owner quoted in the Cambodia Daily: “I’ll tell you what my reaction to this is: It’s that I will stay until they f—king shove me off here.”

Otres19Feb2016

The buildings on the right are apparently the ones that have to go

The article says:

According to a statement dated February 12 and signed by Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Yon Min, businesses on O’Tres and those on the southern end of O’Chheuteal have until March 13 to move out, citing environmental concerns.

Those that don’t comply with the order will be bulldozed. I know of at least one business that has been anticipating this since they set up shop on the beach years ago. They made contingency plans, but many others will simply have to close. One thing I’m not clear about is what’s going to happen to the businesses on the other side of the road. I knew the ones on the beach were on borrowed time, but thought those on the opposite side of the road were safe. Some of them have invested a lot of money in their bungalows and guesthouses and have made Otres Sihanoukville’s most popular beach.

According to Sihanoukville governor Y Sok­leng as quoted in the article cited above: “Those buildings are close to the sea—the construction should be more than 100 meters away. In fact, when the tide is high, it often touches the buildings.” The guesthouses across the road are a lot less than 100 meters from the beach, but I was under the impression they were legally there and were subject only to height restrictions so that high rise construction could take place on the paved road that runs behind and parallels the dirt road shown on the photo above.

I took a walk to the end of Otres1 and took the two photos shown below. If they remove all the establishments, it’s sort of a before and after picture of what Otres Beach will look like in the near future.

Otres before and after

Before . . . and . . . After

I guess it will be kind of nice to have more beach, but I feel for the businesses that have to go. Most of them have done a great job, providing good food and beverages and keeping the beach clean. True, you have to pay for the privilege, but if you just want to enjoy the beach, Long Beach (on the right) is always there for you.

Some of my friends agree with me that removing the bars and restaurants along Ochheuteal Beach might not be such a bad idea. Many of them attract a clientele that Sihanoukville could do without. Otres seems to attract more tourists who just want to enjoy the beach. When I went down there to take these photographs, I saw three kite surfers, several people sailboarding and more than a few Hobie catamarans on the water. When I stopped in at a restaurant for a coffee and a snack, they were playing mellow music and guests were quietly enjoying the sun and the water.

So that’s the BIG Sihanoukville news. I’ll be sure to take a ride out there on or after March 13 to see what’s happened. I will be sorry to see some of my favourite weekend lunch spots go, but if there is one thing I’ve learned here, it’s that anything can happen and probably will.

Secret beaches of Sihanoukville

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I read another “authoritative” article about the noisy, congested beaches of Sihanoukville the other day. As usual, it was by someone who came here for a few days and spent all their time on Ochheuteal beach. Since they spent all of a few days in the one spot, they decided they were an authority on the subject of Sihanoukville. They mentioned Otres as an alternative, but didn’t give any details and an uninformed reader would surmise that Ochheuteal and Otres were the only two mainland beach options in Sihanoukville. As you can see, there are others.

white rabbit beach panorama

This panorama shot is a little deceiving. Straighten out the beach and the lounges and you get a more accurate picture. As you can see, the beach isn’t such a big secret, either, but it might as well be if you’re the type who believes what they read in mainstream blogs and publications.

white rabbit menu

After I wrote The Mellow Side of Ochheuteal Beach, a local complained that she wished I hadn’t published it. I assured her that most backpackers didn’t visit my site, so the secret was safe. Just to be on the safe side, I’m not going to reveal where this beach is. The photo should make it obvious, but finding the entrance to the beach isn’t so obvious. I’ll give you a hint, though. I took the photo a few days ago when the wind was blowing hard on other beaches in Sihanoukville. This one was sheltered from the prevailing wind. I hung out at White Rabbit and enjoyed lunch and coffee between swims and reading. The weather took a turn for the worse in the afternoon, but the couple of hours I spent at the beach made my weekend complete. I’d just spent a marathon week of work and needed a break.

This beach was just one of three I could have chosen to spend my time at. I chose this one because I wanted a Western meal. Just down the road is an even more secret (to Westerners) beach, but the food is all Khmer and there’s not as much sand on the beach. Just up the road is another beach that has a stretch of empty sand next to a couple of Khmer-run restaurants.

These three secret beaches of Sihanoukville are within five minutes ride on a motorbike from each other. If I had more time and took my own supplies, I could go out of town and find completely empty beaches or beaches that are frequented by a handful of Cambodians on picnics only.

The point of this little exercise is to demonstrate how limited mainstream sites are in their coverage of any destination. Fair enough, your first stop should probably be a more frequented part of any city, but if hanging out with backpackers isn’t your thing, avoid the places backpackers tell you to go to. Instead, take the side roads and see what you find. If nothing else, you’ll have an interesting day and you just might find a little patch of paradise hidden away between the tourist traps.

The Mellow Side of Ochheuteal Beach

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The Phnom Penh Post finds it hard to say anything good about Cambodia, so I wasn’t surprised when I read the headline: Ochheuteal Beach is the worst tourist trap in all of Cambodia. To my surprise, I actually agreed with some of what the 2012 article said. “Ochheuteal is why the rest of Sihanoukville is unfairly tarnished as the creeping Pattaya of Cambodia,” the author wrote and I couldn’t agree with him more. I never go to that end of Ochheuteal Beach, but should go to the other end more often.

sunset-lounge-buddha-ochheuteal-beach

This Buddha greeted me when I rolled up to Sunset Lounge yesterday morning. He set the pace for the entire morning and by the time I finished lunch, I felt like I’d been on a spiritual vacation.

Sunset Lounge is located on the far end of Ochheuteal Beach, just below the headland. Cross over the headland past Queen Hill Resort and you’re at Otres Beach. I only had a few hours to spare, so I made the most of them. I chose a table in the shade on the grass just in front of the beach and went for a swim before ordering lunch. The friendly German couple who run the guesthouse/restaurant looked after my phone and keys while I swam. This is the view from my table.

sunset-lounge-beach-ochheuteal-beach

Notice the white sand beach. They don’t just keep the beach immaculately clean: they rake it, so I felt like I was looking at a Zen sand garden and almost felt guilty for walking across the sand.

It had been about a year since I last came here and Sunset Lounge has only improved. They closed it last rainy season to landscape the grounds and add two bungalows. When I asked them how business was, they told me they were full, but were going to close on May 13 to build more bungalows, so if you want to stay there (highly recommended!), you’ll have to wait till October.

After a delightful lunch, I went for another swim and headed home for a shower before my weekly writing group meeting. Speaking of writing, I’ve finished the first draft of my book and am now doing the hard part — editing. It’s gone through a couple of name changes. The first title was This Could be Heaven. Then I changed it to Serendipity Road. I like that title, but that’s just one reason why the group has been so valuable. Someone pointed out that it sounded like a romance novel and it dawned on me that you’d have to read the book to understand why I chose that title. The title’s on hold now, but something will come to me.

I left early and wasn’t able to enjoy the sunset at Sunset Lounge. I caught the sunset at the park near the port the other evening, though. Imagine this without the port blocking your view and you get an idea of how mellow watching the sunset from Sunset Lounge would be.

sunset-in-sihanoukville-cambodiaOne thing I can say for tourist traps is that they herd all the people I don’t want to be around into one small area. While the other end of Ochheuteal Beach is populated by “inert tourists, without exception clad in knockoff Ray-Bans and propping up their foreheads with their hands, lest they all pass out in unison and knock out their two front teeth on the table”, the mellow side of Ochheuteal Beach is sparsely populated by tourists thoroughly enjoying the best of what Cambodia’s beaches have to offer.