There were no direct flights from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville, so Marie and I spent almost all of Friday on a bus – about six hours to get back to Phnom Penh and then six more to the coast. At no point in Cambodia have I ever been on a real “Express” bus. Every bus I’ve been on, whenever it’s not full, becomes a local bus, picking up anyone who happens to be going the same direction. Great for making a little extra money, not so great for making good time. So sometimes a bus ride that should take nine hours ends up taking twelve.
Sihanoukville has arguably the nicest beaches in Cambodia, and we stayed at what might be the nicest hotel in the country. Beautiful rooms, a swim-up bar at the pool, and a private stretch of beach in a prime location. The entire facility was surrounded by a ten-foot high security fence. I referred to our hotel as “The Compound.”
The next morning we headed straight for the water where we lay around doing nothing, first at the pool and then at the beach. I made it about 30 minutes before I got restless and needed to entertain myself by taking Hipstamatic photos with the iPhone. At first we had great weather – sunshine and white, puffy clouds.
In the early afternoon a storm moved in. We sat under a thatch hut and watched the lightning over the ocean.
The storm eventually cleared and we had a beautiful, intensely colorful sunset.
The next morning we hit the beach once more before catching the bus back to Phnom Penh.
In Phnom Penh we ate an early dinner and then headed to the airport so Marie could catch her flight back home.
Marie’s visit flew by and I couldn’t believe it was already time to say goodbye. If you know Marie, please congratulate her – putting up with me for a full week is a real accomplishment, and somehow she also managed to shoot a coconut with an AK-47, visit the Phnom Penh slums, infiltrate roving bands of monkeys, wake up before dawn three mornings in a row, ride an elephant, perfect the TPC technique for descending ancient temple stairs, and expand her knowledge of key people in the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government. Not a bad trip!