Poolside Recovery

Drisdelle and I wake up late after the T34, Subzero shots and Hooker Pizza. MacKay was still crashed out. We were in rough shape, lethargic, couldn’t formulate a coherent thought. Grabbed a shower, hit up some breakfast at the hostel and began the recovery process.

I took out the compy to catch up on the blog but simply didn’t feel smart enough to contribute anything worth while. Took a dip in the pool and just floated on my back staring at the clouds in the sky for a while.

Like Onederz in Siem Reap, Onestop is a good hostel. Modern and clean, convenient with helpful staff. The pool really hit the spot on a day like today.

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Skeletor from our bus ride here comes in and sits across from me. I like this guy, he’s got character. I strike up some conversation with him. Turns out the hostel messed up his bus time and he got stuck here over night, “It doesn’t matter that much really, I’m retired.”

He tells me that he’s travelling into Vietnam to Saigon. He’s slightly disabled, he’s got a cane and has a bit of trouble getting around. His English is impeccable and we converse quite easily. He’s going to a retirement home where you can rent out a studio apartment, hang out with other people the same age, and the facility takes care of everything like meals and laundry. “It’s only about 200 a month US. It’s a good deal, I just like to be around people, you know. Have someone to talk to.”

Our conversation dips into some politics with the recent Trump election win. I won’t get into the chat details too much since the topic is over-saturated in all media, I don’t think we need to talk about that shit here too. But I will say that he had a good perspective on things and was eloquent and thoughtful in his analysis. When his ride came to take him to the bus I actually wished we could have talked longer, I was enjoying the old man’s company. But he had to leave so he simply thanked me for a good conversation and wished me well on my travels. I wished him the same.

I met a girl from Zurich by the pool. She had quit her job and was travelling indefinitely for a while, going in the opposite direction as us, probably down to Malaysia soon. I told her we had a half-dead friend who had been there and could maybe give her some tips if he ever rises from the room.

A couple hours go by and still the beast hadn’t awoken so I nabbed a beer in the hopes that it would offer some hair of the dog kind of blessings. There was a mild improvement. Drisdelle joined me by the pool and we decided on some screwdrivers. Maybe some vitamin C would help. After a few of these we were still the dumbest people on the planet but we didn’t feel quite so bad.

We met a British girl who’s from a small town on the southern coast of England (can’t remember the name). She was going to quit her job to travel but her boss offered her a three month sabbatical. She was just starting her trip and had come from Phnom Penh. She told us the islands off the coast here are really nice, she went yesterday and was just waiting for some friends to get back before taking off towards Siem Reap. We told her about Siem Reap and Angkor Wat, she was pretty excited.

We’d loosely planned to get to the island Koh Rong today and check it out but as the beast continued his slumber this was getting less and less likely. Maybe for the best, after some rather epic nights out, a lot of long bus rides and recovering from being sick, a total recovery day may be just what we needed.

I asked if anyone minded if I put some music on. It was oppressingly quiet around the pool with people sitting in their seats shooting sidelong glasses at each other. “Yes, please” said the Brit. “Hope you like death metal”, she chuckled in that way people do when they’re not sure it’s a joke. I put on some ambient poolside tunes and got another screwdriver.

There were also some British dudes in the pool being boys boys, making fun of each other and egging on their buddy to bring them sandwiches. Good fellas. With all of the people just hanging at the hostel pool it started to feel less like we were blowing the day away on a hangover and more like we’re just chilling like the rest of these travelers. A few more screwdrivers and our spirits were turning around again. “I think this may be the longest I’ve ever just sat by a pool in my life.”

Finally the beast rises around dinner time. The three of us walk back down to the beach and stroll along the boardwalk looking for a suitable place to post up. After getting heckled by every single restaurant on the strip we get just passed the main drag and plop down in some papasan chairs by the water.

A girl brings us some drinks and we order up dinner. I go for some traditional Cambodian fare: Coca-cola ribs. While we waited for the food to come out every vendor on the beach came through. “Massage?”, “No thanks”, “Fireworks?”, “No thanks”, “Lanterns?”, “No thanks”, “Smokes?”, “No thanks”, “Weed?”, “No thanks”.

Our food comes out and there are some cute little Cambodian kids at our table all of the sudden. This dingy little dude makes a grab for one of my ribs, “Hey! No way!”. He keeps pointing at my ribs saying that he wants them. No way pal, I don’t care how cute you and your sister are. He makes another grab for them and I’m swatting away his hand, “Hey! Hey!”. He’s eyeing up MacKays food now. These kids won’t leave us alone. Our patience is wearing pretty thin, we can’t seem to get rid of them. Then our server spots them and comes running over to scare them off and the two go running barefoot down the beach giggling.

A guy rides by on a scooter with a speaker strapped on the back. He’s singing karaoke to something in the most dreadful voice. Is this a joke? It certainly was entertaining. He cruised by really slow singing some power ballad in Khmer that I didn’t recognize. He stopped to play with some kids, all the while talking to them over the PA. He was like some scooter game show host, we could hear him all the way down the boardwalk as he scooted out of range. It sounded hilarious, we were cracking up in our chairs.

While we were finishing up dinner (the ribs were actually fantastic), a small posse of kids rips by on the boardwalk carrying bracelets. “Hey, Mr Canada!”, haha it’s the kids we bought bracelets off yesterday. Smart little duffers, those kids.

Well we’d accomplished dinner and that was about all we had in us for the day. We went back to the hostel and just chilled out for a while, biding our time until a respectable sleeping hour. Everyone was zonked. We hit the hay pretty early, have to get up early and catch a bus back to Phnom Penh in time to jump a speed boat and Miami Vice it into Vietnam. Hopefully we’ll be jumping the border through a hail of gunfire and explosions

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