Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Sihanoukville Day 7 18th January 2012

Monkeys and independence beach

After yesterday's major expedition to serendipity,  I need to do something requiring less effort. If the map is to be believed it should only be a shortish walk to independence beach, maybe half an hour or thereabouts.

The road winds down towards the smart complex that is mostly empty and fronts Hawaii beach. Locals tell me this project  was started 3 years ago with Russian money, dubious deals are the norm around here, that's all they will tell me.  on the left, some quite dense jungle whilst opposite further evidence of abandoned compounds or enclosures. It's just empty land, overgrown and occasionally a sign scribbled with the words "for sale".  A rustling noise and some kind of lizard appears and pauses, long enough for a photo.

This is a quiet road, a back road that loops towards downtown according to the map. Further on, past a ramshackle stall selling fuel in old whiskey bottles, poised on a rock is a monkey. Looking around for a moment there are several monkeys here, time for some camera action. Further on and another group of monkeys, a larger group, with an obvious pecking order when it comes to collecting the food passing tourists throw at them.  Some are screeching, hissing whilst others are lazily watching the goings on around them. Good photographic moments here, especially for the enthusiast with some serious kit!

Independence beach, named after the hotel independence built in the 60's, abandoned and now restored. Cheapest room here is $120! This is the most developed beach working round the coast from Victory to ochheutaal, with a small collection of cafes fronting the beach. White sand stretches for someway, before a rocky outcrop prevents any further exploration. Of note, there is very little garbage. A small amount towards the rocks, but close to the cafe terrace's just the odd package or carton. Looks like an ok place to eat. The prices are as I expected quite steep, similar to British seaside cafes, the difference being the food here is fresh, not processed or from a packet and microwaved.  A lazy couple of hours here before heading back to base, oh and I should mention this is the first place I've eaten and not have had to share with flies. That's right, no flies at all.

Same route back to base, stopping for half an hour to watch the monkeys. More of them now, getting upto all sorts of antics. They are good natured, until the local dog has something to say, then a bit of screeching, hissing and a yelp. Quite a gathering as locals and tourists all stop to watch, throwing peanuts, bananas and even a can of pop. Sunset is just after 6, but is obscured by the island, the one the Russians have bought, but still quite a decent photo. 

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