Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Fire, Fire Sihanoukville May 12th 2012

Not good, as strong winds fan the flames..
Fire, Water and Snake at lunch...

Just over 2 weeks since setting foot back in Sihanoukville, and during those 2 weeks I've seen the place burn down, been trapped by monsoon storms and had a snake drop in for lunch. Ok, so I've exaggerated a little - the place didn't really burn down, just one of the shacks on Independence  Beach. Yes, it was high drama for a while though as a column of smoke quickly turned into a raging inferno. Constructed of bamboo and thatch, and with strong winds to contend with, the race was on to stop this spreading to the adjoining shacks. An aged fire engines rolls up about 15 minutes later, but it's all to late to save this shack. Thankfully the fire didn't spread, no injuries and the actual business end, the cooking station etc, wasn't effected. Another, more modern fire engine turns up, but all that's left by this time are smouldering timbers and charred beams. According to the shack owners next door, a BBQ charcoal was to blame. A beach hawker with their BBQs on a pole decided to park rather too close to the shack, probably trying to shelter from the strong winds.

Approaching the monsoon season since there have been frequent showers, downpours and thunderstorms. Most of the prolonged rain seems to be during the night, and showers by day which actually is ideal because the heat is temperedsomewhat and the place cools down significantly. It's humid, but not oppressively hot, even when the sun shines their isn't that fierce heat found in India, or southern Europe during summer, for example. More cloud than sun though - I like it that way since again the heat less, and if there is a breeze, the humidity is less noticeable too. Overall, January was the hotter month having more direct sunlight, while humidity levels remain more or less the same. One day last week, it did rain the entire day, with a torrential morning downpour trapping people inside cafes for about an hour before giving way to a steady drizzle. Thunder, lightening and a hurricane force wind all in the mix making things look a bit dodgy for a time.

Lunch, but who or what is the target?
Have to look out for snakes around here, especially the ones they call banded Kraites, lethal and a 10 hour ride to hospital in Bangkok won't do any good. Snakes in trees are to be found here (Independence Beach) and I've had one drop in for lunch. Since then, I have found out it was a Pit Viper - shudder to think of the consequences the snake might have suffered should the critter have taken a chunk of my lunch! Another snake, spotted on the sands further up and again underneath the trees that line the promenade. And remember that great big green one from January, well, it's turned up again, and in the same place.

So, life continues on the beach mainly and with around 10 days left in Cambodia the emphasis is going to be on looking for more snakes - just kidding, actually it's going to be spent maximising time for rest and relaxation.


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