Thursday, 17 May 2012

On Easy Street Sihanoukville May 5th 2012

Easy Street....

So, here I am once again on easy street in Sihanoukville - watching the world pass by, swim by in this case as I sit on Independence beach. The folks here are pleased to see me, remembering the last time I was here. But that's enough sitting around, time for a quick beach walk before those rain clouds roll in. To the right is Independence Hotel and their private beach so it'll have to be in the opposite direction. The tide is high, almost to the sea wall but still there is enough sand to walk. Plenty of garbage, seems more than ever once beyond the collection of cafe shacks. Washed up I would think as the monsoon season approaches bringing rough seas and high tides. Corals, shells and all the garbage imaginable litters the shoreline, but despite this there is still that feeling of being on an exotic beach miles from civilisation - no tourists, just a couple of locals, looks like some hanky panky going on there!

An abandoned shack along with the crumbling sea wall is evidence this area of the beach has seen better days. Sihanoukville was a thriving resort town before 1970 when civil war erupted and by the looks of things it hasn't recovered since. Concrete steps to the beach have all but disappeared and pathways overgrown as the area behind has become a complete wasteland. A good environment for snakes, lizards and bugs so I guess it's there to be explored later.

The empty beach widens further along, and the hotel being built here last time looks completed now but their adopted stretch of beach has yet to be guarded - and cleaned up! One or two people milling about but there definitely isn't any mass tourism that these places tend to attract. And the rest of it is as before, as few ramshackle shacks towards the fisherman's area,  some makeshift dwellings here and there, the garbage but the waters are crystal clear.

Back towards the collection of cafe shacks and onto the road towards Victory Hill. Another building site has popped up. Looking at the diagram nailed to a tree, it's going to be a collection of villas along the towns reservoir. With other such developments laying empty, it's hard to see where all theses potential occupants are going to come from as Sihanoukville isn't the most accessible of places - 5 hours by bus from Phnom Penh, 10 hours from Bangkok or 7 hours from Saigon. No air links, no motorways and no railways, yet!

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