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Brian Thom’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 05 Jun 2007

Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

MapI guess this post will have to be a bit more boring than the last one. It definitely is tough to improve upon firing rifles and exciting bus exits into throngs of taxi and motorbike drivers...

Last couple days have been pretty low key, which was nice actually. We slept in late (since when we get back and start working that's pretty much going out the window) and watched some tv. The tv here in Cambodia has been pretty good. In southeast asia there is a station called Star Movies which is all English, no subtitles, no commercials and just shows movie after movie. It's pretty solid.

Actually the last two nights we went out to a couple clubs. This was because the staff here at King Hotel seem determined night after night to arrange parties and nightly excursions. The staff are so friendly they even walk into your room without even really knocking. In order to keep them out you literally would have to lock the door, but since Andrew and I are in the room... and don't really care it isn't a big deal. We just make sure it's locked when we leave. I'm not kidding though when I say that I've been woken up by this same guy (he says his name is Diamond, so Andrew and I call him Dallas, named after former WWF wrestler Diamond Dallas Page) like 3 times as he just barges in and starts demanding answers to our dayplans and what we will do that evening. Can't say I've ever had a hotel do that. Dallas is an interesting guy. He promised us he'd get us a great deal on a flight to Laos about 3 days ago. It eventually ended up that we would pay more than we said we wanted to and stay longer, but that's okay... you could have almost predicted that anyway.

So anyways we went to a place called Spark which was a gigantic nightclub. It was much larger than anything in Calgary for sure, and it is essentially a big amphitheater with a rock band playing at the front. Directly in front of the band is a dance floor, some tables and then the bars. It was jam packed and the live band would play some English songs to which all the Cambodians would dance to (and I'm not totally convinced they understand them). We also went to a bar called Heart of Darkness, which was reportedly the "tourist" bar, complete with your typical old European men attached to their Cambodian... let's call them... "girlfriends". We've gotten used to that scene so it wasn't a big deal although it is pretty disgusting. I've never had to turn down so many girls in my life. In the middle of the night the security guards blocked off a mini stage and a Cambodian woman got up and started dancing to ''I Will Survive". She was a pretty damn good dancer and when she put a straw behind her ear and curled it to her mouth to improvise a microphone she truly looked like a superstar! Well, kind of.

One last thing. The King Hotel is run by, you guessed it, a family. The granddaddy, or the old man with glasses and a big pot belly, seems to be in charge. His sons, wives, nephews and nieces all operate the hotel for him and he wanders around grumbling Cambodian. At around 9 o clock he'll take off his shirt and watch tv here in the lobby. He will rub his belly and drink beer. Every now and then he'll walk to our table and begin "cheersing" (I know that's not a word) us after every sip. Seriously. We have nicknamed this man King because that's essentially what he is around here.Bizarre. Andrew and I think this guy is hilarious. He is large and in charge. Anyways, that little story was probably unnecessary and boring.

In two days we will fly to Vientienne. Fly, because the bus would take 2 or 3 days apparently. We weren't fond of that. Will post when maybe we get our asses in gear and do something interesting. We heard we have the opportunity to drive an F-1 car for $1/minute, but of course we are curious to get a better grasp on the safety standards of that little operation.