Nina’s Travel Rule #49: Never Do This Shit in Cambodia

Why are we lying in a sewer?  who can say...
Why are we lying in a sewer? who can say…

So, I just got back from the Cambo, and it was AMAZEBALLS.  Totally just brilliantly awesome.  However, that’s not what this here blog’s about, so we’ll save the nice(r) stories for a latter date, and herewith delve into, in ascending order of Not To Attempt:

Nina’s Top 10 List of Shit You Should Not Do in Cambodia

#10: Forget to Take the Malaria Pills

Soooo, I’ve been to the Phnom Penh and the Angkor Wat before, and neither has malaria, which is really as far as my pre-trip thinking went. Arrived in Sihanoukville and planning to bum along the coast for a couple three weeks, it really didn’t occur to me that this entire country is infested with mosquitos that carry, as of my current Googling efforts: malaria, dengue fever, and Japanese encephalitis, as well as a bunch of other shit the locals kept babbling about that I don’t know if I believe.  Like, can you really get skin-herpes playing in mud with kids?  Apparently so, if you’re in the Cambo.  And that’s not even discussing the water / sewage situation, re: which, Jesus Fuck Me, I just read and can totes confirm this:

It is estimated by UNICEF that rural sanitation coverage in Cambodia is only eight percent, making it the second lowest outside of Africa”  Who’s the first, fucking Haiti??

Typhoid, amoebic dysentery (yeah, Google that sometime if you’re bored, fun fun), bedbugs, staph infections, giardia, scabies, intestinal worms…  But we’ll get to all that later 🙂

Needless to say, the Nina neither consumed nor even purchased the malaria tablets, and then obviously decided to refuse to spend more than like, $3 a night on accommodation, which basically meant sleeping on floor mattresses covered in bugs, sand, cats, and other assorted mank (which is, btdubs, the best bloody word EVER), mostly with mosquito netting, often of the gapingly holey variety.  Here’s to death by being a cheap-ass fuckwit!  In any case, I feel appalling, but I’m fairly sure it has nothing to do with malaria, so that’s one for me anywho.

Free stolen thongs!  Woo!
Free stolen thongs! Woo!

#9: Literally Lose Your Shit

I seriously have no idea why I take fucking anything with when I travel.  Like, I went for 18 days with 4 pairs of underwear, did laundry about 12 days ago, and apparently came home with 2 clean pairs.  Yeah yeah, I’m gross, see previous posts.  In future, I’ll wear a bikini and dress every day anyway, I may as well just get in the shower in it, do a lil’ rinse-y dance and wear it all again tomorrow.  And never tote a backpack again!

My main point being, however, that I really shouldn’t bring the things ’cause I will invariably either:

a) throw them in the ocean drunk, or

b) lose them drunk in some other, generally unidentifiable fashion.

Loss Tally, 18 days in Cambodia, 2 persons:

  • 6.5 pairs thongs. Yes, this can happen.  I.e.- when you arrive home to discover that one flip flop is indeed yours, but the other, identical flip flop is indeed 2 sizes smaller.  This may have been inter-travel-buddy theft, confirmation awaits…
  • 2 room keys, by 2 different people, yet from the same hostel;
  • 1 passport / phone / wallet combo (later found, yes!  Also not mine, yes!);
  • 6 pairs sunnies: thrown in ocean on Day 1, lost in sewer (don’t ask), lost in sewer (same same, nowhere else to consume the whiskey, apparently), broken in half (no worries, I’d stolen these to begin with), 2 weren’t mine (winning!);
  • 1 pair earrings, stolen out of my ears, on 2 separate occasions, by Kiri the Monkey.  Soooooo not my fault;
  • 1 map (the monkey ate it); and
  • Alllllll our dignity.  Yes, all of it.
  • Acquired: 1 stolen Cambodian flag (Bad travelers.  Bad!), 4 pairs thongs (God bless lost n’ found), 1 pair sunnies (Stolen.  Whatever), 1 French publication on ancient Khmer water-irrigation system at Angkor Wat (Not stolen.  Just not… remembered to be returned).
yeah, this is what they'd drink BEFORE we rocked up...
yeah, this is what they’d drunk BEFORE we rocked up…

#8: Drink on a Stoop with Aussie Dirt-bikers

If, one day, you return from the KTV (karaoke box with bar girls?) to find your hotel entrance and driveway filled with a group of ~15 Aussies on a dirt-bike tour of Cambodia, you should definitely not drink with them.  Aussies being Aussies, and we all know how I heart them, they’d gotten their guides to acquire a massive amount of beer, we still had a bottle of $1 whiskey left, they bummed us some coke and…. that is how I had the extreme pleasure of viewing my dear friend (I love you, Langur!) jump into the pool at 3am in his undies, which were neither clean nor opaque.  Well chosen, sir. The next day was, how do the French say? rather full of Gueule de Bois (a.k.a. “an uncomfortable sensation that arrives after an excessive consumption of alcoholic drinks”).








the Mary Van.  Boo.
the Mary Van. Boo.

#7: Get Sold Down the River by Mr. Tree

Attempting to travel in rural Cambodia really isn’t that difficult, unless you’re utterly unwilling to spend money on White Man Transport, which clearly we were.  Utterly.  Instead, we chose to take a tuk-tuk with Mr. Tree, a lovely man, who we were told would totally “find us a bus on the main road to go wherever we wanted”.  While this is technically true, it’s also TOTAL FUCKING BULLSHIT.  So we tuk-tuk’d to the road (let’s not discuss pushing Mr. Tree’s tuk-tuk out of a giant hole in the pouring rain, whatevs), and Mr. Tree promptly flagged down the first van he saw, let the 20-yr-old dude driving it overcharge the ever-livin’ fuck out of us, and disappeared.  And then we entered the van…

Approximately 5 minutes later, the skies opened, and the van stopped.  Unlike the other passengers, we could not exit the van, as the van was only composed of about 1/2 the parts one would normally need to construct a van.  These did not include a door handle.  So we sat and sat, and tried to ignore the dank (those parts also did not include a functional window, and yes, we were sharing shotgun), while Mary (the driver.  He’d no English, my Khmer consists of hello, thank you, bye bye and #4 on this list, and hence was christened Mary) attempted to hitch a ride for the 7 people and 64 bags of rice in his van. This appeared a losing battle, so we instead battled our way out the Mary Van to the Coke hut and drank more $1-a-bottle whiskey (theme of my trip 😦 in the van.

But wait!  It only took about an hour, but Mary actually succeeded!  Clearly he then pocketed 80% of our “bus fare”, but at least he put us in a van that ran. So basically, 1 tuk-tuk, 1 broke-ass Mary Van, 1 slightly less-broke-ass van, 1 45-minute hitch on back a motorcycle, and ~$12.50, and we were there.  You know, where we shoulda been in 1 van and ~$5.  Fucking Mr. Tree, man, he totally sold us down the river.

#6: Get Drunk and Volunteer Yourself

True story.  I blame the Mad Monkey hostel for housing these English teachers who cruelly took advantage of my penchant for $1-a-bottle whiskey and somehow convinced me it was a good idea to volunteer to teach English to tiny urchin children somewhere in the Cambodian jungle for a couple days.  Goddammit and I just want to sit on the beach.  All bitching and whinging aside though, it was lovely and the Hope Agency is doing really great things out in Takeo Province (fyi- so far in the middle of nowhere most other Cambodians ain’t even heard of it…). So it was so unfuckingbearable hot we had to leave to drink beer in an air-con’d petrol station for an hour, so what!  I totally painted the entrance sign AND taught the adorable urchins the word children!

Kiri the Monkey.  Just a lil' ball of earring / map eatin' adorable :)
Kiri the Monkey. Just a lil’ ball of earring / map eatin’ adorable 🙂

#5: Spend the Night in a Monkey / Python Guesthouse

So, scootering up the mountain, hungover, was great.  Arriving at the Gibbon Valley Retreat was great.  Aussies Bryan and Nicki are great!  Deciding to spend the night, partly ’cause “who needs toothpaste or a contact case, not the Nina!” and partly ’cause “shit, it’s way too dark to scooter down the mountain…”, less great.  Sleeping in a treehouse next to a 10 foot python, while the scorpions and monkeys and assorted other jungle shit meander about 2 feet from your face, drunk on Nicki’s extra-strength G&T’s?  Urgh.

#4: Accidentally learn the Khmer for “Your Dick is Getting Bigger”

Point one, this totally wasn’t my fault.  Point two, this was totally kinda almost my fault…. So the Langur was apparently taught by somebody that “klow kloon” means “you make me horny” in Khmer, and promptly said it to every single human he saw in the country. With responses ranging from “huh?” to “eww!” through to “dirty dirty white man!  run away!”  On the other hand, it totally worked when I suggested the adorable 18-year old Brit say it to the bartender she was ogling… Yeah, yeah, I got the Brit laid, but in my defense she appeared extremely pleased with herself after 🙂

And then it occurred to me to ask my one Cambodian friend from home what this shit we’d been babbling actually meant…  With the response listed in the title.  Shit.  Now we understand why it works on dudes but not chicks!  And no, this did not stop us repeating it.  And yes, “djoi” means “fuck” in Khmer, in case y’all ever need a lil’ extra emphasis.

See?  She's adorable!
See? She’s adorable!

#3: Get a Hair Cut from a Lady Boy

I’m not really sure what the prob was here, like, she was really nice, gave good hair-cut, and only charged $2.  Apparently the Langur doesn’t like the Lady Boys touching his… head (although if you ask him about that time the Indian masseur told him to take his undies off, you’ll get a different impression) and just wouldn’t do it.  I was in favor of disappearing his horrid hair though, so I ponied up the 2 bucks, and it’s the best dang 2 bucks I’ve spent in a long while 🙂









#2: Accidentally Smoke Opium with a Lady of the Night

‘Nuff said, I’d say, except to add that that totally wasn’t me…

aaaaaand, last and toooooootally least

in which THIS
in which THIS
leads directly to THIS :(
leads directly to THIS 😦













#1: Do NOT go to the Happy Pizza Cinema

I don’t even know where to start with this shit.  Soooo, Sihanoukville is hot.  Like, not just warm, but balls-melting HOT. Fortunately (or not), there’s a ‘cinema’ in town: $4.50 for 2 hours, air-con out the ass, a blanket / pillow / generally opium-den-ish situation, 6-person private rooms, and yes, they totally deliver beer and ‘happy’ pizza.

So clearly we’re doing this.  And clearly we’re watching Apocalypse Now (Redux), ’cause When in Cambo, right?  And then…

We’re drunk.  We’re ‘happy’.  Omg who picked the extended version of this shit?  Omg so much blood!  Omg WHY Martin Sheen, WHY??  And Jesus fuck me, did the owner-man REALLY have to tell us about the guy who built this place and then whacked himself like 3 doors down after a marathon Pink Floyd the Wall binge???  Ugh.

End Story: I passed out for 14 hours (winning!), the Langur threw up all night (losing!) and then woke up with leg worms.  Yeah, that’s right, LEG WORMS.  On the plus side (for me), we got to watch them crawl up the inside of his leg for the next week, while on the minus side, I really do hope he’s taken enough de-worming tablets to Burma to stop them getting up too high…

PS- for once in my blogging life, I swear to everything holy that everything in this post is absolutely 100% true.  Vomit.

4 thoughts on “Nina’s Travel Rule #49: Never Do This Shit in Cambodia

  1. hahaha! Lovely trip 🙂 P.S. You should get an ENO hammock (really small and light weight, and will probably take up less room than one of those pairs of clothes you’ll be ditching next time). Ditch the mank, gain three bottles of whiskey!


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