Sihanoukville has been exposed! No other place has seen such an astronomical increase in everything undesirable, and I aim to expose as much as has been exposed to me. Exposed as naive were my claims that Sihanoukville would enjoy controlled and responsible development. Exposed were the cracks in a small community's ability to handle a gold rush of tourism. And exposed was the genitalia of all Westerners, in highly detailed clarity, from the universality of criminally revealing swim wear.
Budgie smugglers everywhere! The dreaded lolly bags. The accursed speedo. Not made of enough material to erect a tent, should such a situation arise, the salute would be more like an umbrella, God forbid. Was this the universes way of rewarding me for losing my mirrored sunglasses? No perving for you sinner!
Overlooking my strong desire to gouge my own eyes out, what did Sihanoukville offer other than the most obscene demonstration of wrinkles, flab and out right indecency a beach has ever been (not) want to entertain? 5 minutes on the beach made me feel more happy with my appearance and health than years of self help books ever could. At the same time though, it alarmed me that a sense of decency seems to deteriorate proportionate to age. Come on, these people should realise that certain things just shouldn't be seen in public. Doctors get paid a lot, to look at such things, and I'm certainly not prepared to do it, especially for free.
Some racy little numbers, in various heights of cut and transparency or insufficiency of cloth, must have been purchased as a stores skimpiest outfit; then cut in half and made into two pairs. Many afforded me a vivid recounting of their owners sexual history from the amount of detail thus exposed. Who wants that on their holiday? Or at anytime at all really?
True to form, the weather for the first 2 days was utterly crap. Wind and rain conspired with everyones undaunted desire to disrobe, demonstrate and disturb to keep us confined to our room. Only cheap whiskey alleviated the boredom of having to spend my 11,632nd day on Earth indoors. I could have been using the time constructively to give more serious consideration to what I was to do on my return to Melbourne. But I decided, by accidentally finding myself at the point of being drunk, that denial had worked so far, and why fix what ain't broke?
The water was warmer here than anywhere else, even the tropical climate Steph found when she tried to ride in my tube in Vang Vieng. Taking the middle road between conservative Cambodians swimming fully clothed and culturally ignorant Westerners doing the same adorned with string, I chose to dip in a pair of board shorts. My one concession to setting the airplane free from the hangar, was a big rip in the crack of my shorts that offered exciting potential for an accidental guest appearance. Unfortunately the water contained a lot of jelly fish, whose edible name and appearance was offset by the skin crawling hee-bee-jeebies of their touch. So my swim didn't last long enough to liberate the loins.
The once-cute kids selling bracelets had obviously become cynical from continual rejection and an increase in quantity of tourists always meaning an inverse drop in the quality. Cruisy and creative backpackers replaced by the older, 'adventure tourist', enjoying the safety of organised tours and the satisfaction of doing exactly the same as the 1 million customers that brought the same package before them. The kids were just plain annoying and become even less endearing when you refused to play a game that always results in losing money. A trick that usually works on people who don't spend more than 3 weeks in Asia.
Pyjamas and high heels were still the fashion of the moment for beach hawkers of all ages, and the haze of the days made the place feel like a big slumber party. "No matter how dashing your P.J.'s are, I don't want to have to say no to each one of the 27 services you offer. Like I did with the person before you, and like I'll have to do with the person after you. Fruit? No. Drink? No. Massage? No. Manicure? No. Leg hair plucked with some twine? No. Er...Smoke, sir? No. Jiggy-jig? No. You like little boy? No, what the fuck? Er... goodbye sir, have a good day!"
So pyjama town must be the place old perverts go to die. It's the Varanasi of the Italian stallion universe. Dying there frees you from the cycle of occasional speedo-less days as a human and carries you straight to the golden shores of the heavenly realm of White Testicle Exposure. There, under the sovereignty of King David Hasselhoff, you are free to air any imperfection, safe from the judging eyes of those unlucky enough to be blind to the beauty of an old, wrinkly, saggy ball sack.
Now brace yourself. There's no avoiding this, and I'm not talking about my chopper, but the word must be said; work. After a week in this carnival of crude, carefree and barely clothed old cronies, my will to live was sufficiently eroded to permit me to think about work. I would have loved something in the field of swimsuit design, as I had a strong motivation to save a lot of beings from unnecessary suffering. Who would have thought I would have returned to Melbourne and worked in the highly stimulating field of data entry?
So, after narrowly avoiding being hit in the head by the shoe I threw 3 weeks ago in Vientiane, the room in the Same Same (but same) Guest House was ordained as my sanctuary from sunburn, cynical sales-kids, stupid jokes, stallions and scrotums.