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Written on: Saturday December 22nd, 2007

A journal entry from: Around The World Without A Plane

Our hearts set on staying on the beach over Christmas and New Years, we bit the bullet and decided to fork out the astronomical price of $15 dollars a night to stay in a peaceful little guesthouse on Serendipity Beach, with a family from Nottingham, who had just recently purchased the place. For the next 14 days we pretty much stuck to a taxing and labourous routine of getting up around noon, lying on the beach and then putting our livers to some serious tests in the evening. Life was idyllic. So much so in fact I almost decided to stay in Sihanoukville and get a job in one of the plentiful and peaceful bars.

Christmas Day was certainly one of the highlights. We partied long in to the night on Christmas Eve, seeing Christmas Day in dancing around a Christmas tree outside Sessions bar, with the bar staff dressed as Santa. Then continued on to the busiest and craziest place in town, Nap House, which was thankfully just 3 doors down from our place, as otherwise I don't think we'd have made it back. We awoke after just a few hours sleep, started the day with a sumptious Full English breakfast, complete with a top-up can of Angkor Beer, as there's no way either of us would have made it through the day.

Spending our day on the beach and getting in to the festive spirit wih our Santa hats, we had most of the kids who were trying to sell fruit and crisps on the beach join us, and treated them all to their own crisps, fruit and drinks. In my infinite wisdom I even decided to give it the selling a go mysef, balancing the basket of crisps on my head and making my way down the beach, trying to make just one sale. I failed miserably, so brought all the crisps myself. Heading back to Tranquility Guesthouse we readied ourselves for a 4 course full-on turkey Christmas dinner, by getting the presents Dave and I had got for each other and placing them under the tree I'd picked up at the market the day before. We were joined by a group of Irish guys who thought it great we'd gone to so much trouble. I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss the traditional Christmas Day at home with the family and the kids, especially as it's the first one I've ever missed, but Dave and I certainly had one to remember.

Between Christmas and New Years we decided we needed some real R and R and so took a trip out to Koh Ta Kiev, a relatively deserted desert island with golden sand and clear azoric seas. With it's romantic isolation it was the perfect place to take a girlfirend or wife, I had Dave to share an adjacent hammock with instead. Staying on the island with us were an American and Australian couple, Kat and James, a Polish couple now living in Chicago, Damien and Kassia and a French girl who was working over at Nap House back in Sihanoukville named Melanie, along with a British guy, Jonty who had set up the area we were staying in and his Czech assistant Jan.

It was over dinner that night that I was telling everyone about my afternoon stroll along the beach, while Dave laid and sun-worshipped. I was telling them all how I'd walked along the beach, past a small group of guys who'd rocked up for the day, and then continued around broken down branches, skipping from sandy cove to sandy cove, with my faithful companion, a black alsation who most have liked my musty odour. As I rounded one corner though I was shocked to see a completely naked guy lying on his back receiving what seemed to be some very enjoyable oral relief from an equally completely naked lady. They spotted me quickly thankly though and sprang up to leg it in to the sea. As I wandered by with my canine friend they even had the audacity to wave and shout out to me. Within 10 minutes I'd reached as far as I could possibly go and so apprehensively had to turn back along the beach. Reaching the same cove, the lustful couple had wasted no time getting back down to business and this time were going hammer and tong at it. Once more though to my relief they showed Spider Sense awareness, flew up and bombed it once more in to the sea. I wasn't going to wave back again, so I kept my head firmly down, my stare routed to the sand beneath me.

It was at this point of my story, immediately to my left at the dinner table, Damien the dreadlocked, tall, seemingly constantly stoned, Polish guy piped up, "Yeah, that was us." As calm as you like, while I turned the brightest shade of red and everybody else at the table fell in to fits of laughter.

It was on this island that we ventured to for our New Years Eve celebrations also. 4 of the main bars in Sihanoukville clubbed together and decided to host a party on the island, and as not much else was planned in the town we got ourselves a ticket and headed over to the island for an amazing night of drum and bass, fire dancing, reggee and all out partying that eventually came to an end when we arrived back on Serendipity Beach at noon on New Years Day. We then proceeded to sleep well in to January 2nd.

The only downside to our stay in Sihanoukville was I continued to lose several of my possessions, including my watch which I foolishly and once again imbicilically left on the beach, to complement my one and half pairs of flip-flops that are lurking in Sihanoukville somewhere. One and a half pairs I hear you ask, well it just so happens as usual there's quite a funny story to that.

My original pair, a gift from the staff at Echelford,  I just simply couldn't find after taking them off on the beach one night. The other pair, although nowhere near as comfortable as my Quicksilver, cushioned soled delights, were doing the job. Until that was one night as I was strolling back, just the three doors down from Nap House to my bed at Traquility, I somehow or other missed a bloody massive drop off the side of the platform I was supposedly walking across. Actually I didn't miss it, my left foot went right through it. I spun in mid-air, landed on the concrete below, hip first, then lay on my back just as a wave came up and soaked me. I lay there for the next two or three minutes considering whether or not the pain would subside to enable me to get up, and also where the hell my right flip-flop went after it catapulted off my foot as I fell. Realising that I probably wouldn't be found for at least another few hours I limped up and for the next 30 minutes searched incessently in the sea for my lost flip-flop; but alas to no avail. Bizarrely after this I thought almost as a sacrifical offering I should climb up on to the wall alongside where I'd fallen and leave my left flip-flop on the roof overhang. The following morning, and every subsequent morning for that matter, on seeing my right flip peacefully residing on the corner of the roof it always brought a grin to mine and Dave's face. I may be slightly lighter in possessions but I'm that much closer to Nirvana!