SNOOKY AND ARRIVAL IN TRAT

        
      The overnight bus from Seam Reap to Snooky Sihanoukville    was another VIP bus for
midgets with nice armrests. I’m glad I took David’s advice and picked up 10 sleeping pills for
a dollar. The bus stopped for a brief snack break.
     I woke up a few times in the night. Once when the man in front of me that had his seat in
my groin got off at a stop about Midnight.  I quickly reached over and put his seat up and
entertained the thought of taking it.  It really was the same as mine.  I was relieved and could
return to my slumber when the bus started taking on more passengers.  One in particular
that sat right in front of me and put the seat further back then the previous occupant.  That
is when the second sleeping pill kicked in and I had a weird dream that the person that sat in
front was Trevor, my old Australian friend from the Dub.  He kept wanting to “chat me up”
and I wanted to sleep.
     Now we are in Snooky but it is still dark at 6am.  I am half awake and still in a slumber
when I mount a Motor bike and start getting bounced over this dirt/rocky road with pot
holes.  It turned out to be a short distance but unfortunately the desk doesn’t open before
9 pm.  No wonder I didn’t get a response to my early check in inquiry.  
    As it turned out I did get a response but hadn’t accessed the computer. It said : “You can’t
check in early because we are full and checkout isn’t until 1 am.   Well I drank a lot of coffee
and at 9 I was sitting at the Ocean Walk Inn waiting for an early checkout.  Three hours later,
I got my room.  Nice place and after a shower I went out in search of David and his Guest
House.  It was three buildings down and he was coming up the road to meet me after getting
my Newsletter.  He had just shaved off his beard at a Cambodian Salon by a women with a
straight razor.  He went from Irish Ex_Pat , World Traveler, Adventurer….to Alter Boy.
   The Catholic topic came up about how the Bishops controlled and still do to an extent, the
politics of Ireland.  I suggested that instead of sending the last boy off to a seminary,like
before, that the parents are now sacrificing them to teach English (Irish English) in far away
countries.  The parents collect postcards and put up photos of their prodigal son in exotic
locations….especially if he visits the Vatican.  
David and I walked the beach today and had lunch but it  gets hot in the day.  The mornings
and evenings are nice.
We agreed to meet for Happy Hour in my lobby at 5 pm .  I overslept a little and arrived at
5:10 pm.  I ordered a wine and at 5:30 I took a Motor Bike to Victory Beach to see the sunset.
 On the way, the driver kept asking if I wanted to visit Blue Mountain or Chicken Ranch.  He
said they were on the way so went with his recommendation with the stipulation that I was
not to miss the Sunset. We had to stop at an ATM machine then arrived at Blue Mountain
where three ladies tried to drag me off the bike into this private room.  I took off  pleading  to
see the sunset.  The sunset was kaput.  I was not happy as it was the first evening I’ve seen
that looked like it was going to be great.  I ended up at the Happy Haze.  I asked if I could
light up…no problem.  I smoked the joint I rolled and had a beer,  then a rum and coke.  The
music was all reggie and the place was classy.  I looked across the street and saw “Bada Bing”
with”Chez Fred”  next door.  This whole neighborhood and maybe all of Snooky are smokers,
tolerant smokers, or just don’t care.  It is a whole community in the same spirit, smiling,
friendly,relaxed, laid back, etc.  If you go to Amsterdam, there are small areas or specific
coffee houses or bars to go, but here it seems to be a country on to itself. A whole microcosm 
of accepting, compassionate, lively, open, intelligent giving people that enjoy an occasional
toke. 
I could have stayed but after serious consideration. I saw  my driver waited so I returned to
the Ocean Walk Inn. I also had a wallet full of money that was given to me by my ATM
partner.    I returned to the hotel for  something to eat and update my journal.  A cell phone
rings and this man from America is talking to a lady in Mexico , who is on her way to London
and wanted his advice on what to do in London and where to stay.  I’m on the beach in
Cambodia!  Tomorrow I’m headed to the beach for some sun.
   When I was waiting to get into my room, the business next door is a Non Profit Gallery to
sell and promote children’s paintings.  The age group seemed to be from 6 to 15 .  They were
having a party for the children, about 35 screaming little ones.  It was great to see young
children having so much fun and laughing.  It is Saturday so they are off from school.  Some
of the paintings were surprisingly good.
I sat on the veranda and played poker but quit this time when I took 7th out of 180 and walked
with $70.  It was fun.
David showed up this morning on a Motor Bike he rented for $5.  He is off to explore the
different beaches. I’m off to one remote beach at the end of the road for some sun.  I stepped
out on the balcony as I was leaving my room to survey the neighborhood.  There was a cool
breeze a chair and lots of sun.  I decided this was better then going all the way to the end of
the beach to get some sun and be away from the peddlers.  A half hour later, I was pink and
hot.  Nice shower and nap then I was off to Victory Hill and the sunset.
   David wanted to go but was not feeling so good.  He had a good day with his Motor Bike but
was loosing his voice since this morning and now had a headache.  He joined me for a water
and sunset overlooking the bay. We mentioned that when I am down at the beach , the
waiters or peddlers would ask “Where is your Son?” When he was down there, they would
ask “Where is your Dad”. 
 David left and I visited Happy Daze and had a beer.  I ate chicken Lak Lok  across the street
in returned for a Red Bull and Vodka.  I left any smoke I had, in the room so asked if I could
buy some there.  No problem and 5 minutes later the bartender returned with a perfectly rolled
“J”.  Then it occurred to me there might be tobacco mixed with it.  I inquired and yes there
was but no problem, the bartender took it back and returned with another with no tobacco and
wrote it on my bill.  $1 “J” Red Bull and Vodka $2.  The problem was, I don’t remember a lot
after that.  I remember coming home on the back of a Motor Bike and being escorted to my
room.but I couldn’t put a face on the person or a gender.  I remember Randy’s,  from Hoi An,
warning: Some of what you get in Cambodia is crap and some is potent! I threw out what I
had left.  I will be good.  I will be good. I will be good. 
I felt great when I got up this morning but my “loose” money was gone.  I could have given it
away as tips, dinner, the driver, etc.  I think I left with $40 …lesson learned?
     I got my bus ticket to Trat, Thailand .  It is 5 1/2 hour bus from here and another 5 1/2 to
Pattaya.  It is shorter and less expensive than returning to Phnom Penh and flying to Bangkok
then a taxi to Pattaya or stay in Bangkok for a while.  I can ask my dentist when I arrive if he
can get me in early then look into early flights.  I might be able to cut 7-10 days off the trip if it
isn’t too expensive.  Now I’m going to Starfish for breakfast .
     I hired a Motor Bike ride to Otres Beach .  I bickered from $4 to $1.50 but 10 miles later I
was feeling guilty as the driver was going up and down mountains of rough road to reach our
destination.  I paid him $3 and he offered to return in one and a half hours.  I thought that
would give me time.  I stopped at the recommended Cantina and tried the Mango Seviche.
and a Margarita.  The beaches were pristine white fine sand and crystal water.  I was going to
swim in my shorts but didn’t plan it right…camera, wallet, etc.  I sat a read while watching the
waves.  Hardly a peddler on the beach and if there were, it was for a massage or exotic fruit.  I
wish I had gone there before instead of my last day in Snooky.  I asked the waitress the time
and she showed me it was 20 minutes past the time I was to meet my driver. 
     I paid and ran out to the lot but he wasn’t there.  I thought he may have come earlier and
when he didn’t see me, thought I had left with another driver.  Another driver approached
and not wanting to get stuck miles from home I took the ride.  Half way there along a bridge,
comes my driver.  We stop and I explain to my driver , pay him then get on with the other and
pay again.  I had to get my laundry and pack .  The hotel was supposed to move me to another
room my last night but when I arrived he said all he had was non A/C.  I insisted I had booked
ahead and two days ago asked to stay and you said you would bump me up but had to move
me.  Not bump me down.  He said it was my fault for booking a bus the day before my
departure.  I explained I got my dates mixed and if he knew that, why didn’t he question me.
s too late as everyone was piling in for the Chinese New Year’s celebration and there was no
place in SE Asia to sleep.  He arranged to move me to David’s place next door owned by a
Dutchman from Indonesia. 
     I took it and did have hot water in addition to AC.  I was getting sick of cold showers
anyway.  I got to meet the owner.  He had worked Corporate London Financial District for
25 years and seldom got more than a week at a time vacation so would travel different places. 
When he arrived here, he fell in love and quit to purchase this Guesthouse and loves it.  He
returns to Amsterdam once a year for a month.  David and I were having a beer on my last
night while a mouse came off the thatched roof of the bar, landed on my shoulder and started
walking around.  I could see it out of the corner of my eye but thought it a Tarantula and
didn’t want to alarm it into stinging me so I appeared very cool with everyone watching.  Then
the mouse jumped on the bar and everyone freaked and jumped away as he scurried into a
hole behind the bar.
    I decided to book the weekend in Trat Thailand by the water rather than do over 10 hours
on the bus.  I could relax, finish my book and take a breather before going to Pattaya “The
Extreme City”.  That nixed the idea of leaving Thailand a week early but I wanted my dentist
to do some new work on a tooth that was giving me problems.
     I retired early to get my 7am bus.  I rose in the night to relieve myself and was looking down
at a good sized yellow frog in my toilet.  I flushed the toilet but he jumped out quick enough. 
I think he was waiting for mosquito’s that like water.  I should have pissed in the sink.     
    That morning I asked about the ticket and where to pick up the bus.  The lady told me to go
to the top of the hill.  I passed my old place where I bought the ticket so inquired again.  This
one said to stay there and they would pick me up.  I ordered breakfast and just as I thought I
would be having my first cup of coffee , the waitress runs out to tell me that my bus company
doesn’t pick up and that I have to hurry to the hill before they leave. 
     Well now I’m in a sweat and arrive to find three different pick up areas all with one or two
buses.  Finally they put me on one and they drive to the bus station and tell us to get off and
get on our destination bus.  I went to a card table with a girl with two seating charts.  I gave
her my ticket and she said “other bus”  not this one.  What other bus?  It will come.  Then
someone else that I knew was headed for Trat, my destination went over and she told him to
get on the bus.  I returned and she told me to get on the same bus she told me not to get on. 

    My assigned seat on the VIP bus for midgets was next to a man at least 250 pounds.  We
were both squeezed into a child’s seat…he was spilling over.  Nothing I can do for the next 6
hours.  The bus filled up so no chance to move.  Halfway there, a tire blew out.  Three hours
of sitting out in the hot sun while they changed the flat bald tire with a filled up bald tire and
we were finally back on the road.  Two hours later we reached the border and bid goodbye to
Cambodia then crossed over to get our Visa to Thailand. The bus company transferred our bags
to the other side. Then we were divided up and stuck in a non AC mini van for a 20 minute ride
to another mini van where we all got out then got back in the other mini van that had some AC
and drove one hour into Trat. 
    There a woman in a small mini pick up truck with a roof on the bed of the truck , grabbed my
bag and threw it in (I thought she was going to do the same to me), then I climbed up and over
the side for another 30 minute ride to Ban Pu Resort by the sea.  Well the tide was out and it
was all mud.  Not much of a sea.  They had a small lake they used to raise the fish they served.
 
Captive audience , no Wi Fi for my computer, hot and humid outside with no sun but a pool.
  I sent my suit back and felt silly sitting out on a overcast day reading a book like I’m getting
sun.  I did wish to get some sun.  Anyway, I now have to figure out where I’m going to go to
stay next…if I can get a place. I discovered that the tide is out in the evening and comes back
in the morning.  While I was having dinner one evening looking over the Mangrove Forest of 
greenish , black mud with bugs and mosquitoes, a wind was constantly blowing in my ear. 
The next day it started to hurt but I thought it had been from sleeping with my hearing aide
on the bus.  It wasn’t .  It was the start of a bacterial ear infection. I have never had an ear
ache in my life and after this I never want one. 
Things have turned from worse to worser.  I still have to put up with this hotel computer and
pay for it…last night I got food poisoning and was up every hour with diarrhea. The dreaded
Trat Trots.   That was the second time this trip but I can deal with that. 
Last night, in between the toilet and the bed, I was suffering an ear ache.  I NEVER  had one
in my life. I can’t hear out of that ear either.  If I cover my left ear…I don’t hear anything.  I
know the ear drum can regrow but with scar tissue.  I am putting cotton balls soaked in
Mineral oil inside and called a cab for tomorrow’s departure for Pattaya. She is taking me to
the bus station where I buy the ticket for a 3 hour + ride in the VIP bus for midgets.
     I hope my dentist can squeeze me in with the New Year and all.  I have another tooth that
needs attention so while I’m here I hope he can complete that and give me a crown…leaving
only one crown to go…YEAH.  I understand your concern over your eyesight .  When one of
your senses start to go it is sad.  I also have a slight sore throat on the same side as the ear so
hoping an infection might be the cause of all.
 So much for the bad.  HAPPY VALENTINES DAY…well tomorrow.  The fireworks have started
here for the TET Celebration of Chinese New Year. I believe I have been part of the one
percent occupancy of the resort since my arrival.  There must be 350 nice rooms and
bungalows here with maybe 3-5 rooms occupied in high season?  I did meet the
owner/manager at breakfast today when I ordered the American breakfast with scrambled
eggs and no sausage, just ham.  The waitress brought me basted (very good but had it
yesterday) and all sausage and no ham.  I was having a hard time getting anything down with
the sharp pain in my ear torturing me, so sent it back.  The manager overheard the
conversation and I thought straightened it out when she showed up with lousy scrambled
eggs and still all sausage.  I gave up and went out to the docks to take photos of the
Mangroves.  Now there was water there.  Tide comes in at night and goes out during the day I
guess.  It looked like it should instead of stinky mud flats with bugs. This is their web site: 
 www.banpuresort.com
I was up all night and didn’t dare take the bus to Pattaya the next day so requested the
driver who was to pick me up to come early and make arrangements for a cab to take me the
whole 3-4 hour trip.  She arrived at 9:30 and drove me to Trat to meet the taxi.  My ear was
killing me now and I couldn’t think straight.  The driver took me to my hotel in Pattaya, I
checked in and went to the hospital just down the street.  New chapter….
  One thing I had time to ponder in Ban Pu Resort was the  older we get the more we see and
learn.  When we were growing, ..we picked what we wanted to enjoy, like a kid in a candy
store.  Our other choices were necessitated by career, family, parents, responsibilities or
where we were steered by our mentors and teacher.  As a consequence we missed a lot in
between but  thought we knew a lot.  That is not possible to know so much. Especially when
you were never exposed to the opportunity…like visiting another country and culture.
  Jumping out of an airplane, learning to sail a boat, the list is endless.  We only saw the
beauty on the surface but as we got older we can now see the beauty under and what was
ugly then, now shines and allows us to continue to expand, learn and grow.  It is a new
outlook that makes you appreciate life more.  Not because it is getting shorter but we now
have choices that weren’t available or we ignored because we never thought of them as
important. Jesus is not a requirement to be Born again, he is just one aspect of many
experiences that we can choose to be Reborn into or aware of.   Life is exciting. Keeping an
open and accepting , non judgmental mind without prejudice and you start to feel and become
part of an ever expanding life and mind. Oh yeah…never listen to anyone else…judge by your
own experience.
   
This will be the longest two weeks of my life.  I will look for things to do but nothing interest
me now…no elephant rides in the jungle…no more floating markets or temples…no more
crowded streets…I want my golf clubs and a quiet day on the golf course. A nice snuggle in a
comfortable bed…and more.  Hot showers, real toilet paper,real toilets, crosswalks, no
motorbikes, no flies or mosquitoes, NO HUMIDITY, PBS and best of all , fresh coffee in the
morning. 


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