A Travellerspoint blog

Do Not Engage

sunny 25 °C

Otres Beach, Shianoukville, Cambodia – 24th December

Spending Christmas on the beach is not a bad way to pass away the days and to make sure that I am completely exempt from any stresses or anxieties of the constant pressures of existence when it comes down to the festive period.

So it was only right that I punish myself in a way to relieve the bad karma I had clearly earned by being so damn selfish.

Lying on a beach I had very little to do other than to look forward to the food feast that was being cooked for us tonight by a Dutch family. In my complete idleness I am looking at all the buff hairless chests of those with enough masculinity and testosterone to make Tina Turner begin to recede. I look disappointedly at my chest and belly rug. I was being openly chestily challenged and I hadn’t felt this inadequate since comprehensive school at 12 years old, when I had a huge case of beard envy. My manicuring habits had not ventured north of my pubic mullet and south of my whispy beard and so my chest had been feeling slightly neglected.

Maybe fete came calling when during my bout of idle insecurity I was approached by the regular Cambodian hawkers who had been plaguing this beach.

‘Masaaaaa’aaaaggge, Sir?’ The way they hold on to that word takes some effort.

‘Sir, your feet, you need a pedicure?’

‘No, sorry none of them, but what I am really bothered about is this knot of hair, what can you and your Btec in Health and Beauty from Kirby College do for me?’

I had initiated a chain reaction that was now out of my control. First rule of dealing with Hawkers is ‘DO NOT ENGAGE HAWKERS.’
I had broken the rule and now I was surrounded by three of these multi-skilled therapists. They started to demonstrate to me how they could ‘make me a pretty boy.’

The clever bastards, this free demonstration left a great big tunnel in my hair highway. Their persistence and my idleness reaped dividends for them.

The next 75 minutes was spent regretting even thinking about removing any chest hair. I have always imagined that waxing was painful, but a benefit of waxing is that it is over with one clean swipe of the strip.

Try the Cambodian method. For 75 minutes I allowed these women to remove each hair out of my chest with nothing but a twisted up piece of string. These were women not to be messed around with. I kept as calm as anybody would under the circumstances, I was mindful that I was on the beach and I didn’t want to create a scene, but that lasted for about 5 minutes, then the crowds begun to get attracted to the wailing of the stupid bastard tourist who agreed to have his chest hair removed in public.

Needless to say that it was painful, my chest reddened and bled, even one of the hawkers had begun to sympathise, I swear she was 160 years old; she sat by me and tried to take my mind off the pain by stroking my nipples. I wasn’t in much of a state to argue, I would crease into a ball and cry for them to stop, they would get impatient and hold me down so that they could carry on with their work.

After 75 minutes of I lay there only glad that this experience had come to an end. It was hardly the climax that I was hoping for; I looked entirely naked without my carpet of knots to rest my medallion on. I ran into the sea to wash away the hair and the blood. I stayed in there until the crowd had dispersed. I ran out grabbed my towel and covered myself.

In private I could see what the knot of hair had been covering all this time. I wouldn’t be able to pass myself off as one of those Chest Pouting Monkeys on the beach. I was going to have to cover up this embarrassment and forget all about it.

I had quite fancied myself as a bald beach bum, I should have realised that I already had the credentials to be that, I didn’t need to take my rug off as well.

Money well spent? Well maybe not but I did learn a few valuable things that day

1. I was over charged for a start, chest hair removal is only 7 dollars, I had paid 15. Maybe the 8 dollars was to cover the stroking services of super gran
3. I do not like my new bald chest and belly
4. I won’t be doing that again

I was told that it would take 3 months to grow back, that’s clearly a lie, I'm not even a couple of days into it and I have already got stubble.


Article By David Beattie of Rounton Coffee

Posted by beatski 00:17 Archived in Cambodia Tagged beach cambodia christmas hair otres removal hawkers string Comments (1)

The Floating Village, Cambodia

sunny 20 °C

Floating Village - 20th December 2011

Just outside of Siem Reap there is a village, which is a little different from others I have seen. To get to the Village you have to charter a boat on the Tonle Sap Lake which Phnom Penh sits at the opposite end. I'm not sure what the Cambodian name is for this place but where I am from you would call this this waterworld, or some persons idea of a tourist attraction. Indeed, it is a tourist attraction only because it is so incomprehensible, only it is not one of the Chinese type prefabricated variety like Dwarf City where all the little people live in mushroom castles where they sing and dance and put on a variety show for the gawping Chinese.

People including myself, want to see this as this is impossible to understand without visiting how a floating village actually looks, and what kind of person lives there. People are not made for water, and if we were we would have Kevin Costner type gills.

In Cambodia there are different rules and life for the majority is about farming to exist, it is still very much an agrarian state. If the only way to exist in Cambodia is to be a permanent fisherman then let's go fish!!

There are advantages to living on water.

1) Low council tax (I bet!)
2) Neighbour dog keeping you up on a night? Well up anchor and move along.
3) Swim to your neighbours and keep in shape, watch out for the crocodiles though..

In fact, the ameneties in this village is like any other, so this village doesn’t let the fact that it is built on water deter it from having what all decent villages around the globe need to have a buoyant (pun intended) community spirit. What more could you want in a community.



A floating Catholic Church


A floating Pig Farm


A floating Crocodile Farm


A floating shop where you can buy all your essentials....


A floating billiards hall


A floating school with basketball court


And then to top it all off we have children floating in tubs holding bloody big pythons. If your mother could see you now… oh there she is, encouraging you to beg for a dollar.


There was even a floating Orphanage of which i didnt take a photograph of...…… (ok so these are not essential to a village but in Cambodia, there are too many orphanages in too many villages)


Article By David Beattie of Rounton Coffee

Posted by beatski 00:46 Archived in Cambodia Tagged cambodia village lake floating reap siem phnom penh tonle sap Comments (0)

Wanna Job???

View Overland debacle on beatski's travel map.

Hong Kong Airport – December 8th

I had a return flight from Tokyo back to Hong Kong, I didn’t want to have to go back to Hong Kong, I would have preferred to travel direct to my next stop which, after some deliberation, I decided upon Bangkok. I had thought about Manila but I was still recovering from the Japanese Finger and just wanted to travel easy, and Thailand is exactly that, you don’t really need to worry about anything when in Thailand, everything is on a plate, and travellers in Thailand are really just holiday makers dressed in baggy pants. Thailand is also cheap and after spending the equivalent of a garage extension in Japan then I needed to do some pound cost averaging. Like everything in Japan though, flying out of Tokyo is expensive, so I had to do the return flight and get a cheap flight out of Hong Kong. I would have preferred to have continued the travel overland but i hadn’t thought this far ahead and hadn’t arranged a dual entry visa into China or a Vietnamese Visa. Nevermind, I can't do everything and some places I will have to do on another jaunt.

The flight I booked out of Hong Kong Airport left at around 8am on the 8th December and the flight from Tokyo arrived the night before at around 10pm. I only really had 10 hours to kill so I decided to spend the night in the airport like some crusty vagabond. There are websites dedicated to sleeping in airports and train stations so I did my homework and set up my bed in the arrivals hall just underneath the industrial sized air conditioning unit.

I was in good company, there were plenty of us smelly cretins all camped up for the night in the same place, so I found a seat and made myself comfortable.

I must have been the only person awake still when I heard someone dragging their feet towards Skid Row. I looked out and I saw a woman dressed in bright red pajamas, red slippers and with some scarlet red decorations in her scatty hair. She was pushing a luggage trolley with a smashed suitcase on top that looked like it had been salvaged it from a skip. ‘Here we go!!’ I thought.

The lady in Red spoke good English but she was clearly on day release from the local mental asylum.

‘We are looking for people to join us and help us with the children.’ I looked around to find who ‘We’ were. She started, pulling out a homemade book of all her nasty scribbles on paper which had been stapled together. ‘Would you like to buy some paintings?’ They could hardly be described as paintings, more like indiscriminate Ebola bile on tatty paper.

‘Err, no sorry,’ I always struggle for something clever to say at the times I'm confronted with insanity. Don’t you just want to exercise the demons and see what real mad shit is going on in that deranged head of hers? Yeah, I did but I was a bit lost.
‘Do you want to join us in our performance, we need western actors in our show tomorrow.’

‘Sorry, but I have a flight tomorrow.’

‘Would you mind delaying your flight, we will pay you 5,000RMB per day.’

Is this a wind up, I have this crazy woman offering me an acting job for the equivalent of 500 pounds a day, how did she know I was such a good actor, maybe this is the big break that I have been waiting for, a chance for me to shine on the big screen. I knew someone would recognise my talent, she isn’t so crazy after all.

Reality hit me…. I wasn’t going to become an actor.

‘No, sorry I can't, thank you for the kind offer though.’ I tried to be kind, I didn’t want her to start humping my legs while gouging my eyes out.
‘Okay, here is my number, if you change your mind then give me a call.’ She handed me a scrumpled up receipt with a phone number written on it.

She then opened up her case and started foraging inside, I could see nothing but cuddly toys and a bra. She handed me a bottle of green tea she has probably just pilfered from the local 711.

‘Thanks but you please keep it’

And at that she turned and started dragging her slippers along probably to find the next recruit for her performances.

It’s a shame, I think I would be a great actor, maybe one of the best and at £500 a day, I think it would be a steal. Nevermind, a vagabond life it is for me, and so I fell asleep on skid row after being teased with the heights of Hollywood.


Article By David Beattie of Rounton Coffee

Posted by beatski 03:57 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged tokyo airport bangkok hong kong hall sleeping overnight arrivals mental Comments (0)

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