lunedì 9 settembre 2013

36 Hours of civilization

Hello everyone!

I’m on the boat coming back from the mainland, so I've got a couple hours to spare... time to catch up with the blog…
Last post ended with Brad and Owen departing from Koh Rong Sanloem… leaving Fia and I to finish off my Divemaster training and to get some more surveying done… the objective is to have at least 30 sets of data for each survey method… we’re already almost half way there…
Anyhow… as I was saying… on our way back from Sihanoukville… we came here for a couple days because I've been having some really bad headaches in the past days and we thought it was better to have them checked out by a doctor… just to be on the safe side…  Turns out they're probably due to continuous muscle strain on the back of my head (because of the body position while diving), facilitated, if not completely caused by a side effect of the malaria tabs I’m taking… Every time I tell someone I’m taking malaria tabs they look at me like I’m crazy or something… apparently there’s no malaria on the coast of Cambodia (dengue is more of a problem) and every doctor I've spoken to tells me this particular brand of malaria tabs (Lariam) is the worst in existence, with loads of side effects and completely not worth taking for long periods. I still haven't decided what to do… the alternative brand is way more expensive and I would have to take it every day… pretty annoying…  I must do something though… I can't keep having headaches every time I get in the water or every time I try to exercise… I'll call the DAN (Diver’s Emergency Network) later today and see what their doctor suggests…

 But let’s talk about nice things instead! Sihanoukville… going back to civilization was shocking… my phone started working perfectly again, internet works properly, I managed to catch up with emails and Facebook… and to post on the blog! Photos should be completely uploaded and available on my web album as well… I’m sorry there’s not many, but I’m in the water most of the time and the Go-Pro turned out to be good only for videos, and sucks at still shots.  I’ll try to select the best videos once I move to Koh Sdach and upload at least a couple for you to see…
We got to Sihanoukville on Thursday evening and went directly to the clinic for the consultation… the doctor concluded that the best therapy would be interrupting/changing my malaria tabs and relax completely for a couple days…he also suggested going for a massage while we're in town…best prescription ever!! We went looking for a pharmacy straight after, just to see what alternative exist for malaria tabs… turns out there’s only one brand available and it costs 10$/pill… to take every day…crazy!
On our way in we bumped into some familiar faces… we stared at each other for a second and then realized we knew each other…it was Laura and Harrison, two students from Exeter University (UK), staying at the MCC bungalows (the other conservation program on Koh Rong Sanloem), friends of Owen. We decided to spend the evening together so we grabbed a couple drinks and then started to look for a place to have dinner… We went to look for that Israeli place Brad told us about last week… and I must say… it was as good as advertised! Falafel and hummus were amazing…and the warm bread was just too good…especially after eating damp baguettes for over a month. We stuffed ourselves to our satisfaction (I finished off everyone’s leftovers, as usual) and then made our way to Serendipity Beach…for more drinks.

It was happy hour at JJ’s… 10$ for a bucket (a proper ice bucket) of cocktail + a free t-shirt reading “let’s get f*cked up!”… No need to say anything else. They also had shishas and a crew of “fire boys” doing acrobatic shows on the beach with flaming sticks…luckily I had my camera with me this time so I managed to get a couple cool shots. The night was going wonderfully when at a certain point Laura looked at us, raised a blood-soaked hand…and calmly said “I don’t want to alarm you guys, but the dog just bit me” I found it hilarious…I mean, I’m sorry for the bite and all, but the way she told us was just epic.
We tended to the wound as best we could but Laura preferred to go to a clinic to have it checked out for possible rabies…fair enough. We tried texting them the following morning to see how she was doing but we never got an answer…the SMS must have gotten lost somewhere between here, England and the way back, since neither of them has a local SIM card. I hope she’s OK, we’ll find out soon enough when they come back to Koh Rong Sanloem on Sunday.

Sofia and I went back to the beach for ice cream…we stayed there until late at night meeting random people, as always… this time it was a guy with a fluorescent orange t-shirt screaming “Justin Bieber!” and a Welsh guy who works as a PR for a bar on the beach… funny people, especially after trying laughing gas from a balloon! Now I understand all those scenes in films of people at the dentists laughing their brains out!  :-P

We took a tuk-tuk home and slept until late the next morning. When we finally woke up we made our way to the city marketplace… a huge covered square with and endless array of small stands selling all sorts of stuff…from kitchenware to CD’s, fish, cell phones, fruit, live crabs, spices, clothing, toothpaste…literally anything! And often in the same shop! The weirdest combinations, like books and coconuts, or jewellery and fruit…wth? Lol. We stopped for breakfast in one of the stands: noodle soup, yum! The lady that owns the stand came to take our order, Fia asked for a portion with no meat (she’s a veggie), while I said anything was fine for me. The lady looked back at me and said something like “pwakkabif?”…I couldn’t understand what she was saying so I just repeated “meat is good, ok meat”, and she repeated “I KNOOOOOW, PWAKKABIF?”… at that point Fia translated what I thought was Khmer to something I could understand: “pork of beef?”…lol
The soup was delicious…it finished way too fast, as all food… but it was really satisfying. We then went on a shopping spree for flip-flops, sunglasses, chillies,  fruit, t-shirts and all those things we couldn’t get our hands on while on the island… mostly food and snacks anyway :-P
[Holy crap we’re almost on Koh Rong already! I’ve been writing for over an hour!]
After going to the market we headed back home… both me and Fia had loads of stuff to do on the internet… we pretty much spent the rest of the afternoon checking emails and updating Facebook, until my eyes started to burn from too much screen time…at that point we decided it was time for our doctor-prescribed massage… right next door. Sihanoukville is full of massage places… you can really be anywhere in the city and always have one in your sights. They all look exactly the same and basically offer the kinds of massages… I seriously doubt they can all like solely on tourists, so I suppose Cambodians in general are really into their massages.
We were greeted by two “maidens” who gave us an initial feet scrub and we then moved upstairs where the real deal took place… full body massage… for a whole hour…for just 8$ (tea included). They spent way too much time on the lags in my opinion, which is why we decided to go for round two after dinner, specifically for neck and shoulders. We ended up staying in the second massage place almost until midnight…and on the way back home something dawned on Fia… the Eco Sea staff house usually got locked before 11pm… shit.
We hurried home hoping they had left it open for us, noticing we weren’t there, but sadly that was not the case. They had locked us out. We looked around for an open window or a way to climb up to the second floor but everything was barred or locked. We ended up trying to sleep in the back of the Eco Sea van, when suddenly the owner of the massage centre next door offered us to sleep on their futons… such a kind lady.   --- Score!  
So we spent the night sleeping in the massage centre… exactly as we were dreaming of while having the massage… … … be careful of what you wish for!!
The rest of the story is pretty obvious…woke up, breakfast, and hopped on the boat back to Koh Rong. Still, I feel like a lot has happened in less than 36 hours :-P
[We now switched to the boat for Koh Rong Sanloem, we’re almost home… I’m amazed at how time flew while writing…]
Gonna spend the next few days out of the water just to be on the safe side… we’ve got a lot of stuff we can do to improve the resort and  I still have to finish reading my Divemaster manual… not to speak about my mapping project… I definitely won’t have time to get bored.
Bjs!