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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sihanoukville



Sihanoukville

Many people seem to be enjoying this post.

Thanks everybody for reading;
there are 4 more Viet posts up ahead and another one soon to come.


I am only here for five days. I haven't been near the ocean for two and a half months. And these days I am a swim fan. So it's a wonderful moment.

Thing is there's going to be very little to say here. I'm going to eat, sleep, read and swim. I'm sure I'll find something to reflect upon.

Sokha beach, Sihanoukville

Cyrstal blue waters. Perfect white sand beaches. Sokha beach in Sihanoukville. Sokha beach is completely private with its own guards. I still go there and hang out, where the locals do, at both ends of the beach.

I may just make this post a photo essay and a very lazy one at that.

Just to say that Sihanoukville was the scene of the last battle of the Vietnam war in 1975. The city was only formed in 1960. The tourist strip is grotesque but Sokha beach is protected from that.

The coastline here is very different to that of India.




Unlike India, where there are palm-fringed beaches, here the coast is secondary rainforest.  Forest that comes down to the water. The sand is bright white whereas the Kerala beaches are yellow. Sometimes black. Here in May the place is so very quiet. Ideal for R & R.



Grasses by the Gulf of Thailand


Met a Russian couple here Valery and Galina. They were very red and Valery has painful sunburn. They go swimming very early in the morning.


If you like travel and tea-drinking visit GuerrilaZ's sister site Singing Bird below:--



The Economy of Cambodia
On the way here to Sihanoukville (Sihanouk was the King of Cambodia in the middle decades of the last century he led the country to independence from the French in 1953). On the way here I saw Phnom Penh fade out into countryside. Into rural life.

What I saw made me ponder the state of Cambodia's economy.

I saw silk and garment factories. Sure enough the country makes most of its money from the textiles and tourist sectors.

Currently, Cambodia's foreign policy focusses on establishing friendly borders with its neighbours (such as Thailand and Vietnam), as well as integration into regional (ASEAN) and global (WTO) trading systems. Some of the obstacles faced by this emerging economy are the need for a better education system and the lack of a skilled workforce; particularly in the poverty-ridden countryside, which struggles with inadequate basic infrastructure.


Khmer woman digging in the surf for cockles

Nonetheless, Cambodia continues to attract investors because of its low wages, plentiful labour, proximity to Asian raw materials, and favorable tax treatment.

Pol Pot's well documented actvities involved liquidating the intelligentsia en-masse. If you had soft hands you were gone. Wore spectacles. The same. That was one quarter of the population expunged. Cambodia is continually hampered by that. Most labour is unskilled. The countryside looks like India most of the time. That is without infrastructure. In short devastated. A pile of rubble. Unpaved, unmetalled, litter strewn.

Life in this country of 15 million is no picnic but there a huge resolve.


Picnicking on the beach

Cambodia has given itself over to a market economy and it feels like it. People are desperate for money and it is the US dollar they want most. I find this scramble unpleasant. More so than desperate India. Phnom Penh certainly was spoilt as an experience by it. Finding a friendly Moto driver made it bearable. The relationship was pleasant. Sun offered fantstic value for money as it happens. Others do not.

Outside my window here are what sound like tambourine players. Cambodian crickets.

The food is the best I have tasted, ahead of Laos. Vietnamese is the non-pareil but the green papaya salad -- peanuts, lime, bean shoots, shrimp, purple and red crab, ji leaves, rice vermicelli -- is so subtle and unusual. Does so many things to the palate that I am close to tears.


Fishing hamlet, Sihanoukville


Giant Millipede


If you like travel and tea-drinking visit GuerrilaZ's sister site Singing Bird below:--

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