Sunday 18th May – Crimebodia

On the Friday I had entrusted my precious laundry to the guesthouse who I hoped would return it immaculately washed and pressed and smelling of orchids.  What I didn’t bet on was them returning some of my laundry (i.e. with some items missing) and someone else’s laundry.  When I took the said items downstairs to explain they asked if I was sure they weren’t mine.  I promptly held the top up which was probably a size minus 2 and they conceded that the top in question was probably not mine!  I explained that I was missing two tops and that I would need them prior to leaving on the Sunday.  So, Sunday arrived, I trotted downstairs eagerly awaiting the return of my beautiful garments only to find the member of staff on duty who spoke approximately three and a half words of English.  After not understanding me for some time she telephoned another worker from the guesthouse.  The second worker helpfully explained that the laundry would not be open until the following day.  Slightly prior to this point the minibus arrived to take me to my bus for the next destination.  I tried to explain the situation and they didn’t understand.  Fortunately there was an American guy (I think) who spoke enough Cambodian to explain so the minibus went.  I gave up with the woman on the phone and the aforementioned American helpfully tried to bet $5 that if I waited until the following day my laundry would still not surface.  I decided to cut my losses and get a tuk tuk to the place that the American (unreliably) informed me that the bus left from.  When I got there they told me that the bus left from the market.  I got back on the tuk tuk and negotiated that I would only pay him if the bus had not left.  In hindsight this may not have been the wisest move in the World.  If any of you have seen the chases on similar vehicles in Ong Bak you will know why.  This guy was like a man possessed in order to get his fare.  I did get there in time for the bus but am still slightly miffed about my two tops.  One was a top that Olly gave me in Hanoi and the other was a top which I bought in Laos, both of which are irreplaceable.  Arguably I should have learnt about laundry by now.  When I was in Luang Phabang (Laos) the only branded item I gave them mysteriously disappeared and then, after much prompting on many occasions, the said item appeared from an area where it had been stashed in the hope its disappearance wasn’t noticed or forgotten.


I eventually arrived in Sihanoukville at around six that evening.  When I got off the bus I chatted to a motorbike driver about where I wanted to stay in the town.  When he asked how I was I said that I was fine apart from the fact that I had “lost” some of my clothes.  He promptly took it upon himself to explain how dangerous Phnom Penh was and how safe Sihanoukville was in comparison.  He took me to one guesthouse which had a disgusting smell of bonfires.  I kept joking that I didn’t want to stay there as it was clearly on fire which seemed to go straight over his head.  The guesthouse was full and, as we drove to the next one, he helpfully pointed out the bonfire on the other side of the road to demonstrate that the guesthouse was not in fact on fire. 


On the way to the next guesthouse I became aware of a motorbike coming strangely close to us, as I turned to look one of the three men onboard reached over and grabbed hold of my bag strap.  I grabbed hold of it too and there was a crazy wrestling match with both bikes wobbling all over the road.  Fortunately the other guy gave up, let go and their bike sped off down the road.  My rider tried to assure me that it was all okay but I did make him stop briefly to gather my thoughts.  I was actually in a strangely cheerful mood prior to that point to the extent that I was singing on the back of his bike, that’ll teach me eh?!

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