eating barracuda, phtographing geckos, and hiding from a giant grasshopper!

As we waited for Pros this morning, a moto driver who claimed to be his friend tried very blatantly to steal our business from him. He told us that Pros had called him, said he couldn’t make it and that he would take us instead for the same price, yet when we questioned him he didn’t know exactly how much this ‘same price’ was. When we informed Pros, I was surprised that the pair laughed between themselves in much the same way as two people share a joke. In Britain, poaching someone’s customers like that would be treated a lot more seriously.
We checked into the Green Gecko, ate breakfast and took advantage of the on-site internet facilities. We were about to head down to the beach when I heard what was now becoming the familiar sound of rain pelting down on the corrugated iron roof. Instead we made a dash over to Rose’s Place for an iced coffee and fruit salad, and waited for the rain to stop. In a couple of hours it did, and minutes later the sun was shining brighter than ever in what was now a perfectly cloudless blue sky. I spent the last couple of daylight hours on a very deserted beach, constantly being approached by vendors desperate to regain the business that two hours of rain had cost them.
In the evening we enjoyed a tasty meal of fried calamari, lemon and pepper sauce and rice at Mama Cambodia. We then returned to Rose’s Place for another iced coffee, and amused ourselves by watching some overweight western men being serviced by the bar girls in the drinking establishment across the road. When we arrived back at the Green Gecko, there was a wedding party in full flow next door, and we tried very unsuccessfully to sleep through the thumping trance music pulsating through the walls of our room. I recall the words “your mama’s a bitch!” from one of the tracks, and remember thinking that it was a strange choice of song to play at a wedding, and therefore a highly inappropriate way to gain popularity with the inlaws!
An annoying combination of incredibly itchy mosquito bites, and an all night party taking place on the other side of the wall to which my bed was situated, meant that sleep remained very elusive for me for the majority of the night. The next morning, the party was still simmering next door, so after eating a huge breakfast at Rose’s we headed down to the beach to take a nap under the sun. Unfortunately Kotoe was suffering from bad menopausal stomach cramps, so she returned to the guesthouse a couple of hours later. I started munching my way through a large bag of fruit I bought from our fruit lady, Linda, and shared the remainder with an Israeli guy called Gilad, who had taken up residence next to me on the beach. The two of us chatted for a few hours (he has also just moved from Ochheuteal beach and is possibly heading to Kampot tomorrow), agreed on the merits of mango and entered into the big pineapple and papaya debate!
I met Kotoe back at the guesthouse around 5pm, and the two of us caught a moto taxi over to Ku-Kai again for dinner. Considering neither of us were especially hungry, we managed to munch our way through bonito (which Kotoe thinks is a kind of swordfish), striped threadfin, and barracuda sashimi with soy sauce and wasabi, deepfried barracuda (yes, we like barracuda!) and two onigiri, as well as a couple of mugs of Angkor and a pot of Japanese green tea. I got a round of applause from a Japanese man at the adjacent table when he heard me ask the waiter, “be du wo kudasi?” (Can i have a beer please?) – apparently with perfect pronounciation and accent. Clearly I have a good teacher in Kotoe.
Back at the guesthouse we spent an amusing evening photographing geckos, conducting a harmless experiment using a green backed beetle, a bug which looked like a coffee bean, a long-bodied creature with huge antennae, and a large piece of over-ripe sweet banana (did you know that beetles always climb uphill but will never walk down?), and hiding from a large green insect that looked like a giant grasshopper. The creature in question measured about 15cm in length, 5cm in width, was grasshopper green in colour and had an interesting leaf design on his wings. I successfully took a photograph of it in an attempt to identify it, but the flash frightened him, he took flight and headed straight towards me! I managed to duck just in time and avoided his flight path but it left Kotoe and I both frightened and intrigued. We sat on the wicker sofa outside our room, hiding under the security of Kotoe’s sarong, only our eyes poking out over the top. Anyone watching us would have thought we were watching an incredibly scary horror film and not an insect more than 100th of our size.
Photo is of Kotoe and a rather sunburnt me at Ku-Kai Restaurant, Sihanoukville.

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