We’ve been in Sihanoukville (aka Snooky) for just over 7 months and are ready to move on. Our love/hate relationship with Snooky is as strong as ever. In the time we have been here we have noticed an increased amount of casinos (mainly owned by Chinese) and karaoke bars being opened. The karaoke bars are known as KTV’s which are the new brothels in Asia. I hear one Korean man owns all the KTV’s in Snooky and there’s a lot. So you can see why this is disturbing to see.
The local expats (that make Snooky their home) say that the Cambodians are sitting around and waiting for Chinese businesses to buy them out, dreaming of making their riches by selling to the Chinese. What we’ve seen is Cambodians kicked out of their businesses for very little or no money. We haven’t seem any “rags to riches stories” just “the rich getting richer stories” and plenty of those.
There are very few Cambodians that own land. All the land was taken away from them during The Khmer Rouge rule. The farmers (mainly lead my women) hold protests by the Government Building in Phnom Penh. They want properties rights.
With all the growth in Sihanoukville the infrastructure is being taxed and neglected. There are at least 5 spots along the town beach that I can see where sewage is leaking into the ocean. It is getting worse because it is now the rainy season which is taxing the sewers more with the amount of rain we are getting. I know we have similar problems in some places in Canada. I just find it sad to see a beautiful beach not being taken care of. At this point it would be an easier fix then to wait until the beach front is completely developed with the 5 star hotels the Chinese businesses are planning on building in the very near future. But leaving it “for now” seems to be the answer. The beaches are being polluted and the garbage is piling up. Sihanoukville has a nice natural town beach and the surrounding areas are full of gorgeous beaches and they’re slowly slipping away. I can’t imagine what it will look like in the future.
It has been an eye opener staying in Sihanoukville over the last 7 months. We are told that the rest of Cambodia is not like Sihanoukville and I truly hope this is indeed the case. There seems to be an unusual amount of strange people that call Sihanoukville their home (both locals and foreigners). We are looking forward to seeing the rest of Cambodia and hope to find some normality out there. The majority of Cambodians have a gentleness about them that you don’t often find.
As I said, we will be leaving here in a week and heading to Kampot and then traveling around Cambodia for the next several months. We’ll see how we make out traveling around in the rainy season. In Cambodia, the rainy season is from April to November and the heaviest months are August, September and October.
I had a job for a short period of time here in Sihanoukville. The Cambodian government along with a group of business men from Singapore are opening up a hospitality training school. I was hired as a teaching assistant and ended up writing some of the classes for customer service. The Cambodian government is funding the school to train their young people how to work in a western run hotels and restaurants. After their training the top students would be offered contracts in large hotels and restaurants in Singapore. Unfortunately the whole project was so disorganized by all parties involved I decided to let the project go. It’s unfortunate because I would have really enjoyed working with the young Cambodians.
We are both doing well and enjoying our new experience. There will be a lack of pictures on this blog because our main computer has decided to take a rest. We have a MacBook and it seems there isn’t anyone in Sihanoukville that works on Apple products or have the parts. We’re hoping to get it repaired in the capital, Phnom Penh when we are there in a few weeks. In the mean time I have my iPad (which is what I’m writing on) and we picked up an inexpensive tablet for David. The dust, humidity and the tiniest little ants plays havoc with electronic devices in this area of the world. One repair guy mentioned something about a motherboard but he didn’t have one……sounds like that ones going to hurt the pocket book.
My next blog will likely be from another place in Cambodia. There are a lot of things to see and do here. We had an interesting experience living in Sihanoukville over the last several months. But we are ready to pack our bags and be on the road again. Bye, until next time.