The First 24 Hours in Cambodia
The first night
for my Cambodia travel story. After we arrived we found a little bar called, Last Call near the end of an alleyway close to our hostel. We played pool on a shitty, crooked table with undersized balls and a terrible slant that caused the balls to roll towards the left if you didn’t shoot them straight into a pocket with blunt force. Beers were fifty cents each and went down like water in that nasty heat that lingered even after nightfall.
At one point a young boy, no older than fourteen, stopped in the dirt just beyond the bar and started flinging two swords that were set ablaze wildly into the air. They twisted and flung around in quick, erratic circles and at one point he slung them about ten feet up while blowing an enormous ball of flames below them just before catching each one effortlessly like some kind of trained circus performer. A few people cheered and an older couple tossed some coins into the dirt by his feet. He scrambled around collecting the loose change for a moment before moving on to the next bar where he did the same.
Every few minutes
little scooters with two or even three ladyboy’s piled onto them sped by hollering sexual offers from the backs of the bikes. Some would blow kisses and grab a nice handful of boob sandwich trying to show off the sale items.
As I shot pool on the flimsy table with my friend, a creepy little Cambodian guy came in to play with us. There was something about his eyes that gave me an uneasy feeling right from the start. The blood vessels laced across the surface of his retinas like little devilish spider webs. He inconspicuously scanned the room with those little red bastards every time he moved around the table. He seemed more and more like a night predator the more I observed him. I kept drinking anyhow.
The beers were starting to catch up
My friend began stumbling back for the hostel but I stayed and played a few more games of pool with another guy from England. The little Cambodian man stayed but watched the games quietly and stealthily from just outside the bar, peeking his head around the corner every so often.
I don’t quite remember finishing the game of pool but the next thing I know, I’m getting ready to leave the bar, and a tuk-tuk parked out front in the dirt was trying to give me a ride back to the hostel for one dollar. I told him it was close and I could walk but he seemed eager and I figured it was just a dollar. Maybe the guy was desperate. It seemed most locals were around there. I gave him a dollar and hopped in the back.
Of course, nothing ever goes as planned in Cambodia and the guy drove me far past the hostel and dropped me off at a happy ending massage place with a slew of ladies standing in front of it with tiny, black dresses and their faces dolled up with cakes of makeup like slutty, evil China dolls. They all were hollering offers like almost everybody in that place and the driver was now asking for more money and that’s when I realized someone had swiped my phone.
I tossed five dollars
into the seat then took off into the night stumbling about and drunkenly irate about the fact that my phone had been stolen just hours after arriving. Another guy on a motorbike got me back to the hostel for an additional 3 dollars. From there, I bought a little bowl of noodles from a shack outside my place then ate those and passed out for some time.
I woke up around 4 or 5 a.m. with a crazy fuckin’ pain in my gut. It felt like little ladyboy worms were feeding on my intestines and before I could even manage to sit up from the bed, I was puking a liquid brown slime onto the floor next to me. This went on for three or so hours. I was at the point where I had to chug bottles of water just to puke the water back up. I remember laying fetal position on the floor of that dirty hostel gripping my stomach and thinking once again, “Goddammit… Not the way I wanted to die.” I could see a few lizards periodically crawl back and forth across the floors between my bed and the bathroom as I lay in the cringing pain.
I forced myself up after a few hours and hobbled outside to buy the old natural American remedy, a cold 7-up. That somehow miraculously settled my stomach enough for me to stop puking every ten minutes and get a few hours of sleep before I went back into the chaos of Cambodia.
I survived the first night in there with just a missing phone and a small onslaught of food poisoning. I’d call it a success story. My glass is half full… of beer.
If you enjoyed this wild Cambodia Travel Story, check out another story. Too much LSD on a skyscraper in China might be right up your alley. Read it here.
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The Cambodia Travel Story