Moving to Cambobia

Prior to the coup d’etat in Thailand, the caretaker minister announced a crackdown on visa-runs for westerners. Rumors rode roughshod over facts and drunken farangs were contemptuously announcing if Thailand didn’t want their money, then Cambodia would welcome them like the Vietnamese Army vanquishing the Khmer Rouge in 1979.

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I bit my tongue rather than tell these balding drunk badly-dressed sex tourists that they should get down on their knees to thank the stars that they were allowed into Thailand, because few countries in the world would have them.

I had been a doorman at the best nightclubs in the world and not one of these whiners would have passed the criteria for entry into the Bains-Douches or Studio 54. Plus most of these losers had only seen Cambodia from the fifty feet of no-man’s land between the frontier passport offices.

Outside of Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, and Siem Riep Cambodia is mud, poverty, and no Garden of Eden, unless you’re Gary Glitter.

No one out here loves a fat farang for anything more than their wallet.

Although on Viagra, ketamine, and a dozen beers these miscreants consider themselves individual NGOs dedicated to dispensing money to the local populace via an errant daughter or go-go boy.

Welcome you with open arms.

You must be smoking the same crack as GW Bush before the invasion of Iraq.

Personally I like Cambodia.

Phnom Penh lingers in a languid time warp between 1975 and 2006. Sihanoukville is a ghost version of Pattaya with cleaner beaches and Siem Riep is good for two days sweating bullets while viewing the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat. The people are friendly, the accommodations are cheap, and the beer strong. Khang beer ranges from 7-11% alcohol. Food is okay and the government says they want foreigners to come there to stay. It’s easy to get a year’s visa and you don’t have to do any visa runs. But there’s a big difference between being a tourist and living someplace.

If the lager louts are expecting go-go bars, then dream on.

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Most recently the prime minister’s wife, Bun Rany, rebuked a TV presenter for wearing a sexual offensive dress. It had no back. She also had the Miss Cambodia pageant axed from the public schedule and her husband a beauty contest was deemed inappropriate so soon as three decades of war. The first dating service also was banned for being 50 years ahead of its time. Mini-skirts have also fallen into the forbidden influences along with 3rd generation telephones, although the Phnom Penh Wives as Ms. Bun Ramy likes to call her harridans probably decided these new phones made it too easy for their powerful husbands to call their mistresses, when they’re suffering from aah or increased libido surges or even worse view pornography.

Christian missionaries seeking to convert the Cham Muslim minority have praised the helmet hair wives for their piety, but most Khmers reckon the bans are subtefuges to create a distraction from the government’s failings and the rampant corruption besetting the nation. Supposedly adultery is the next target for these do-gooders. Breaking the 7th Commandment could earn a year’s jail sentence, if the bill passes the National Assembly.

But only for married men and women. Single people can have a ball.

In every city and town brothels, karaokes bars, and chicken farms flourish with the wink of the official eye. Sophie’s in Phnom Penh tops my list of sleaziest bars in the world. Martini’s and Sharkey’s top the city’s tourist attractions for men. I prefer drinking along the quai siromoth and watching the world glide by with a timeless peace. Maybe my days of sin are coming to an end.

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Phnom has other sites.

The death school is a must see, but is a buzzkill more than once.

And I heard they were opening a golf course near the Killing Fields.

The khners say they have forgiven the past. It is their only choice.

Cambodia?

I like Phnom Penh for the French architecture, the decay, slow traffic, heat, bad bars and that nothing really matters what you do in Phnom Penh.

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So if they are no go-go bars, who cares?

And if I have to live there, I suppose I could.

After all the ruins are covered with dancing girls and sooner or later that love of the arts has to conquer the repression of a few killjoys and hopefully the beer buddhas of Pattaya keep far away, until that renaissance touches the Khmer soul. 

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