I left Kampot behind as another place I will treasure long after this trip over. Once in Sihanoukville I planned on heading straight to the islands (I heard Sihanoukville with the exception of some far flung beaches down the coast is crowded with self serving Cambodians and Russians as well as other indulgences) but once there I decided to wait until tomorrow to take the long ferry there for some beach time. In the mean time, I ate at a local pop up restaurant (which is basically a given as most are with exception to the expat Western run joints) picking and pointing at open pots for the cuisine that I hungered most for. After batting away enough requests to take me for a tuk tuk ride, I checked into party central at the Monkey Republic for likely belligerent English and Aussies but at the end of the day air-con is king. I was going to check out the crowded beaches nearby but didn’t want to walk in the oppressive heat at midday so I took advantage of the air-con and more or less meditated blogging style to get some thoughts and emotions off my chest about where I am in this trip and in life. The day turned sour with rain but things could be worse. Tomorrow I leave at 9 am to take the long ferry to Koh Rong island. I could have paid twice as much for the speed boat which would have cut down the time to get there by a lot but with a budget such luxuries need to be forgotten. The afternoon cleared up enough for a walk along the less than stellar beaches of Sihanoukville but became worthwhile when a young Cambodian guy stopped to talk with me. He wanted to practice his English and despite what my sister might say to the contrary I like to think I hold my own as a teacher. I speak slowly with non-native speakers and try to use as basic of words as possible in an effort to have a decent conversation. Since he already knew his name was difficult to remember, he told me to just call him Smiley, which he was with an excited laughter to go along with it. We planned on meeting later at the Cambodian Idol concert just off the beach but when I arrived after consuming another savory set of plates from my new favorite local restaurant this crowd swelled with Cambodians. Since I couldn’t quite appreciate the contestants’ musical talents, I went back to the hostel early where I met and chatted with this really great and down to earth Austrian girl for the remainder of the night. It’s too bad we are crossing paths in the opposite direction but that is the way life sometimes rolls.