Friday night rolled around and, having not been out for what seems like ages, I make a few phone calls and I am soon sitting in Paul’s backyard drinking some nice cold Becks Beer with Paul and Darren. We admire Paul’s shiny new 2011 Ford Ranger ute *NOICE* and try and formulate a plan for eating. Suggestions are bandied around and we settle on the outdoor beer garden / grill just behind the Royal Palace. On the way over at Darren’s suggestion we try out a new bar near Psar Kap Ko called the Lucky 7 or some such. We walk in and there are a couple of girls behind the bar wearing Kimonos. WTF ! ? The bar is low set with low chairs and this makes a nice change from the usual set up in most bards where you have to stand on a ladder to get into your chair. The silk lights give off a nice ambiance and we are presented with cold face towels and a small menu that has mostly Japanese food on it. So far so good……..
A young lady sits in front of us and asks if we have been there before. We answer no. She then says ” Well this is a drinking bar so you pay $5 tonight but then nothing if you revisit and if you want to buy a bottle you can leave it here with your name on it “. I ask her what the $5 covers and she cant really answer that other than to say the bar is “Japanese style” and indeed there are a couple of Japanese gents at the other end of the bar drinking and eating with some of the staff. I look at the menu and the drafts are $2.50. So its basically going to cost me $7.50 to have a drink. A rather tall “gender challenged” staffer appears and in a deep voice he/she/it tries to explain again the concept …or lack thereof. We look at the menu which is basically entirely in Japanese and get the picture – this bar is for cashed up Japanese types. Anyways….we stay for one drink just to say we did and I leave shaking my head. Darren no doubt will be back a he loves tall…..drinks.
We then head over to the BBQ garden and eat some seriously tasty BBQ beef and a plate of grilled tongue and its all washed down with a couple of cold jugs. The place has had a bit of an upgrade since I was last year and what was dirt is now all tiled which was a vast improvement. After dinner we womble around a few bars and then around 11pm we get hungry again and someone,possibly me, suggests with gusto ” let’s go get a magic pizza for a laugh!!!”. This is met with enthusiasm from the lads so we head over to the Pink Elephant on the riverfront and as we walk in Darren notices to young female backpackers eating and makes some lewd comment that I cant make out . We choose a table inside and I order a “Super Duper Happy Happy Pizza”. The Khmer guy looks at me like I am insane and he asks me ” you feeling strong tonight ?”. Yes I am my man. Last time I ate Happy Pizza ( about a year ago ) nothing happened so I was not about to have a repeat.
While we waited for our pizza I decided we should move out onto the footpath and no sooner have we sat down than the two young girls come over to us and in their best-est widest Australian accents ask if they can join us as they wanted to sit outside too. So our 3 becomes 5 and jugs are ordered and soon the hot steaming pizza arrives. I am bloody starving and as Darren and Paul have no money ( dead-set for a couple of software guys who own multiple properties between them the whole” I have no cash ” thing is very tiring ” ) I decide I should eat a lion share of the pizza. So I do. It is cheesy and delicious and has a serious amount of herb in it. The girls share a piece as they regail us with their stories of nearly being raped by tuk tuk driver who came up to their room and forced his way in after deciding he loved them. One of them is wearing no bra and her outer extremities are on display- as Paul and Darren cannot help but notice..and notice….and notice. I can’t help think about the tuk tuk driver and the slather he must have been in. After pizza we take the girls over to Zeppelin Bar which is rocking out big time. The girls are on a bus at 1.30am to SHV and it is now 12.30am. We drink a few vodkas and eventually bid our two sheilas good bye. The girls were good fun and apart from the no-bra thingy, they reminded me a lot of my nieces back home so I hope they have safe travels. Just before we leave to go to our respective homes Darren asks me if the pizza has kicked in and I tell him no. Famous last words.
Around 5am I get up to go the bathroom and I wake up in an octagon sided room with windows on the ceiling and pink rabbits hopping around on the floor. The overhead fan has detached itself and is flying around the room and the bamboo outside the window is singing “I am the Walrus”. Holy shitttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt. I bounce off everything in the room and eventually complete my mission and return to base. In the morning I “wake up” around 9am or so and everything has a surreal feel about it. Every sound seems to echo and I am so lethargic I can barely move. I drag my arse out of the bed and notice the pink bunnies have temporarily left the bedroom thank god. In the kitchen things are moving around and around and it is a struggle to make a coffee. Leakhana actually cooks me some eggs and she looks at me and says ” sweetheart what is wrong !” I explain the nights happenings away and she laughs when she hears about the pizza. Rural Khmer have been using ganja in their cooking for ions and still do so its no big deal. I rarely if ever partake these days so Leakhana just smiles at me and says ” enjoy your day”. I finish breakfast and slide across the floor back into the bedroom and I stay there in and out of consciosusenss until lat afternoon.
Eventually around 4pm I have to get up as I have invited the entire family around for dinner and I still have to buy sausages and make potato salad. I walk out into the living room and am greeted be nieces and my mother in law who just laughs at me. Thanks mom.I feel marginally saner/straighter after a hot shower and head over to the butcher for snags. When I get home I throw together a salad and eventually we are cooking and eating and then ….yes……I slither off to bed again around 8pm ! Man…..talk about a waste(d) of a day.
Sunday….PHEW……normal again FINALLY. Note to self ; do not eat Magic Pizza again ! I grab the dog and make for Brown Cafe ( my new spot ) for a latte and some muffins and I then take Karma for a run over on Koh Pich Island. This involves me heading into the construction area where there are some good dirt roads and simply letting Karma out of the truck and then tearing off at 20kph with her running behind me. Karma loves it and has enough energy at the end to bound up into the truck in full flight. I head home and now its time to get out of the city so we pack up the ute and head over the Japanese Bridge. We soon get down to the market garden area of Phnom Penh which is one of my favorite areas. There are beautifully organised plots as far as the eye can see growing all manner of crops and all are mulched with straw and irrigated . People are out toiling and there is a general air of economic productivity and purposefulness.
I stumble across a HUGE timber yard that is very neat with racks and racks of different size lumber. I ask the family to wait in the car for 10mins and I head over to speak to the owner. I am now compiling a spread sheet of timber prices so I can see how much prices vary and how much a cabin is going to cost to build and so far I have seen swings of 30% on some same same timber ! Next thing I know my mother in law is with me and niggling the owner on prices per m3 ( a kip ) and I have to explain we are not actually buying today. We leave the timber yard and find a ferry to take us across the river so we can drive back in to Phnom Penh. I always get a bit paranoid when I have the family ( inc little Grace ) on one of these rickety ferries and each time I do it I tell myself I will buy life jackets to keep in the car for just such occasions but we make it across safely and are soon back at home having some lunch.
So all an all a very lazy hazy, happy weekend !