There is a back story as to how I ended up sharing my hotel bedroom with two blonde Dutch girls, but I assure you it’s not especially interesting so I’ll resist elaborating further. Suffice it to say that I did and for that brief period in the dying days of 2009 throughout the country of Cambodia the subject of my meeting, subsequent enchamberment and implied living arrangments with these two young ladies, speculative or otherwise, was one of considerable intrigue for hotel owners, gawking locals and assorted leering tuk-tuk drivers nationwide. “Lucky guy” quipped one idler lounging in a basket on a street corner, “greedy man” remarked another lazing in a hammock as we walked by.
This was something I was starting to notice, whereas the Vietnamese and Chinese were busy and industrious, here, despite the crushing poverty so many people seemed to be just hanging around doing nothing. “Its because they’ve had a genocide of the intellect” had claimed one big boorish British imperious Jeremy-Clarkson-looking-mutha-f**kr I’d met who was running a charity. “They are lazy and in need of help” he claimed addressing the empty space slightly above everybody’s head, Listening in amusement I’d always suspected that charities tended to attract pathological personalities, my suspicions proved well founded as I later discovered. His helping out also extended to the local industry, although less for charity and more for services rendered shall we say. Of course it was nonsense what he claimed, that a nation so dug up and torn apart as Cambodia looked a little like Lord Of the Flies was hardly surprising. I’d always suspect that many charity workers were really about getting their jollies having people suckling at their metaphorical teats.
Anyway I digress, back to the story, so there was me and two blonde Dutch girls, after dinner we decided to check out the Penomh Penh nightlife, and made our way towards the aptly named “Heart of Darkness”. “No guns allowed in nightclub” claimed a sign at the door, and it wasn’t a joke, apparently the place was regularly shot up. “As soon as the guns go off, the hookers hit the floor, and its suddenly a scary, empty place with nowhere to hide” claimed one internet poster I’d read. Approaching the door I was frisked but luckily I’d remember to leave my kalasnikov back in Nam. Inside looked like a scene from the fall of Rome. A weird mix of bra-less deadlocked bedecked backpackers, middleaged pot bellied P.E teachers and tiny elfin temptresses. The P.E teaching perverts generally stood with backs pressed to the wall with beer in hand as the local ladies ground up on them with a frightening ferocity. One grinning chap with an uncanny resemblance to Jabba the Hut stood in the corner with his eyes slowly glazing over as one pixie like girl gyrated into him. I had sudden horrific flashes as a hellish vista open before me, imagery of tiny grasping hands rooting, searching, clawing through mounds of flesh.
We sit down near the back observing the spectacle and are joined by the French version of the Addams family. They were ostensibly a mother and father and two sons in their early twenties. The mother got up and started dancing in a wholely inappropriate manner with her two boys, it began to seem as if she had brought them here as some sort of initiation ritual as she pushed them towards the local honeies. As one of them paired off with one of the pros, the other turned back to whom I had presumed was his mother and plunged his tongue down her throat.
It’s time to get the hell out of here I told my blonde haired retinue and it was back out onto the streets. As we wander around in search of somewhere else the ramshackle darkened city took on an increasingly sinister feel, solitary white men appear like wandering spectres in unlit debris strewn streets. Suddenly Jeremy Beaddle’s uglier brother turns into a side alley. I watched him lope off into the darkness, his strange gangly walk and pasty white skin taking on the ghoulish appearance of a badly reanimated corpse slouching on his journey, bound for some god forsaken place. What was he doing here in this infamous place, who would ever come here alone who was not a backpacker. What were these people and what was their business. Were you to put the whole world in a sieve and shake it, whatever dropped out and landed in Cambodia must surely the be the scum of the earth, the sort of people that keep Josef Fritzl awake at night.
Eventually we ended up in an almost deserted Cambodian nightclub. The only other people in the place were a group of Cambodians with a seemingly unlimited beer supply. The young man who appeared to be the leader of the group approached me offering beer, cigarettes and the promise of friendship. Although it quickly transpired that in fact this was all part of the process of brokering a swap deal for my two Dutch blondies in exchange for a choice of any two of the ladies in his entourage. I remember reading a line in the Lonely Planet about how Cambodian patrons of nightclubs are the children of the elite, are usually armed and accompanied by a troop of thugs hired to do their dirty work. We made good our escape.
Photos to follow soon…….