3/25/18: Koh Rong Samloem-Bound

I woke up refreshed after not having gone to the party, and went for a long run. I did 8 miles, but barely made it. I was soooo hot I thought I was going to die in the last couple miles.

On the plus side, I think I finally have a handle on stray dogs! I learned from my run with Mike to just yell a stern and loud, “hey!” and they back away quite obediently.

Seen on my run
My bread was moldy, so I just had a mango and orange for breakfast.
Around 10 am, Ivan (the hostel owner) took us on his tuk-tuk to town to drop Mike and me off at the tour agency office. We were both going to Koh Rong Samloem, a small island known for its chill atmosphere and beautiful, crystal clear water.
We had about 30 minutes to kill, so I went to go find a SIM card and coffee. I went to the SIM card store, but it was closed. Womp womp. I walked across the street to get a coffee from Simple Things, then to the market to get some more fruit for the journey.
A tuk-tuk picked us up from the tour agency and took us 50 meters down the street to a different tour agency. It made me laugh— we totally could have walked that distance. This always happens in SE Asia. They arrange pick-ups for the most absurdly short distances.
The bus to Sihanoukville came a few minutes later, and we all got on.
We got to the tour agency office in Sihanoukville around 1 pm, and I was FAMISHED. I needed food STAT, but first we needed to buy a boat ticket to get to Koh Rong Samloem.
The agency was also selling SIM cards, so I bought one. It was only $6 for 4 gigs of data plus $30 worth of calls.
My hunger was reaching critical status, so I went next door to the Indian place to see if I could quickly order some food to go. I was in the midst of asking the guy if I could get some roti really quick when Mike yelled to me that the bus to take us to the pier was here. Dammit. The hunger continues.
We got on the bus, which was like a safari ride type of vehicle, and arrived at yet another tour agency office. We had to go in to “confirm” our ticket, which meant getting some official-looking badge thing, a sticker to let the boat guys know which pier we were getting off at, and a return ticket for the boat ride back to the mainland.
Once I had finished “confirming,” I went to quell my hunger. I only had 10 minutes to spare, so I needed something quick. I saw a banh mi cart nearby, so I hastily asked for a sandwich. I asked for veggies only and the lady nodded.
She started making my sandwich, and immediately started piling on the meat. I said, “no meat, no meat!” And she said, “Ohhh no meat!” And starting taking off the meat. There was another guy waiting for a sandwich, so he offered to just take mine in order to not waste food.
She started on another sandwich, and I pointed yes or no at every single thing since I was now aware that “veggies only” would not work.
No butter.
No chicken.
Yes cucumber.
No pork.
Yes onions.
Yes chili paste.
No fish sauce.
Yes carrots.
And boom— vegan sandwich success!
I quickly paid and fast-walked to the pier, nervous that I would miss my boat.
I ate my sandwich at the dock. There was no need to worry— the boat ended up being about 10 minutes late.

Our boat
I sat across from an American guy from Ohio. I never really meet Americans in my travels, so I’m always excited to meet someone who knows where Maryland is.

The boat situation
We got to the island, I checked into my hostel, and then went out to find somewhere to work on the podcast. I really needed to edit it if I wanted to release a new episode by Monday.
I sat at an outdoor cafe with comfortable chairs. I ordered a coconut and got to working.
I worked for a couple of hours, and then went back to the hostel to chill and socialize.

The hostel does family dinner every night for $6.50, and it was meatloaf that night. I asked the guy working if they had a regular menu, and he told me yes but that I should just get the family dinner.
I told him I don’t eat meat, and he said he could prepare me a vegetarian dish instead. I was excited to see what they would make for me!
I started talking to one guy, a Canadian named Brad, who does coral reef conservancy work here. He’s a marine biologist who dives every day to take a survey of all the species in the water and to see help rehabilitate and regrow dying ones. It sounds like such incredible work, and I was a little bit jealous. It just seems so rewarding and fun.
I also met an Israeli guy named Guy (heheh), and we talked for a bit. I always seem to get along really well with Israelis for some reason. They’re just so easy to talk to and CHILL!
My veggie plate was mashed potatoes with a cabbage salad/slaw thing and veggies with pesto sauce. I was nervous that I’d have another nutty pesto situation (story here; scroll down towards the bottom), but they luckily didn’t put any nuts in their pesto. The mashed potatoes probably weren’t vegan, but it’s ok. It’s not like I could return it.
However, I’m not sure if it was good enough to pay $6.50 for. They definitely should have given me more food for that amount of money. EDIT: future Anna writing here. They ended up charging me $4.50, so never mind!! I take it back.

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