After a short flight courtesy of Air Asia we arrived in Phnom Penh just in time to hit the rush hour traffic – bikes, trucks and cars all battling it out for space, we saw a motorbike get clipped and cars going the wrong way but our taxi driver took it all in his stride and delivered us safely to our hotel, Angkor International. We splashed out all of £20 for the room as our Bangkok place was disappointing and we were only staying 1 night. It was a lot plusher than what we our usual standard with a big lobby area with a bakery and bar and only a short walk away from the Riverside where lots of restaurants and bars are located. What we like about Cambodia is that wine is affordable! We treated ourselves to dinner at a little french restaurant and savoured a lovely bottle of white – yum! We didn’t have time for too much else but did manage to buy a rotten batch of mangosteens from the market, we must look up how to pick good ones! We arranged via workaway to come and help out at a resort on Otres 2 beach called The Secret Garden in return for working 5 days per week we have our accommodation, 3 meals a day and a couple of drinks covered by the owners. We’re staying at a little place nearby called HoneyMoon Bungalows in one of their long stay rooms above the bar, at the moment we have the place to ourselves (we have a shared bathroom so it’s a bonus!) Our window looks directly out onto a big hotel thats being built but our veranda looks straight out onto the beach and has fantastic sunset views, it’s not a big room but we have a comfy bed, fan and most importantly a decent mozzy net. The wifi is great too so we’ve been able to keep in touch with family via Skype. Otres 2 is a few kilometres outside of Sihanoukville, it’s a laid back place with no nightclubs or bucket bars but more of an island feel with lots of rustic bungalows on the shore and cool bars to watch the sunset from. We’d stayed in the area a couple of years ago on Otres 1 as it is now, even that short time ago this area was more or less empty, now there are tens of resorts, a proper road and most startlingly (is that a word?) several big multi story luxury hotels under construction, it won’t be long until the area is transformed, hopefully it will be done with some thought but time will tell. We’ve been here just over a fortnight now and are really enjoying it, the work isn’t too taxing, we get to talk to people who are on their holidays all day and chat to the local staff who are great and really friendly, we mostly meet and greet customers, take orders and sometimes help out with check ins and arranging travel and bikes. Days off we spend either on the beach or at the pool, we have been meaning to do stuff in our spare time but just having got around to it as the weather has been so good, lovely and sunny almost everyday. We’ve had a couple of good nights at the bar after work including a night of drunken Trivial Pursuit, we didn’t have enough wedges so made one from a slice of lime – it worked surprisingly well! On our first week the owners invited us to an Italian owned place on the other beach call Pappa Pippo – they hold a quiz night every Tuesday, first prize being a bottle of wine, we had 6 in our team and I’m proud to say we won! (I beat an old man in the tiebreaker – I’m not proud of it but we’re keeping the wine!) We tried again on our own recently but even after pairing up with a nice couple from Liverpool we couldn’t repeat our first success – it had nothing to do with the 4 cocktails we had before the quiz I’m sure! It was only meant to be 3 but a regular patron kindly bought us a round just after we ordered and one does not turn away free cocktails! One afternoon we had a surprise visit from an elephant who just happened to be passing by, she took a chunk of the bamboo tree outside the resort in passing, one of the girls/here fed her a coconut which was crunched like it was a peanut! We’ve learned that DIY haircuts do not work – the hard way. I (Ed) mentioned I needed a haircut and another regular customer said she could use the clippers we brought with us so I let her do the back and sides which was fine but I foolishly tried to tidy one side up myself and cut it way too short leaving me with a Hitleresque shaved bit on one side, in the end I ended up having to go into town to a barber to fix it – in future I’ll leave it to the professionals. Beer here is deliciously cold and even more deliciously cheap at only a dollar a glass – approx 60p, but most places have happy hour in the afternoon at either 75c or 50c, at our place it’s 75c but we also get 50% off woo hoo! it means we can have cocktails for a dollar fifty too! We paid a visit to the local wholesale shop to stock up on essentials (shampoo and toothpaste) and couldn’t help but pick up a bottle of local gin for 3 bucks, price wise it will cost more for 2 cans of tonic than for the whole bottle of gin! Sure it will be looooovely though! We were planning on being here until mid Jan then heading off to an island resort not too far away but having checked the working hours with them we decided to give it a miss, they were expecting us to work 7 days per week for 2 months straight which we didn’t really fancy, luckily enough we’ve been offered the chance to stay put until February so that’s what we intend to do before probably heading to Vietnam. It will be weird working Christmas day especially since Sharlie was looking forward to not working over the festive period for the first time in ever but hopefully we’ll get to sample the amazing sounding Christmas menu (including gin and tonic oysters and eggnog panna cotta) and there should be a nice atmosphere. There probably won’t be an update till after the new year now so we’d like to wish all a very happy Christmas and a great 2015! Have fun!!