Always on my very short bucket list of places to re-visit, Sihanoukville has always been at the top. This small Cambodian paradise has never strayed far from my mind when thinking of all the places that I have visited. Aside from the obvious draw of Siem Riep and the glorious attraction of Angkor Wat at dawn and the bustle of the very urban Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville was a welcome reprieve from the rest of the world. And those glorious beaches and sweet locals! However, I did notice the ugly stuff starting during my trip when riding through town in the tuk-tuks: the casinos, the Chinese-language signs everywhere, the trash, the tour buses, the nonsense.
I was almost in tears when I read the most recent e-newsletter (#366) that I received this morning from my favorite travel blog, Travelfish (always been a dream to write for them!) which covered Sihanoukville. Afterwards, I googled a bit, and I also found a disturbing article about this beautiful place.
I still email with Sinath, a young Cambodian man that I met while I was there a few years ago; he worked at a restaurant near the Naia Hotel and spoke decent English. We haven't corresponded in awhile and this article on Travelfish by Stuart McDonald prompted me to email him this morning to see how he and his wife were doing.
My heart goes out to the locals and hardens when considering the sell-outs who propagated this travesty.