Saturday, June 12, 2010

Feelin' Groovy

Friday was the first day of our Beach Holiday. And what a treat it was to lay beside a tranquil and warm body of water for six hours, reading, chatting and swimming. Saturday was more of the same, a few more people joined us so we didn't have the beach to ourselves but had there been a coup or a disaster we would have been in good hands with the United States Navy in port and a few of our sailors were lounging about the beach not creating too much ruckus (so much for the rumors about sailors on shore leave). These days have been a great reward after our treks through temples, battling dust, enthusiastic hard sell vendors and a big bus ride. I can't say the bus trip here was arduous. Arduous would imply we had to get out of the bus to push it across a flooded stream, wait hours for herds of sheep or cows to cross, share our seats with chickens or pervs, defend ourselves against bandits. Like the bus trip in that ridiculous movie from the 80's Romancing The Stone. Nothing so exciting happened on our trip. It was just long and dusty and well...long. But good things come to those who wait and good things they are.

The Girl has mad Google Foo and found our groovy hotel online and managed to book it way way off rack price. Good travel ju-ju that one she has. Our hotel is so groovy that Jackie Kennedy stayed here for five days in 1967. Just a few short years before Kissinger decided to have a snit and bomb the crap out of this beautiful country because the king wouldn't cooperate with him and help attack Vietnam. Because that's how we play: You don't share your toys with you, we are going to just break all of them so no one gets to play. And who can blame KIng Sihanouk. He didn't want a war, he wanted to Par-Tay with the Big Boys and be a movie star or direct films or be an International Man of Mystery. So he built this big hotel and invited Rock Stars and Famous Widows. And they came and they tossed back cocktails and smoked a lot of dope and enjoyed the beautiful warm water just outside their door until we started dropping bombs and then Pol Pot started disappearing all the cool kids and the party ended until 2008 when someone had the cash and good grace to revamp and renew this lovely place.

But hey, a vision is a vision and groovy visions like the Independence Hotel are unstoppable. SihanoukVille is lousy with guest houses and small hotels but has very little to offer the...ahem...more...discerning travelers like me and The Girl who are more than willing to do a ten hour bus trip to hit a beach but prefer a key card over a key, demand a swimming pool and really enjoy fresh towels every day. The history, vibe and a room bigger than our old Crack Shacks is just a bonus. Not only is this place nice it's over the top. Sleek minimalist designs that evoke both the middle of the last century and an Asian Zen quietude. The beautiful private beach is 109 steps down from the hotel lobby. The beach is clean with enough shady palapas, comfortable chairs ands--yesterday--a complete absence of college aged people trying to get laid, recovering from hangovers or working on their next hangover. I've been there and done that and really don't need to watch another generation of young adults act like asshats. I have my own wincingly embarrassing memories to keep me up at night, thanks so much.

Besides the quiet, it's a sexy building made of undulating rooms and curves rather than angles. Thomas Crown would have slept here after breaking the bank in Bangkok, 007 would have totally chilled here after foiling a nefarious threat to the free world. No doubt lolling around the giant pool or soaking up Gulf of Thailand sun with a nubile young woman named after a body part and a food based adjective.

And now I'm chilling here after foiling my sons' nefarious plot to take over my brain and break my bank. But 007 I'm not: the only thing nubile about me is my imagination and my attitude and The Girl is --thankfully--not named Vulva Plenty. Although you have to admit registering in a hotel with a non English speaking concierge would be pretty hilarious, especially if you had to repeat your name several times to help them with the pronunciation.

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