I lived & worked on the infamous Koh Rong island in Cambodia at Suns of Beaches (SOB), which is a hostel on a secluded part of the island.
Koh Rong is known for its parties & it’s sewage water (yes, this is real & as disgusting as it sounds) but if you walk an hour around the island through other beaches & jungle you will find yourself at a beautiful beach with clean sparkling water & white sand. At SOB time disappears, shoes stay off, beer is cold, & there’s not a worry in the world. The waves are beautiful, hammocks are comfortable & the breeze is always blowing. People go to SOB to chill out (aka smoke weed) & to enjoy paradise.
I was happy on the island. I had everything I needed; a beautiful beach, good books, cute guys to flirt with (well, attempt to), a bed to sleep in, free food & alcohol and good company.
Every day I did the same thing. Some may call this boring, but I call it living in seclusion with no phone & paradise at my toes.
Every day I woke up with the sun (thank you natural body clock) & either fell back asleep or continued to watch the sun rise & go for a morning swim. After my swim, my hangover would hit me like a ton of bricks as I ate a tomato & onion omelet & laughed about the night before.
Depending on my mood & when I worked that day, I would start drinking around… let’s say 1:30 pm. Give or take a couple hours. Because if I had the morning shift (7 am- 4 pm) I had a bloody mary after the morning rush at 10:30 am. If I had the late night shift I would hold off on drinking liquor until 6 pm. This may not sound that bad, but what I forgot to mention was we seemed to look at beer as water. In my mind, drinking didn’t start until I drank liquor.
Everyday staff had fried rice for lunch because the cost to make 10 plates is probably less than a dollar. The only way to get through the repetitive meal was to wash it down with an ice cold beer, a Klang to be exact. Klang means strong in Khmer & is a cheap beer that tastes like beer flavored water.
Side note: Hell will freeze over before I eat fried rice again.
Above: Family style red curry, rice & baguettes (one of my favorite meals at SOB).
After lunch, I’d take a beer over to a hammock to read, write or nap. Which is insane!! If you know me, you know that I don’t nap. I’ve never been good at it & it always seemed pointless. But when you’re 3 or 4 beers deep & on a beach, a nap is a brilliant idea.
Work was a lot of fun! The westerner’s worked front of house. We bartended, ran food and checked in & out guests. I loved the job. I felt proud of SOB & I wanted to show guests how amazing our little side of the island was. I also loved the group of people I worked with. It was fascinating to live with & learn from the Khmer staff. (I will get into more details about them in a future post).
Life on the island was addictive. How could one not be addicted when you’re working & living in paradise for free, with amazing staff & enough alcohol that even Jack Sparrow couldn’t finish the barrel.