Bar Chat with an Expat in Cambodia
When I first got to Sihanoukville I had a really long and informative chat with a western expat girl named Nero. She was a 30ish year old lesbian from Finland who had lived in Snooky for a while. She dealt poker games at a local bar and her pay was a quarter out of every hand she dealt. Considering how slow moving drunken bar games are her pay was not very much.
We chatted for almost 2 hours which is a really long time for an antisocial guy like myself. The chat went all over the place, and I will mention some of the key things she said. From time to time I may post in italics and that will be me giving my opinion on whether she was right or not based on my experiences living there. For the most part she was spot on, and might help other expats in Cambodia.
- She got dengue fever and said if you ever get it you should take only paracetamol. She went to CT clinic (the “best” medical place in Sihanoukville) but wouldn’t stay the night because there are so many mosquitoes in there that are biting other sick people and she didn’t want to catch anything else. (On my few visits there I saw a bunch of very sick looking Khmers in overnight beds and there is no way I would have wanted to stay there for any reason.)
- If you ever get pulled over driving a motorcycle in Cambodia you should just hand the cop a dollar quickly and try to drive off. The cops make about $100 a month and even a small “bribe” will get you on your way. If you are carrying something illegal never keep it in the small compartment under your seat because that is the first place they will look if they stop you. Much better keeping it on your person.
- When I was first at the bar she worked at one of the girls working there was staring at me the entire time. She was the cutest one working there and I was quite interested. I had made a mental note to chat with her the next time I was in the place. I mention this to Nero and say that I had heard that the bar she worked at had no barfines and she laughs for 2 minutes straight. There goes my feeling dead sexy because the girl wanted me so bad.
- Every bar in Snooky that has girls is barfineable accept for the ones right on the beach because they don’t want pro’s in the tourist area. She said that sometimes girls will be your “girlfriend” for a month for a small fee and follow you around like a puppy because they don’t want any other girl to steal you away.
- I asked her about non pros and she said it’s very hard and will take a lot of work. Cambodian women fall in one of two categories. Good girls that won’t put out until they fall in love, or pros. Not every single girl in Cambodia is like that, but 99% are. She also said it’s very hard to marry a Cambodian woman, you will need to show proof of $1400 a month income to do so. Most guys living in Cambodia don’t earn that much or can’t prove it.
- You will almost never see a girl alone at night and girls are very afraid to live alone. The reason for this is that they believe in ghosts and are scared if they are alone the ghosts will get them. She also said that they never want to be seen walking anywhere because they don’t want to look poor. Even though they make $3 a day they will still pay $1 for a ride to save face. (Amazing how people all over Asia think walking is so horrible. It’s even worse in Phils)
- I asked her if I needed to be worried about any scams and she said they are very rare in Cambodia. That the police and people do not think 2 moves ahead at all. They won’t plan out any sort of scam. If something falls in their lap they will gladly take it, but there won’t be any set ups. (I found this to be quite true in other areas as well. If someone has the chance to make $10 that day but it will burn their chance at a guaranteed $100 next week they will take the guaranteed $10 right then.)
- Cambodia would be a perfect place for anyone on the run to stay even though they have extradition. No one from Cambodia would ever come searching for you and you can hop around from guesthouse to guesthouse giving fake names and no one will ever be the wiser.
- If anyone tries to tell you they have coke they are lying. There is some heroin around but it will have been stepped on 20 times and be awful quality. There are lots of drugs in Cambodia but many of them are fake. There is no reason for someone to try and sneak expensive drugs into a country that the average local or even backpacking tourist can not afford. Expats in Cambodia have died overdosing on heroin they thought was coke.
- If you ever get in trouble and are taken down to the police station keep a smile on your face. Chat up the cops and offer to buy them some whiskey. Then you can say you are sorry for what you caused and offer them some money. They will probably let you out of the cell and you will sit around and drink with them for a bit and then say you need to go and they will probably let you.
Those were the main things we talked about. That was a very helpful chat for a first time expat in Cambodia like me and I learned a lot from it. She seemed like one of the more reliable people I met in my entire time in Snooky. Even though I never actually needed a hammer, if for some reason I ever did she would have been the one I called on to borrow from.