Remember how in my last posting I talked about what a nice time I had on Koh Rong? Strolling to the gorgeous beach over a hill, spending all day idly lounging around drinking coconut juice and swaying to and fro in a hammock? Well, I left out an important part of the experience. When I arrived at the beautiful beach, the owner of the bungalows immediately launched into being very friendly with me -- asking where I was from, where I'd come from, where I'd been staying, how I'd heard about the Village across the hill. Not wanting to be rude, I answered the questions, not sure where the natural boundaries in another culture exactly lay. An hour after listening to a couple dirty/inappropriate jokes and the plots of two Friends episodes recounted, I finally politely requested to be left alone for a bit to nap in peace.
Eventually, I headed up to the restaurant and the owner and his sister came and sat with me, asking more questions about my personal life and marvelling at my age (OK, that was very flattering). Being in a pretty laidback mood, I answered the questions, laughed, and went on my merry way to enjoy the ocean.
The next day I went back for more of the same (the downside to the village where I was staying is that it's completely removed from any other beaches -- the whole island, despite being comparable in size to Hong Kong, is essentially undeveloped, meaning you can barely get from one side of the island to another without a personal connection/motorbike). Again, the owner came to talk to me, ask me questions about stuff, and again, I ate lunch at the restaurant, and got stuck during a tropical downpour for an hour chit chatting away. During the rain, the owner's dad joined us, and at that point, the marriage propositions began, which consisted of "marry my son" and the dad pointing at his chest while saying "father in law" over and over.
I graciously laughed and again went on my merry way to swim in the ocean before heading back to the village.
The next day on the ferry back to Sihanounkville, who should be a passenger on the boat but my friend the bungalow owner and who should be captaining the boat but his father. Mr. Bungalows asked if I'd sit with him on the boat, and I said no. We got off in Sihanoukville and I waved Mr Bungalows a brief goodbye before hopping in an overpriced tuktuk and heading back to Otres Village.
A few hours later, I was hitting publish on my last blog post and had picked up a book to read. Then I heard Clare calling to me from outside my bungalow.
"Oh Jennifaaaah," she said. "You have a vistor."
Who could it be? My first thought was, perhaps a friend from home has read my blog posts and has come to join me! My second thought was, shit, it's Mr Bungalows.
I made my way to the common 'living' area in the front part of Mama Clare's. There was Mr Bungalows, chatting away with Clare's boyfriend. Or, better putting, chatting at Clare's boyfriend, who was half-listening while staring into his laptop.
Mr Bungalows hunkered himself down and peppered Clare with questions about her property and the tourist season and such, and Clare politely answered and gave advice. I sat there awkwardly trying to decide the best way to get rid of him.
"So you're staying at your aunt's tonight. What time is she expecting you back?" I asked, hoping he'd take the hint.
"I'm an adult! I can do whatever I want," Mr Bungalows informed me.
OK, so that didn't work. A couple hours had passed since his unexpected arrival. Clare had gone in the kitchen to make dinner. The boyfriend went upstairs with the laptop.
"Look, it's really nice that you came," I said. "But I was reading when you came and I'd like to go read."
"You go read."
"Well, I mean, it's not polite to Clare to leave you here and expect her to entertain you."
"No, no, I came to see Clare. You go read. You go read."
"What I'm trying to say is, I think you should leave."
"No, I will talk to Clare. You go read. You go read."
He said it so many times, I got exasperated and left. Finally, after everyone had finished eating, I tiptoed outside and peered towards the common room.
"He's gone," said Clare. "You can come out now."
I gratefully sat down and more gratefully, enjoyed some dinner (I was hungry, and it was late).
"He liiiikes you," said Clare's boyfriend. "He wants to marry you and take you back to the island."
"Well, it's not happening," I said. "I have no interest in living on a small remote island off the coast of Cambodia running a bunch of bungalows."
I finished my food and retired once again to my treehouse, read for a bit, then tucked my mosquito net around my bed and fell asleep to the gentle whirring of the fan and dreamt beautiful dreams. At least, I am sure they were beautiful dreams because when a high-pitched voice outside the treehouse interrupted my sleep, I felt like I had been ripped away from a sweet and happy place and was angrier than ever.
"Jenny! Jenny! Come outside!"
I tried to physically open my eyes. It was light outside, but barely. I picked up my phone. 6:14 am.
OMG, it's Mr F@#$(!@& BUNGALOWS.
I flung up the mosquito net and opened the door to the treehouse. There he was, holding a bouquet of yellow flowers.
"What!? What do you want?"
(Sidenote: if you know me well, you know that to awaken me from my slumber is to awaken a dragon of rage. Sleep, like ice cream and vacation days, are some of our most precious commodities and to wreck them for someone is an egregious sin, in my very humble but also very TRUE opinion.)
"I want to talk to you!" He handed me the bouquet.
"No! I am sleeping."
"I don't have much time because I have to take the boat back to the island with customers. We have to talk now."
"No. [Mr Bungalows], this is very inappropriate. This is not OK."
"But I want to talk to you."
"No, this is not OK."
"Well, can you help me with the copy for my website then?" He motioned to get his computer out of his laptop bag.
"Just help with the words."
"No! Because I have been sleeping and was asleep and it's inappropriate that you are here!"
I was starting to raise my voice.
"OK, OK, OK."
Mr Bungalows turned.
"Look, have a nice trip back to the island. Thanks for the visit yesterday." Of course in the midst of this, I feel the sudden need to be polite and end things on a nice note. "Send me the copy by email and I'll take a look."
"OK, bye Jenny."
With that, I shut my treehouse door, set the flowers on a shelf, and fell back asleep under the mosquito net. And now I can add "Cambodian man shows up unexpectedly on treehouse doorstep with a bouquet of flowers at 6:14am" to my list of life experiences, an experience I never thought I'd had and hopefully won't have again.