для читателей старше 18 лет
The Chronicles of Cambodia
A week after my arrival in Sihanoukville, I was rather tired of the predictable life of a settled tourist. Staying at a snug little house right on the shore of the Gulf of Siam, I kept feeling I was looking at the world through a well-polished, barely visible glass. I set off to a place, where you could hardly hear a foreign tongue and where you wouldn’t have pancakes with strawberry jam for breakfast.
After roaming several miles away from popular tourist places, I found myself on a plain narrow cobblestone street packed with small hair salons, bars and various street food stalls. I turned from the main street onto one of the numerous side streets, walked several yards along a high brick wall and was happy to discover a cozy courtyard surrounded by three houses. On one of the porches several middle-aged women were sitting absorbed in a cash card game. At the same time they were giving instructions to the pedicurists almost lying on the ground at the women’s feet. I addressed one of the players with a question, if she had a room for rent in this wonderful and peaceful nook. Her card partner gave an affirmative answer at once and invited me to see the place.
Having negotiated the price for a while, I paid several tens of dollars and became a rightful tenant of a tiny room located on the ground floor of one of the three houses, overlooking a piece of a brick wall and a narrow strip of the sky as a perk. The delighted landlady handed me a heavy padlock and a small key, hurried back to the game and placed all the rental income on a bet then and there. At any time of the day or evening she could be seen at the same place with the same people and engaged in the same fascinating pastime. However, it was rather convenient, especially when I needed her to solve some household issues.