Part Two: On the empty street that leads to the sea

Part one is here. This is part two.

In my head, I’m telling this as a funny story, like it’s the Edgewater Lounge and it’s time for another PBR. But even though it’s sort of funny, it’s sort of more. It was the first time on this journey that I struck out with completely blind trust. I didn’t actually want to sit by myself all weekend on a deserted island. Secretly I hoped for magic. I was a miner panning for gold, a high five from the general cosmos and maybe a visit from the tooth fairy.  If the tooth fairy could bring you some pals and didn’t actually require compensation in teeth.

It is, still, kind of a funny story.

The bus drops me off at a weatherbeaten statue, on an empty street that leads to the sea. In the distance, water laps at the rocky shore. It’s both eerie and beautiful, the same quiet I’ve felt in a dark theater after the audience goes home, a gaping vaccuum where the chaos was but an energy that lingers. This was a busy French resort town, back in the country’s heyday, and now it’s practically deserted.

I’ve traveled light. A small messenger bag, sundress and sandals. I will get a cup of coffee at that cafe by the water and collect my thoughts, figure out what’s next. I walk slowly down the long road to the sea, settle down at a bamboo table and order a syrupy Khmer coffee from the laminated menu.

The coffee arrives, black as tar, and I shovel in sugar from the little jar. Then a tuk-tuk driver approaches, because this cafe, apparently, is also the major depot for tuk-tuks. By “major depot” I mean that there are two. I don’t need a tuk-tuk, I say, I am going to rent a moto. He can help me rent one, he says. He knows just the place.

From a few tables over, I hear chuckles and laughter. A few young Khmer men leaning back in their bamboo chairs, overhearing this and thinking it’s the funniest idea ever. So that, of course, seals it. I will definitely be renting a moto. I put aside the coffee and we are on our way.

Next post: Born to ride.

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