I love to have a beer with Kev

Meet Kev. The Aussie ex-pat has the Bundy Bar in Sihanoukville’s Pub Street. Modelled on the popular Pub Street tourist hub of Siem Reap, and Bangkok’s Khaosan Road, this is a more compact version, with 8 or so small, independent bars facing onto a cul de sac, on one large block of land. It is brightly lit and has a friendly atmosphere. The bars, some with patriotic themes to appeal to Aussies, Germans, Italians etc have a couple of hostesses playing pool, who enthusiastically try to lure in passing potential patrons – who will hopefully buy them a “lady drink”. In Cambodia generally, a “lady drink” costs US$3.50, of which the girl gets US$1.50. If the girl likes the patron, she might invite him – or them, if it’s a couple – to discuss a fee for, shall we say, some “off-premises company”.  But most of the girls are discerning and won’t go with just anyone. They choose. Their cheerfulness and cheekiness masks the reason most of them are here: to earn some money for the family struggling out in the provinces. This scene is played out in all of South-East Asia’s tourism hubs. I’m not sure how these places will fare as, what I call the large Chinese “blocks of tourists” inexorably overtake the traditional “Western” individuals/couples. The bar girls are friendly and fun. Hey, a large, cold, local beer costs only US$1, so a few more bucks for her “lady drink” won’t break the bank. Oh, and I won the game of pool…

Aussie Kev owns the Bundy Bar in Sihanoukville's "Pub Street"

Aussie Kev owns the Bundy Bar in Sihanoukville’s “Pub Street”

"Which pocket you going for, Mister?" The Bundy Bar in Sihanoukville's Pub Street.

“Which pocket you going for, Mister?” The Bundy Bar in Sihanoukville’s Pub Street.

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