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One traveller's day-by-day account of a year-long journey through Japan, China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada

along a pleasingly smooth road in a Toyota Camry (of course!) to the beach resort of Sihanoukville, further along the coast.

The taxi driver took us to a guesthouse that had all the vibrance of deserted Bokor, and so I asked him to redirect us to one I had seen advertised in Phnom Penh. Called Gekozy, it was run by a German chap, Gunther, and his Japanese wife, Yoko. Those weren't their names. As you could expect from such a partnership, the place was spotless and ruthlessly efficent. It was also surprisingly laid back given the string of rules on the blackboard, and it lived up to its name, being, uh, cosy (complete with a sheltered garden with hammocks), and, er, absolutely full of geckos. The food was wonderful, and we all munched out as soon as we had checked in, me settling on wonderful Japanese Yakiudon.

Chipping out to probe the main strip of bars and restaurants, I very promptly got rained on, and it continued tipping relentlessly all afternoon. I legged it back to the guesthouse and holed up there, meeting up with Lynn and Anneliese a bit later for a viewing of the touching and beautiful Italian film 'Life is Beautiful' (recommended!), lounging on huge wicker chairs with fabulously comfortable cushions and knocking back a Beer Lao. Life is beautiful indeed.