Jan 15 2013
When Sihanoukville’s Q&A Books and Cafe relocated from Ekareach Street to Ochheuteal’s Mithona Street in 2009, they took the last available shop on the beach side of the road. This was fine for the local cows, who fed on the tufts of grass next door, but not so great for the burgeoning tourist industry. Within a matter of months, though, bulldozers took over the cows’ turf. Since then, the beach side of Mithona Road has continued to develop and Q&A is now sandwiched between dozens of other establishments. What’s happening on Mithona Street and what will you find there?
What you won’t find on this side of Mithona Street is accommodation. From the looks of it, Sihanoukville’s town planners decided this side of the road, from the T-junction at the bottom of Mithona Road to the car park at the official entrance to Ochheuteal beach, was to be low rise and low rent. No sooner is a batch of shops erected than it is filled with small businesses. Some, like Apollo 2 and Nice Foods 3, are spin-offs of successful Khmer restaurants. Others, like JJ’s Apparel, are outgrowths of successful Western-run establishments. Still others are start-ups running the gamut from pizza and tattoo parlours to travel and real estate agencies.
Since this part of Mithona Road is opposite some of Sihanoukville’s larger hotels and guesthouses and directly in front of the road that connects Mithona Road with Tola Street, it has always been prime real estate. The only thing holding it back was the fact that land titles hadn’t been sorted out. Once that was accomplished, the area’s transformation began in earnest.
With all the construction going on, the road is looking a little scruffy, but that doesn’t seem to be deterring visitors from extending their afternoon walks down Mithona Street from Serendipity Road to check out what’s new and different on this former cow pasture. Once the last row of shops is finished and the monsoon rains have had a chance to wash the construction dirt and sand away, Mithona Street’s new image will be complete and next year’s crop of new visitors will think the bars, restaurants and shops have been there forever.
Meanwhile, unimpressed by development, the cows are ignoring the new restaurants and looking for their meals on the big field between the backs of the shops and the beach front restaurants. This may be a temporary solution, though, because there are already signs of development there, too. Never mind. While Tola Street, too, is filling up fast, Kakda Street, the third road back from the beach, remains relatively untouched and there’s plenty of fresh grass there for them to feed on. True, they’ll have to walk a little further to get to the beach, but cows don’t seem to like sunbaking in the sand anyway, so maybe it’s not a problem.
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