Sometime in January 2016 my two year visa for Australia was coming to an end. Me and a friend needed to leave for a few weeks so we could get a new visa sorted and return. At the last minute we decided to book a one way flight to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
I got hold of an old friend who through the joys of social media I noticed galavanting around an interesting looking place somewhere in the country. A quick message later, he told me he was leaving to return to Camboida the next day, we arranged to meet and I was told the word 'Kerfuffle'. We departed a few days later.
Arriving in Sihanoukville I only really had one thing in mind. After a few days of hanging around, endludging in cheap beer and cheaper dope I was unable to get hold of my elsuive mate, I was able to find out more about this 'Kerfuffle'.
At around 6pm on a Wednesday a rather keen lone self jumped on the back of a locals bike, map in hand and headed for the jungle.
After a while driving I found the empty site, and just by chance my friend was walking out the entrance, if I didn’t catch him then, I would have been sat there on my own for a while. After a quick catch up we ended going back to his place, I met his friends and the 'Kerfuffle' crew. I cockaly tried blagging myself a chance to play (which didn’t happen) so at about 11pm, I headed back to the jungle.
To cut a long story short I spent the next 11 or so hours with a good few hundred people in a jungle listing to great music, doing what people do in these sort of places. An 11 hour haze in this special little place tucked away in the cambodian jungle.
Less than a week later I was back in Sydney getting up at 5am to go to work...
Leaving the next night my mate put in a word for me and I was told by one of the orangsiers I could play the following week, so off I went to an island to return 5 days later.
Less than a month later I found myself on a one way flight straight back to this new promise land I was invited to.
Kampuchea. ‘The Kingdom of Wonder’ (AKA ‘The Kingdom’ for short).. When they ask – let them wonder!
In the low lying jungle at the fall-line of the Thai Gulf, nestled between skinny palms and dopey-mulling Waterbuffalo mama puts piles of bone dry fallen fronds to the torch. Crackling orange flames, dust, the constant undercurrent of cicadas thick billows of acrid smoke illuminates frenzied party people like a tropical post apocalyptic backdrop. Barefoot, mostly, stomping, sweating and hollering. A phosphorescent fiesta extraordinaire. Faces’ painted in neo-tribal masks with feathers hanging from their ears and neck, Pippy-Hippy princesses pixi’ing around with bamboo wands, weekend shamans pounding the dirt with staffs adorned in jetsam and detritus – everywhere a glitter bukkake. A mad cacophony of seething humans, white-brown-yellow-blue-purple-pink, howling accompanied with the omnipresent South East Asian profusion of sweat. A lost tribe from some galaxy a long-long time ago, far-far away – AKA ‘Kerfuffalites’.
That first humble lost-boys corroboree was nearly four years ago now and a lot has changed; But also, somehow, not. The first year, with a small crew of elite level ninjas every week we moved location. As well as the famed palm tree plantation, we hired out a water park – fully equip with inflatable twenty five foot jumping castle/water slide and a pool full of Zorb-Balls, managed to convince one of our good friends to let us decorate a portion of their farm for a good ol’ fashion barn-yard ho’ down; and last but not least, organized the most debauched and simultaneously dangerous ‘boat-party’, the infamous “Aquafuffle” which was only, finally, disbanded after five concussions, ten stitches, and formal fine from the Cambodian Navy for sound pollution all in a single days outing. Still with our skeleton crew of four, the logistics of changing location weekly became too much and we decided to stay-put with ol’ mamasan who liked lighting fires. Only this time we brought a little more lighting of our own, our very own Ferris-wheel.
‘Ferris-wheel’ might be a bit of a romantic description if truth be told. Our twenty something carriage widow-wagon is more like a big-kids mechano set welded by a twelve year old, with spray painted carriage numbers and occy-straps holding the hinged cage doors in place. The whole operation is run by a diesel engine doctored to the steering column of a old motorbike. A proper, authentic, third world death-trap.
The aptly named ‘High-Season’ (November-May), is the busiest period for tourism for the mostly expat run bars and guesthouses that mottle the postcard white beaches of Otres Beach. Returning for our second ‘season’ our main crew of organizers consisted Elsa AKA Snowflake, the token female of the crew, as mad or arguably madder than any other Fin I know; Larry, AKA Lorilla, the one man army, a load-mouthed yet somehow lovable Texan; Myself, and the one and only Mr. Dave Breeze AKA Worzel Gummidge, the mad professor behind the whole operation, both of us typically Australian - typically obnoxious. With a bit of local collaboration and a whole lot of local know how we secured a fixed location for the entirety of the season.