The rain had stopped for a few days the Kampot river glistened in the sun , children saying hello to me ,the puppies thriving they are little fatties and mother is so good with them but I had to say farewell to all the dogs, the river and my friends old and new as it was end of my visa so here I am in Bangkok.
My son and his girlfriend (Ben & Bec) arrived on Friday, I took them for dinner , sounds very generous of me I know but a pizza , a starter of Guacamole and a few beers only came to $15 US . I then took them to my friends floating bar the Green Boat , such an iconic boat , we had a few beers well I had one bourbon and watched the lights of Kampot all razzle dazzle at night as all boats are lit up as well as the bridges. Ben and Bec wanted to go to Kep as did I so I met them the next day and we hired a tuk tuk to take us the 30 minute drive, we wanted an open style tuk tuk so we could see everything and feel the wind in our hair. In Cambodia at the moment they are widening the road all the way from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville which passes Kampot. Now to start with it was a windy warm day, that means dust, and a lot of it, a lot of the householders along the way were watering the road in front of their homes to stop the dust, you wouldn’t be able to hang your washing out that’s for sure. After many bumps, potholes in the road we made it onto the last bit of sealed road for the most calm 5 minutes of the trip. We stopped at the famous Kep Crab market, the sea comes right up to the edges of the market, fisherwomen throw the crab pots out then drag them in with crabs in them , amazing, you can buy a crab then take it too a cooking stall and they will cook it for you, we didn’t bother but there was so many fish stalls, prawns hustle and bustle, a great experience. We had hired our tuk tuk driver for a few hours , $25 US for the time. He then took us further along the coast , I saw my first glimpse of a monkey in 7 months!! Arriving at the coast I saw what my friends had told me , families upon families set up a position on the boardwalk they had big mats and tarps to cover their area a lot had feasts of crabs they had no doubt bought at the market, karaoke machines being set up for the nights fun, children played on the sand and in the sea , walking along the fore shore on the road you can see glimpses at once were the holiday homes of the French merchants and bureaucrats all a pile of rubble now during the civil war these homes were destroyed by the Kmer rouge and stripped of valuables by the retreating Vietnamese. With the burgeoning tourist industry in Cambodia Kep may once again become the Riviera of the east and these fabulous seaside mansions may be resurrected , probably to the detriment of all the happy local families enjoying their weekends by the seaside. On our journey back we saw the infamous crab in the sea, my photo was not good sorry, and the white lady waiting for her fisherman husband to return from the seas, the people in my photo are Ben &Bec. So we headed home , already my hair was full of dust, sand and seabreeze, so more dust was added to the mix but as we neared the outskirts of Kampot a gravel truck had just dumped about 10 cms of stones causing our tuktuk to get bogged in the gravel so we got out and pushed the tuk tuk out of this predicament, luckily we are all country folk and used to pushing broken down vehicles , we jumped back in the poor driver and passengers, well we couldn’t take any more so he said he would take us through the salt fields to get into Kampot the back way. The salt fields were visible but salt is only harvested in the dry season however you could feel the salt in the air and it wasn’t long until we could taste it not to mention it coating my hair. We eventually arrived back and headed straight to the Green Boat to watch the fishing fleet head out to sea, after I took them to have my favourite dumpling soup then they walked me home met the puppies , I finally looked in the mirror, wow what a fright I was I almost had dreadlocks and my face had been exfoliated as well as wind burnt and salt encrusted but what a great adventure to have with my son and Bec. The water in Kampot is hard water so even after washing my hair with lots of conditioner it still looked and felt like it was full of dust!!!The weather was blissful , when we met for lunch the next day my friend and mine host of the Green Boat Tim saw us and said he was going to a friends place up the river would we like to come so we jumped into his Tuk tuk and went to this great place a backpackers hostel on the river you can sit in big comfy chairs chill out and listen to great music watching the river rush by, I could see my son loved it so they ended up booking in there for their last few nights 7 dollars US a night. I think they fly back to Melbourne on Friday. So I said goodbye to my boy and Bec, it had been fun meeting in a exotic yet dusty location and we had made some excellent memories.
Early Monday I boarded the mini bus to take me to Phnom Penh airport, now mini buses aren’t my go to means of transport but the bigger bus wouldn’t drop me at the airport, so there were 15 of us jammed in this 12 seater bus for 4.3 hours on yet another bumpy dusty journey, dust was coming through the vents , we couldn’t move at least the aircon was working , well sort of , I began rationing my bottled water as we got caught in a traffic jam on the outskirts of PP. Finally I literally fell off the bus waved goodbye to the remaining passengers who now had more room as 3 of us got off, I was going to say disembarked but on this bus it was being released from a vapid box on wheels, I think my hair had attracted all the dust that had entered the bus . What joy to be at the airport although my flight still had 4 hours until check in so I had coffee, water, people watched, tried to clean my self up. Finally I arrived in Bangkok took a very expensive taxi ride but I purchased the ticket at the proper counter and 900 Baht was written down for my area which is Khao San Rd and Democratic monument . My accommodation is up an alley but very near a 7/11 you all know I love Thai 7/11 they are the best, it was like a celebration for me after 1 month of no 7/11’s and to find one so close. Yesterday morning I wandered down to the infamous Khao San rd known for its backpacking hostels and bars. I had washed my hair in the morning oh the joy of soft hair Thai water is so far the best for my hair, but needed some mousse which I just couldn’t get in Kampot , and good shampoo/conditioner, I also had to check out the local tourist agent Mamas tours who do a mini bus, yes another, to Pattaya where I am heading on Monday. It will be easy to book on Sunday they said and the trip is only 1 and a half hours on a sealed road, I’ve survived the Kampot mini bus chaos this should be luxury, I hope!!
Yesterday and today are Buddhist holidays Asalha Puja or Dhamma day, celebrating Buddhas first teaching day that he held on the full moon of the eighth lunar month, I realised why this throbbing metropolis was so quite a lot of shops closed and not much traffic , no alcohol is sold anywhere so bars where closed or just selling lemonade. In the afternoon I went to say goodbye to my friends who I had caught up with in Kampot, another coincidence , they were staying at a beautiful resort. It had been our plan in Kampot to sit by a pool and have a cocktail but due to our social schedule and the rain we had not enjoyed this treat so we were going to imbibe of a cocktail while dangling our feet in the pool, but alas it wasn’t to be , we were however able to have a drink their room then they took me up to the 38th floor wow Bangkok just before sunset how big is this city 9.5 million people, you do a 360 turn and can see tall buildings kilometres away on the horizon, the Chao Phraya river weaving its way through the metropolis. Thank you to Kristen and Stu for taking me up to the roof it was a memorable sight, but I had left my phone in the room so no pics. Now I had just figured out Riel and Dollars now I am back to Baht but I am happy it has come naturally to me as my Thai thankyou Kah. Last night I had some sticky rice and Papaya salad at the street stall near me it was so delicious , the lady made it fresh. The full moon was so big I managed to get a few shots. Today I will just have an easy day I will go for a walk in the evening tomorrow I want to go to the newest shopping mall I feel like a bit of glitz and glamour after my dusty days in the wild east of Kampot . I can’t wait to return there in October, at least I know what I need to bring with me , its all about my hair products that are unavailable in Cambodia. When next I write I shall be sitting by a pool in Pattaya. Lets hope my first sentence is my busride was wonderful !!
Until next time