Saturday, 2 March 2013

Cruising in Kampot

All aboard!!!!
Our journeys on this trip so far have never been without incident. Otres Beach to Kampot was no different. The minibus picked us and another couple up and we joined a further four people already on the bus. With everyone's luggage on the back seat it was cramped but manageable. To our surprise, we went on to pick up a further six people, filling the bus's seat capacity, using the back seat for bums not luggage. Everyone looked with intrigue as to where the luggage would now go. "No problem" explained the driver, "I tie them to the back of the bus!". In a method similar to the game Tetris, he balanced all the bags on top of each other with some rope, securing them to the open boot and we headed off. Amazingly they all survived the two hour bumpy trip and we made it to the sleepy river town of Kampot unscathed.

The old bridge
The town was one of the last strong-holds for the Khmer Rouge, before the Vietnamese forced them out. Despite this happening over 30 years ago, it feels like it happened more recently due to it's abandoned burnt out buildings and eerie silence throughout. We weren't quite sure about the place initially, but as a few people commented, it's quiet simplicity kind of grows on you. It lends itself to a low key cafe and restaurant culture with a nice mix of tourists and locals.



We divided our time between wondering or cycling around the town where I got a fantastic haircut for $2 including a massage, river cruises and a day trip. Our night cruise along the river in the hunt for fireflies was fun. With just the two of us and a non-English speaking skipper, we cruised in the pitch dark without a glimpse, wondering if we would actually see any fireflies. The fun started when suddenly we became grounded and the driver whipped his trousers off, jumped in and pushed us clear! After a quick pee off the back of the boat (by this time we think he may be drunk) he got his act together, cut the engine and waited quietly for the lights to appear. Millions of them lighting up the trees and bushes like fairy lights. Spectacular, and in fact we managed to hold one that was low enough to be captured. The strange trip turned out to be a winner.

Durian Fruit
We also did a cycling tour along the river, into the countryside, passing by little villages. Such a wealth of unusual things grow here and we were delighted to discover cotton plants, mangos, mangosteen, jack fruits and the seriously big, ugly durian fruits to name a few. Our biggest delight was discovering the cashew trees with their funny yellow fruit and the nut poking out on the outside! Lunch was at our guide's riverside house where we met his family and swam in the river from a pontoon. We ended a lovely day with a sunset cruise along the river.


Cotton plant
Cashew nut fruit
Playing in the river
Sunset cruise
Spot the dog!!!!
Our plan of going on the wagon in Kampot went down the drain when we met a lovely Austrian couple, Robin and Isabelle, who we enjoyed more than a few beers with and a lot of very interesting, varied and passionate conversations.


1 comment:

  1. Do you think he would have been able to strap my wheelchair onto the back as well? It's surprising what people do in other countries when there are no health and safety laws. They seem to get away with it most of the time!! Marlene