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Published: January 7th 2020
We spent the first half of the day Chasin' Waterfalls (Songs in your head innit?), then commenced on the 4-5hr drive to Kampot.
Shortly before we get into town, Vanny announces that there's been an issue with our hotel. Another Hotel in town (7 stories high) collapsed
, killing 36 people and injuring 26. Some the the police/rescuers/investigators ended up taking the rooms allocated for us, so our hotel moved us to another hotel instead. Given the tragedy that had occurred, the reasoning seemed ok. Vanny assured us it was a new hotel, so it didn't seem all bad.
Boy were we wrong.
We get into the hotel, it definitely doesn't look new, but hey, maybe he just meant new in ownership and it was just a misinterpretation of English. Get up to my room, open the door and notice there are cobwebs and dead bugs on the walls. Slightly concerning, because usually when you can see obvious dirt in a Hotel, there's more. I needed to squirt so I go to the toilet. It looked like there was spit/vomit or something in the bowl. Gross. I get the butt dance sprayer and wash the toilet with it. Get the power going, the TV turns on and starts belting out some Thai football - cool, but way to loud. Get the remote... Ok - the remotes dirty.
I'm not feeling very good about this, so a couple of the girls are across the hallway and I ask if their room looks ok, they think so aside from a spider. Go back to my room and notice a long black hair on the top of my bed. Pull back the sheets and not only is there a few black hairs in there (I'm blonde), the sheets don't look like they've been washed. Gross. The more I look around the room, the more I notice it hasn't been cleaned.
I go to tell Vanny and hear other people from the group complaining to him - they moved rooms, so Vanny gave them his (nice guy). He goes in there with them, I told them to check the sheets, they pull it back and there was something in the sheets. I didn't quite see, but it looked black like maybe a spider or something. As it turns out, there had already been another 2 people move rooms due to issues.
Vanny starts kicking off at them in Khmer, then calls Intrepid and kicks off at them too. Basically he had spent all day too-ing and fro-ing trying to sort out somewhere for us and their alternative was this dog shit hotel. I couldn't understand what he was saying, but I certainly heard "This is shit."
The hotel is forced to re-clean 3 rooms at 5pm at night, while we all go out for a quick walk around town and a dinner.
Kampot does some of the best pepper in the world and is also known for doing really good sea salt. We've got a free day, so 4 of us decide to spend half of it visiting the salt & pepper fields.
The Salt fields are well, a waste of time. Literally looking at a muddy patch of water, then watching a brief video on salt that tells you salt is a miracle cure and helps with everything known to man. "Eat Salt and you'll have great sex!" - ridiculous. They actually had the fields being harvested the day before, so we missed out on that.
Next was off to the Pepper Fields. Kampot has some of the best pepper in the world and the locals use it in all sorts of dishes - including drinks and deserts. I had no idea what a pepper plant even looked like, hence why I went along. It's basically a vine.
We wondered round looking at pepper plants with a Cambodian guide rushing us along telling us in broken English about it. In Cambodia, you have to take your shoes off - usually when entering a religious site, but also a lot of people have adopted it for their house & businesses. We took our shoes/jandals off and We then go for a pepper tasting and sample the many different pepper versions & kaffir leaf. By the time they bring out the 3rd lot of pepper, you can barely taste anything and it burns a little, so everything subsequently is hard to be objective about.
We go to leave, I go to collect my jandals.. they're gone. I had moved them around the other side of the stairs intentionally and put them on the rack as we were going to leave that side. Wonder round the other side, there's a worse pair of similar jandals - I wonder if someone had taken them by accident, but ultimately, they're gone. I walk barefoot back to the Tuk Tuk. We go for a drink along the way, I feel quite self conscious rocking the toes, like a hobo. Thankfully our new Hotel we've been moved into is ready and I can get my shoes from my bag and resume the rest of my holiday - non-barefoot.
My jandals were old and needed replacing, so I'm not too gutted about it, it's more the inconvenience of being stuck in an incredibly hot country, so wearing shoes can be uncomfortable at times. Add to that, Asians in general have small feet - finding something my size, that isn't going to break within a few days isn't really ideal.
Have lunch, get a $13 massage then in the evening we go for a boat cruise along the Praek Tuek Chhu river. The boat cruise is nice, being able to see Kampot from the water. There are a few bridges along that way that are really low, so when you're on the top deck, you have to duck otherwise you'll get decapitated.
Kampot as a city is really interesting. This was where we'd seen the most foreigners - especially old white men. There's a sign up in on of the bars that made reference to the child sex trade "Don't turn away, turn them in" or something along those lines. It's pretty fucking disturbing when you consider there are more white people here than any of the other city's I've been in in Cambodia. One of the bars we went and played pool at later - was a working bar - lots of Cambodian women wearing hardly any clothing, clinging onto fat old white men. It was gross.
Anyway, overall it was a pretty chill day, tomorrow we're of to Phnom Penh - the capital city.
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