23rd Sept: Up early, got showered, dressed and packed up. Had breakfast and then was picked up by the mimibus to go to Kampot. It was more like a van and a bit uncomfortable, but it was quick and I was dropped off at a random guesthouse at 10 am. Had a look at the guesthouse, not bad a little grubby but fine. Plus I couldn't be bothered to cart my backpack off and look for somewhere else. Had a nice ice coffee and then decided to head out and have a look around Kampot.
Kampot was ok, there wasn't really anything to see or do in the town, so I just exchanged my book at a bookshop and took a wander along the river. It was really pretty along there and there was loads of people out thyere enjoying the sunshine. Had lunch at Sisters II cafe. All the Sisters cafes, in various locations in Cambodia, were set up by orphans to support themselves and their families. The woman who ran the cafe was really sweet and a pleasure to talk to. Her two children were absolutely adorable. I then went for a further wanderand ended up getting very
lost. However I managed to find my way back to the guesthouse and sat outside in the sun, reading my book and chatting to a couple of the lads that worked there. Had some dinner, booked a couple of trips for the next couple of day and then had an early night.
24th Sept: Up bright and early again! I was meant to be going on a trek to Bokor Hill Station today, but when I went for breakfast, the guesthouse informed me that the truck that was meant to take us had broken down and that I should do my Rabbit Island trip instead. Paul, one of the guys from the hostel, drove me to Kep on his moto. The journey took around 40 minutes and it was really cool to drive through loads of villages and watch life as it goes by. Also I foud out that all the pop bottles you see on display along the roadsides are filled with etro for sale.
When I arrived in Kep I got to laze around on a hammock for a little while before a tuk-tuk came and took me and some others to the boat. The boat
journey to the island lasted about half an hour and was really nice. The sun was really fierce. When te boat arrived at the island I walked down to the end of the beach as it was deserted sand plonked myself down there. However my peace and solitude was short lived, as more boats turned up and moored near me. I had a lovely relaxing day on the beach reading, napping and swimming. However my lunch was rank, don't order a prawn baguette on Rabbit Island, it smelt so bad I was scared to eat it incase I got food poisoning. I think I may have just been unlucky as there are loads of little restaurants on the beach to choose from. Headed back towards the boat at half 3 and sat and had a cool drink while waiting for the boat. We were meant to leave at 4 however we didn't leave until aroun 4:45 because a couple that were on the boat had tried to walk around the island and underestimated how long it would take and had to catch a lift back off a passing fishing boat.
Arrived back at Kep and Paul was waiting to
take me back to Kampot. Spent the evening helping Votna, one of the llads that work at the guesthouse, with his English.
25th Sept: Up early again! It's getting to be quite a habit! Got picked up around nine in a minivan to go to Bokor Hill Station. There was quite a few of us squished in the van. Luckily the drive only lasted about 20 minutes. We got to the base of the mounain and had to change to a pick up truck, that was going to take us part of the way up the mountain. Lady Luck was on my side and instead of piling into the back of the pick-up with everyone else,the drivr singled me out to sit inside with him and a young lad. Score! We drove part of the way upthe mountain and then we got our to begin our trek.
The trek was up through the jungle and it was pretty easy as we took our time and stopped a few times. The jungle wasn't really what I was expectig as I thought it would have been denser. It was more like a forest. A few people were bitten by leeches,
minging! Don't think I could ever live in southeast Asia as there are far too many critters. Due to the humidity I was sweating buckets, which some Korean bloke (bloody typical) just had to comment on. When we came out of the jungle we got back in the truck and headed up to the hill station.
Bokor Hill Station was developed by the French in the early 20th century and by the 1920 loads of people were visiting the mountain for restpite from the heat and to enjoy the amenities, it had to offer. The area has been abandoned twice, the first time was in WWII when the Japanese invaded and the second was in the 1970s when the Khmer Rouge took over. It has also been used as a location for a horror movie. The Hil Station was pretty cool and really atmospheric. The whole area was covered in mist. Our first stop was the old hotel, it was amazing, there was a real sense of history to the place and it was great to imagine what it must have been like. It was really eerie and I had a good walk around going into every nook and
cranny. Also the mist was rolling in the windows, fab! The hotel must of been really grand when it was first built. I tried to search the internet to find some photos of it back in the day, but couldn't unearth anything. After lunch we wandered around some of the other abandoned buildings and then headed over to the old church. The church was covered in a lot more graffiti and not as atmospheric or as impressive as the hotel.
Back in the truck we headed back down the mountain. We got out to hike down the same route as we had come up. It started pouring with rain, thank goodness I had my poncho with me. The hike back down was very slippery due to the rain, my feet were hurting and I was knackered due to lack of caffiene by this point, not a good combination. Also my pants were caked in mud. Got back down the mountain pretty quick and back into the truck. Had to get the kid sitting next to me to remove a leech from my poncho. Then it was back on the bus and we headed back to town for our boat
cruise along the river. The boat cruise was really nice. We got to see lots of fishing boats, kayakers and houses along the river.
Back at the guesthouse, after getting cleaned up I helped Votna with his English and had some dinner. As a thank you he took he took me for a fruit shake and a cruise around Kampot on his motorbike. We went to his house, the police station, jail, across the river, the playground to go on the swings, and up out of town, where the Thai fishing boats come in. It was a really good evening, apart from falling off the bike once, luckily it was on grass, so I didn't hurt myself. Headed home around 10:30.
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