Our accommodation was a little rustic and set in the beautiful, lush hillside. We had a quick swim before lunch to cool down, which was bliss. Walking to the beach after lunch we noticed dark clouds moving quickly towards us and we sought shelter in a roadside cafe. The downpour didn't last long and I left the three amigos in search of a shop to purchase toothpaste and lo and behold, I spied a box of Snickers in the fridge. I haven't had a chocolate bar in a while so I gobbled one up faster than Dean could say, "Did you check the use by date?". I made my way back to the accommodation for a bit of hammock time. When the others returned with stories of crab statues, Dean flummoxing about in the sea and Cambodians on holiday, it was time for another swim in the pool.
For dinner, we foolishly walked to the Crab Market. Pretty much in darkness most of the way, occasionally lit up by headlights of tuk tuks and motorbikes. Which is exactly the opposite to what the Intrepid Guide to South East Asia advises. Admittedly the edition was published in 1994,
Nibbling fish pool
At the eco-resort.
but I did feel their advice to stay away from unlit areas could apply in this situation. Although the path was surprisingly well paved, it was a little disconcerting to find ourselves 10 minutes down the road with no lights in sight. A French couple heading towards us said it would be another 10 minutes. Grumbling along behind, with visions of disappearing down a pot hole, I was cursing Dean and Brad for this adventure (aka known as The Ordeal).
Twenty minutes after leaving the cabin, we arrived at the Çrab Market, which is actually a group of restaurants specialising in seafood. We did a march past them all but couldn't go right to the end because the area was water-logged after the afternoon's downpour. The restaurant which we agreed looked the most promising was full, so we went next door and had a very nice meal. Dean, Brad and Eleanor ordered crab, while I opted for a pepper sauce dish. A pleasant evening, only momentarily disrupted by a bug in Eleanor's eye. We didn't hang around long after dinner, although a young lady and her very demanding order would have provided some light entertainment. It was taking a
Which way do we go?
On the hike around the hill.
long time for her to actually order the food, so it would have been interesting to see her reaction when it was delivered.
The night was very still, with not a breath of wind. When the power went out about 15 minutes after I turned the light off, I thought a night without the fan would be very painful. Within minutes, however, the generator kicked in and I fell asleep to the wonderful noise of its motor.
We were keen on going for a hike around the mountain behind us, so left at 8:30 for the 8km walk. Going clockwise (against what we would later recall as sound advice), we spent the first part of the morning in shady heaven. Stopping for a gawk at Jasmine Valley Eco-resort (we had initially tried to stay here but they were fully booked), we clambered down the hill and spent 45 minutes chatting to the owner. Eleanor and Dean put their feet in the nibbling pool, providing a large orange fish with a bit of brunch. Dean had an injury from tripping over the gutter last night, so he was eager for a bit of a cleansing. The
fish appeared to enjoy his wound and his ankle came out looking a little better. The climb back to the trail wasn't as difficult as I imagined and we continued on our merry way. We didn't see any wildlife (except for a few butterflies and a giant millipede), but enjoyed the scenic viewpoints along the way. The last half hour was slightly unpleasant becasue we were in the sun and it was very warm. A dip in the pool revived us on our return and we walked into town for lunch.
Eleanor and I left Dean and Brad after a very nice luncheon at one of the restaurants near the car park. The boys were in the process of negotiating a boat trip, taxi to Sihanoukville and who knows what else with some drivers at another restaurant. The conversation kept going in circles, so we headed up the hill and spent the afternoon doing some maths and reading up on Cambodia. The rains came in again during the afternoon, so we settled in for the evening. A surprisingly good feed filled our bellies and Eleanor and I retired to bed early. Dean and Brad walked to the seafront for
a couple of quiet ones in hammocks.
I fell asleep with Eleanor and Brads' cheer stuck in my head. They had made up a chant after we discovered we could use wifi (we thought there wasn't any) but didn't want to tell Dean. It goes something like this: Give me an S! Give me a P! Give me an R-I-N-G! What does it spell? springvalley! (Lower case, no space) springvalley! (Lower case, no space). Give me a W! Give mean I! Give me an F and an I! What does it spell? WIFI password! Don't tell dad!
The two of them chanted that for a better part of a day. Dean didn't realise what it meant until I caved and told him about the password.
Waking up with the chant still ringing in my ears, we had a leisurely breakfast before meeting the tuk tuk driver at 8:30 for an excursion to Rabbit Island. Taken to a jetty, we boarded a boat with three other people and set off with both engines running. There is very little serenity on a boat in Asia. After offloading the other passengers, we continued to what I
All in a days work
Driving us to Rabbit Island
thought was Snake Island. No. About 100m offshore, the captain (?) dropped anchor and lit a cigarette. Was this where we were supposed to snorkel? Nothing in and around the water gave any indication that this was a place of underwater wonderland. The nearby fishing boats were also a bit of a clue that we wouldn't be finding Nemo here. Apparently this was the place as our captain laid down for a little nap. Dean, Eleanor and Brad fussed around with ill-fitting masks and jumped in. Eleanor had had enough within minutes and after 20 minutes of floating around in murky water with little chance of seeing anything, we headed back to Rabbit Island. And there we stayed until the clouds and thunder started rolling in.
As on previous nights, 4pm was around about the time the rains came. I wanted to be on that boat at 3:30 and after a few anxious moments, we set off at 3:35. The sea was slightly rough (not like that ride around the Perenthian Islands, Jeannine, but getting in the vicinity) and I was copping a fair spray every time the boat rolled into a wave. We arrived back before the downpour
commenced and even had time for a final swim in the pool. We had to stop by the post office so I could buy a couple of stamps and I was convinced I had walked in on a robbery. A guy reluctantly sold me two stamps for less than what I paid in Phnom Penh and then didn't give me any change! Dean bought some iodine for his open wound from the local pharmacy, and that exchange reminded me of my Japanese chemist experience. Oh the joys of needing medical attention in a foreign country!
The accommodation at Koh Rong hadn't been sorted, so Dean was juggling Internet inquiries and a borrowed mobile phone. Who said men couldn't multi-task? Well, later on, we realised Dean probably needed some help. After 45 minutes, he reported success. To celebrate, we jumped in a tuk tuk to the Crab Market. I wanted to eat at the restaurant where Obie had his best meal ever. The tuk tuk driver arranged to pick us up at 8:30, waiving his fare, saying he'd collect it on the return trip.
Over a very nice dinner, Brad and I proceeded to argue about something and after
a while, Eleanor told us that she'd had enough and we had been at it for 45 minutes. At 8:20, we left and another driver approached us, saying his friend was busy (but the first part of this exchange was quite confusing). I made us wait until 8:30, just to see if the other driver turned up, but he didn't, so we accepted his friend's ride. All in all, not a satisfactory evening for me. I guess I need to be a little more trusting. Hmmm.
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