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Gone walkabout

Cambodia part 2

CAMBODIA | Friday, 24 August 2012 | Views [1977] | Comments [1]

Cambodia part 2
Sitting here at Olly's place by the river in Kampot. Finally found somewhere in Cambodia to stop and chill. Free paddle boards, only 4 bungalows @ $5/night close to the coast its cool. 
Phnom Phen was hectic and busy and hot. Still the Killing fields and S21 torture museum are a must to help comprehend what happened to these people. 
We had arrived in Battanbang after an incredible boat trip. After checking the town out we decide to hire a bike and head off through the countryside. We have a dodgy photocopy map to guide us. It's a shocker of a map, so we get by asking locals for directions. This means knowing one word in Cambodian to where you are heading. They point left, right or straight ahead. You say akun (thanks) and away we go until the next crossroad, stopping to ask again. Riding through rice padis, villages and jungle we reach the famous 'bamboo railway' or what turns out to be the end of the line. For $5 we arrange to get a ride back to Battanbang on the train. This is no ordinary train, though! The carriage is about the size of a double bed, made out of bamboo, with metal dumbells as the axle and wheels. The whole thing is designed to be dismantled, and thrown to the side of the track when two 'trains' meet head on. Our train was loaded with 4 people, the driver and our motorbike. I got to sit on the bike because there wasn't enough room to sit down with the others. At least I had a comfortable seat as I watched Leeanne rattling away on the rickety track! Great fun and highly recommended.
Kampot is a great chill out spot down the bottom of Cambodia. It is only half an hour to the coast, but well worth staying here before hitting the salt water. The river is really clean, great for swimming, lots of expats in town bringing there own flavour of music and nightlife. Watch out for the jugs of vodka and juice. 
Leeanne reckons the juice was spiked...yeah sure ! Bungalow accommodation is all you need for $5 a night. Lots of big lizards to share your room,
constantly looking down from the bamboo roof. Mosquito nets are needed. That goes for most of SE Asia so far. Not many mozzies, though, but best to try and avoid getting bitten. We meet heaps of travelers who tell their own Malaria/ Dengi fever stories. Hope we are a lucky!
Finally get to swim in the ocean, Gulf, after 3 months on the road. We are in Kep at the bottom of Cambodia, over toward the the Vietnam border. Just had 3 days here eating crab nearly every meal, so good.
Had one night on Rabbit Island with our new brazillian friend, the gorgeous Danielle.( 25 mins from Kep) eating crab again and laying in hammocks, sleeping in worn out bamboo huts, and sharing happy hour beers with travelers we meet and share stories with.
So many like minded people of different ages, from all over the planet. It's easy to strike new friendships in this part of the world.
Tomorrow we catch a minivan to Sihanoukville about 3 hours away. We hear it's a party town, so we might find a quiet spot to stay for a few days if we can. Otres beach is about 7 km out of Sihanoukville. It is sleepy and chilled with lots of bungalow rooms only metres from the water. We find a really cool place called Everything Is Everything, run by a young Aussie couple doing an incredible job.
They arrived here 8 months ago, intending to stay just 3 days. They bought the business and had to learn the trade as they went. If Leeanne and I weren't committed with our travel plans we would have offered to caretaker their guesthouse/ bar and give the couple a well earned break!
We team up with Sarah and Jess, our new travel buddies, and head over to Koh Rong.
To save a few dollars we even share a bungalow and split our bill. First day is spent beaching it, snorkelling and covering our bodies with deet to keep the sand flies from have a feast. The little buggers tend to leave me alone and attack Leeanne ( as usual). I reckon it's my rare blood type O RH negative which confuses them and they go for an easier target. 
We teach our travel buddies the finer skills of budget travelling, and we are nicknamed "Cheapstake Tours" ! They learn real quick as we mix our our drinks with cheap plonk, ice tea and sprite and fresh limes.
Next day we head off on a walk across the island to try and find this 7km stretch of secluded beach. After an hour climbing through jungle and abseiling down hillsides we find the beach. It is deserted, absolutely beautiful.
The sand is white, the water is crystal clear, but the sand flies are thicker than pea soup. Quickly, we cover ourselves with every chemical we can find to keep the buggers away. The girls aren't real keen on going back the same way, which means pulling yourself up rope ladders and hanging off vines through the jungle. The alternative is to find another way back which has got to be easier! Bullshit! After trying heaps of tracks only to be turned back by the jungle we find a human. I left the girls on the beach to explore a possible track and stumbled on a lone Cambodian man with a nicely sharpened axe. Our language differences mean sign language is the only way to communicate. He points and I head back to meet the girls, he decides to follow me out of the track. As I approach Leeanne and the girls I thought it would look funny if I acted out the " taken prisoner by the local" . So I put my hands up as I walk towards the girls with my new mate with the axe right behind me. Well, you can imagine how that went down! Leeanne gave me a good whack with her flip flop. I reckon I deserved it!
4 hours later we are still lost, thirsty, and running out of daylight. We come across a local family at a closed down bungalow place on the coast. They don't speak much English, and we guess they are minding the place, living there during the quiet season. Firstly, we ask for water, then we explain that we are lost and need help getting to our accomodation. An hour later we are in their fishing boat heading around the coastline home. An hour and a half later we see our guesthouse, pay the driver $5 each for his troubles and scramble back to the bar for a beer and relive our previous 8 hours. It's almost sunset and we laugh about our adventure as we compare minor cuts, bites and injuries.
Today, Leeanne and I sit on a bus as we make our way into Thailand. We try and use up any Cambodian currency and reminisce our last month in this fascinating country. Words to describe Cambodia which come to mind are: flat, the poor and the rich, deforestation, timber buildings aplenty, Angkor temple and Angkor beer, coffee, pepper and chillies, tuk tuks, war memories, smiles and hope. Until nextime, goodbye Cambodia and  'akoon'

Tags: battambang, kampot, kep, koh rong, koh tonsai, rabbit island, sihanoukville

Comments

1

just so so loved both storys.. its so great to read.. I got so entrenched in reading I forgot to print... You can set me up on a cheapscape tour of Cambodia any time... loved chatting last night... miss you both heaps.. love the pics.... xxxxxxxxniki

  niki Aug 28, 2012 2:55 PM

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