|Saturday- February 18th- Sihanoukville to Kampot
took 11:30 minibus to Kampot
They kept adding people to the car and it was so crowded
Each row was only supposed to have 3 people in it but they shoved 4 people in the back seat and it was like they were all sitting on each others' laps
The guy next to me played a movie ('Little Buddha') on his huge Powerbook so the drive went by really quickly.
Got to Sihanoukville and didn't have any hostel booked so I walked around with 4 guys I met on the ride over to find a place to stay (Two guys were from Australia, one was from Poland, and one from England)
Most of the places in the center of town were booked or were over priced so we all shared a tuk tuk to a place by the river which was about 3 km away.
We finally all found a place to stay. I found a place called “Kampot Bungalow Guesthouse” and the guys I met stayed at a place next door called “Olly's Place.” My single bungalow was really... authentic. It was separated from the other bungalows on the property so I'm not sure whether they actually meant for it to be used by tourists. It was high up on stilts with two bathrooms below it. There was a steep staircase to climb up to it. There was an empty hole where the doorknob was, but it could be padlocked from the outside when I left. The only way to keep it closed from the inside was to bolt the top and of the door to the frame. The bungalow was a good size inside with two double beds and mosquito nets but there were so many areas through which insects or creatures could get into the room it was a bit frightening. There was a good amount of space between each of the planks on the floor and there a good two feet of open space between the walls ended and where the roof began. But it was $6 per night and it was by the river so I took it.
Didn't do much the first night. Went over to Olly's Place to relax, ate dinner, and the guys taught me a new card game called 'Shithead'. It was nice to hang out at Olly's Place- it is right on the river and really relaxing.
We booked a three hour 'trek' for the next day
Sunday- February 19th
Ate breakfast at Olly's Place before myself and the guys got picked up to go on the hike
Our tuk tuk driver stopped first to get gas, then at a repair shop to fix one of the arm rests, we also noticed his tires were pretty flat but didn't say anything
We went “off-road tuk tuking” to get to the start of the hike. We were bouncing up and down rolling over the rocks and through puddles. We were laughing and wondered how the tuk tuk was able to hold up through the trip. At one point the chain motorcycle suddenly stopped and one of the guys said he saw a chain fall off but the driver quickly put it back on.
The hike itself was pretty cool and more strenuous than I imagined. We walked through areas where there were lots of bananas trees and natives were picking them and putting them on their motorbikes to haul them back down the trail. We also walked past trees growing weird looking fruits which the guide explained were “cashew fruits.” In the stem of the fruit were cashew nuts, but the fruit itself was orange and tasted really weird. Kind of mix between cooked squash and soft plum, but the after taste was horrible- dried out my mouth and left a funky taste.
We stopped at a small waterfall area where there was a high cliff that you can jump off of into a small pool of water. It was way too high for my liking and you had to be sure to jump far enough away from the cliff because there were boulders that jutted out near the bottom. The two Australian guys jumped, but the rest of us politely declined.
We walked up a really steep hill for about 45 minutes to get to the big waterfall and it was really beautiful- really secluded with no other people there. The way up seemed to never end and I was completely exhausted and feeling a bit lightheaded when we finally got there.
The guys decided to do a little bit more cliff jumping but the water was way too cold for me to want to jump in. I did go swimming though and stood under the waterfall for a bit.
After hanging out at the waterfall for a little bit we walked back to the tuk tuk and were so hungry by the time we got back to the tuk tuk. The polish guy (Victor- who spells it Wictor) was not happy with the pace of our hike so he decided to go ahead of us. We were expecting to see him waiting for us by the tuk tuk but he was no where in sight. Turns out he kind of went the wrong way and found another path down to the main road so we found him at the repair shop that we had initially gone to before the hike.
We went back to Olly's Place to eat and I had the most delicious mixed fruit smoothie. I was so sick of Asian food that I ordered a hamburger and it was fantastic. It was a handmade patty with some veggies and Kampot peppercorn mixed in with it. Such a nice break from all the noodles and rice I've been having.
We took a tuk tuk and went into center of town to go to a couple travel agencies and walk around the city. We each needed to check bus prices to get to our respective next destinations. I decided I wanted to head back to Sihanoukville for a few more days so I checked out prices at different agencies. Turned out the cheapest price was booking through Olly's Place- only $5.
The city of Kampot itself is not really much to speak of. There are a couple big statues in the middle of big roundabouts. One is of a couple women carrying salt and the other is of a giant Durian with some other smaller fruit around it. Durian a really smelly fruit that looks kind of like a pineapple. Women have to wear gloves while cutting it because it stinks so bad- the fruit itself does not taste at all like it smells but I haven't ventured to try it. The smell really turns me off from wanting to try it. Other than those two statues in the middle of intersections there isn't much in the city- some guesthouses and restaurants and gas stations, but not much to see.
We sat by the river and watched the sunset behind the mountains, which was absolutely gorgeous
We went back to Olly's Place and relaxed for a little bit and played a game of Shithead before heading back into the city to get a quick dinner. Turned out not to be as fast as we hoped because it took a while to find a tuk tuk to take us back. We had dinner at a street vendor. It was a disappointing meal of stir fried ramen noodles with spinach looking veggies mixed in. We then walked down the street and tried some Cambodian street dessert. I didn't recognize any of the desserts through the window of the cart but just decided to order a cupful of everything and try it all. After the women put all the interesting looking desserts in the cup she topped it with a mound of crushed ice. I really couldn't identify anything- there were a couple squares of jelly looking things, something that looked like a little orange sausage, some neon pink tiny jelly eggs and some shredded orange something. Haha. It was all not so bad except I finally got to something that turned out to taste exactly like a hardboiled egg. It completely ruined it for me. I couldn't eat any more after that.
When I got back to my hut I saw there was a really good sized spider (maybe 2 inches in diameter, including the legs) on the second bed in the room (thank goodness not my bed). It was absolutely disgusting and I wished I had someone else there to take care of the situation for me. After a couple seconds of freaking out I tried to move the mosquito net of the second bed to surround the spider and trap it inside. I would rather know it was trapped somewhere than wonder where in the room it had wandered to. I couldn't bring myself to kill it because it was just too big and I didn't want to piss it off and then have it join me in my bed later that night. Eventually I did lose track of the spider but I was so exhausted that I didn't care anymore. In the midst of the spider issue, I went down to the bathroom and as I was about to sit on the toilet saw a frog sitting there situated on short ledge looking like he was about to hop onto the toilet at any second. The other bathroom's lights didn't work so I just used the toilet really quickly praying that the frog would just sit still and be a good boy. It just sat there staring at me but didn't move a muscle. Good frog.
It was a really long day and it took me about 3 seconds to fall asleep