Jenny\'s Southeast Asia/China Adventure

Cambodia-Travelogue  |  Travel time: February - June 2004  |  by Jenny Chu

Cambodia: Kampot


Wednesday, 3/24/04
Day 49, Blissful in Kampot

Up early at 6 am, we managed to go to a little hole in the wall down the street (Cup of TEA?) to grab some delicious fresh baked baguette sandwiches for breakfast. Nopes, I have not yet tired of this Indochina goodie. While waiting for our bus shuttle, who did I see but, Kris and Lein! My two dutch buddies from Laos. I was really happy to see them again and hoped that we would bump into each other in Shinoukville later and get to hang out.

On board our shuttle to the bus station, Anna experienced the traveler's worst nightmare. She had a strange feeling about her backpack and looked in the back of the van only to discover that it was in fact, gone. Someone must have unloaded with the other backpackers who were headed to Shinoukville. Yikes...

We pulled over to the side of the road, so that Anna and one of the driver's assistants could hop on a moped and go back the bus station. Meanwhile, the driver and I waited in the parking lot. He kept saying this is so funny. I angrily told him, it wasn't so and hoped for the best. Amazingly, about half an hour later, Anna returned with backpack intact. The bus to Shinoukville had not yet left and she was able to retrieve it off the bus. Thank god.

Now, we just both hoped that our 8 am minivan had not departed for Kampot. Ha. Little did we know, that when we arrived at our bus station, the minivan was not going to budge until it was jam full of passengers. We should have known better. We also should have known that it was better just to show up at the bus station ourselves instead of booking it through the travel agency who made a nice profit. But, then again I wouldn't have gotten my cheap facial courtesy of ladyboy right?

Anyway, we sat and waited in the minivan, Anna and I taking turns to wander around the parking lot when we grew claustrophobic. At one point, two guys both a bit cocky and too cool for school with their big tinted sunglasses, took a seat next to us, trying it on for an hour. I thought great, the ride was going to be at least 3 hours. I did not want to have to indulge in fake conversation and smiles the whole way there. Cambodian men, I've discovered are not shy when it comes to flirting.
"What's your name?"
"Do you have a boyfriend?"- are normally the first two questions they ask haha. At least they get straight to the point. I digress......So yeah well, for some unknown reason, the two romeo-wannabes left the van when it finally pulled out of the crowded lot.

Two hours later we pulled out onto the dusty pot-holed, road (I need not to mention anymore that roads in Cambodia are dusty, do I?), and immediately realized that we stupidly choose seats wayyyy in the back of the van. There were no shocks, and the seats were covered in a thin vinyl that did nothing to cushion the very uncomfortable springs. Every time we hit a bump, I flew inches above my seat, sometimes bumping my head on the ceiling. No joke. There was of course no air conditioning, meaning the windows were wide open, thus allowing all the dust to fly in and cover our hair and face. And I was squished to the very side, sometimes only half my body had a seat and back support. Now don't get me wrong, I normally handle my journeys fine and in fact, look forward to the actual travel from one destination to the next. But, this ride was just pure hell.

Enroute to Kampot - School kids biking and walking home.

Enroute to Kampot - School kids biking and walking home.

We arrived at Kampot four hours later, fought off a throng of awaiting motortaxis, while choosing two that seemed alright. Hopped on and headed towards, Blissful Guesthouse, which was recommended to us by a traveler in Phnom Penh. Blissful turned out to be just what we needed after our arduous journey. The guesthouse was bright and nicely decorated ($4 single/double). There was a room filled with popodum chairs, and outside were hammocks hanging in every corner. Better yet, the English chef, whipped up some amazing gourmet salads. More good food to come, yippee. English Chef and Angela, a Dutch girl, had just opened up Blissful a few weeks ago. Both had come to Cambodia as travelers and never left.

While eating my gorgeous salad, Angela told me that I must go to Bokor National Park(which I planned), on the back of a dirtbike (not planned). It's just different that riding up in a car, she said. But, I had my qualms. I had just gotten used to riding on the back of a moped, but going up a mountain on a dirtbike was something else. However, if I didn't try to be a bit adventurous now, when was I going to get another chance to ride through a rainforest up to an abandoned French hill-station. Uh, never. Okay, convinced I then asked Anna if she wanted to join. Of course, the adrenaline-seeking Kiwi said yes.

But first, Kiwi and I left the comforts of Blissful to explore Kampot. Nap, a tour guide who would be one of the drivers tomorrow, drove us into town to catch the sunset in time. I sat at this lovely riverside restaurant and soaked in the tranquil atmosphere. The sun was beginning to set slowly on the still waters; the peaceful quietness that was pervading throughout Kampot sparked an immediate attraction for this French-colonial town.

Sunset in Kampot.

Sunset in Kampot.

Finishing up my coke, Anna and I then walked over to guess what? Another Seeing Hands Massage parlour. Yes, we are massage freaks. But after an hour rub-down this massage freak, still thinks that the one in Siem Reap rules supreme. We then ate dinner at a local restaurant. Anna's dinner was cheap & awesome, but with limited vegetarian options, I ate fried rice again, and had to go back to Blissful to have dinner #2: a cheese and tomato toastie.

On the walk back people smiled at us, many saying hello. There were very few travelers in Kampot, but in a couple of years, tourism is bound to explode in this friendly, laid back little town.

© Jenny Chu, 2004
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The trip
 
Description:
Follow my travels through Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and China..........
Details:
Start of journey: Feb 02, 2004
Duration: 4 months
End of journey: Jun 02, 2004
Travelled countries: Asia
China
Thailand
Laos
Cambodia
Vietnam
The Author
 
Jenny Chu is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 15 years.
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