The Beauties And The Beast

Trip Start May 20, 2013
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Trip End Mar 11, 2014


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Where I stayed
GreenHouse Kampot
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of Cambodia  ,
Saturday, November 23, 2013

We finally dragged ourselves away from Sihanoukville, squeezed into a 12- seater minibus with 15 other sweaty tourists, and headed for Kampot, another sleepy Cambodian town.

Kampot is a quiet town on the banks of the Kampot River, famous for its red, green, white and black pepper. During the Khmer Rouge's reign, countless plantations were destroyed, as the regime felt that rice was the only thing that should be grown in the agrarian cooperative. It's heartbreaking to think about how much of this coveted export was destroyed when the people here live in abject poverty. Nevertheless, pepper cultivation is now back on the rise, and it plays a huge part in international cuisine.

We checked in to Greenhouse, a popular, chilled out guesthouse about a 30 minute tuk-tuk ride from the centre. The main house has gorgeous views over the river, and the accommodation is a series of bungalows made from reeds. They really looked beautiful, and it seemed the perfect place to relax. You could rent kayaks for $1 to explore the gorgeous river, and Kampot is full of great restaurants. Perfect. Or so we thought.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the scariest of them all?


One evening we skyped Elliot and Beth, making them squirm with descriptions of the creepy-crawlies we've seen, before popping back to our bungalow briefly. When we got there, we found that we had company. A toad was in our bathroom. After much head scratching and squealing, we decided that we were just not capable of dealing with it. It could have been poisonous for all we knew. And even if it wasn't, it was really icky. So a fairly embarrassed Ollie strolled over to the bar to sheepishly ask the French owner to please come and remove the scary toad from the bathroom. Evidently it was not poisonous, because the bemused owner simply scooped him up and carried him outside. The toad's luck took an unfortunate turn of events here, as our rescuer attempted to throw him as far away from the bungalow as possible, so launched him as hard as he could. Sadly, he aimed too high, and, rather than being thrown far away onto the grass, the poor toad was splatted into the overhanging porch roof, before slowly sliding down and dropping at our feet. He wasn't having a great day.

Feeling quite guilty, we returned to the bar for dinner. Little did we know that the toad was the least of our worries that night...

We made our way back to our bungalow after a nice dinner and a few drinks, and started to get ready for bed. Then we heard the first noise. A really loud clicking, followed by a sort of screeching, croaking noise. A little naive at this point, we thought that maybe it was another toad, so Ollie went to investigate, banging a stick and whistling. We couldn't find anything, so tried to settle down in our mosquito-net covered bed.

About 30 minutes later, the noise was back. Really, really loud. We scrambled around putting the lights on, banging our stick on the ground whilst we looked for our glasses. It was not a comforting way to wake up. The windows in the bathroom were just holes in the wall, so the odds of something getting in were fairly high. After Ollie had made a lot of noise and still couldn't see anything, we presumed whatever it was had run away. I was feeling quite on edge at this point, so we decided to use duct tape to block the 'windows'. As he reached the last one, his arm brushed past the mirror, and all I heard was 'MOTHER OF GOD!' He staggered back into the room, panting and about 10 shades paler (I knew it must've been something really scary to manage that with his Sihanoukville sunburn). A lizard the size of Ollie's arm had leapt out at him. A bit bigger than the toad we'd both been hoping for. We whistled, we stomped, we banged sticks. What the neighbours thought was happening, I don't know. And he was gone. There was no trace of him. After an extensive search, we figured that he must have left via the still uncovered final window. We taped it up, sobbed a bit, and huddled together in bed.

Now, I know that some of you might be thinking that we're massive wimps. It's only a lizard, right? No. It was terrifying. The size of Ollie's arm! And I don't lovingly call him Gorilla Arms on account of them being shorter than average. 

So, again we tried to sleep. Again, that horrible, deafeningly loud noise. Terror struck. Armed with his stick, Ollie headed once again in the general direction of the noise - the dreaded bathroom. Incidently, the ensuite had no door, so we were at most 3 feet away from whatever was lurking within.
Then I heard Ollie whimper 'Oh god... It's broken through the duct tape!'
Has there ever been a more chilling sight than that piece of duct tape flapping loosely from the window pane?! The beast was now getting louder and was no longer afraid of the stick we were banging. I was feeling quite scared, but what could we do? As I nervously clambered into bed as the beast shrieked away nearby, Ollie, pale and clammy, and with a frenzied look in his eyes, suddenly wheeled around and yelled 'we are LEAVING!' 

It was about 1am. He was shoving things into our bags, throwing clothes at me to put on, and muttering away to himself. He seemed to have lost it. My protestations that we were in the middle of nowhere, and that it might be embarrassing to stage a walk out were met with a furious glare, so I meekly put on my clothes and carried the bags he shoved into my hands, and followed him outside. It was pitch black, the main house was locked up, there was nobody around. Ollie paced in front of the main building for a while, frantically looking around the deserted garden and eyeing up the abandoned tuk tuk in the driveway. Knowing that I had to intervene now or else end up facing charges for grand theft auto, I steered Ollie back to our bungalow of doom. We had no choice, we had to stay the night. Ollie, who has thus far been my rock, was a broken man.

We left all the lights on, armed ourselves with sticks and sat directly in the middle of the bed. And there we stayed, with Ollie twitching a bit and casting his eyes around the room menacingly, all night.

The following day, we staggered into the main house and spent a shell-shocked couple of hours trying to relax by the river, then rented a kayak for a couple of hours. The setting was absolutely perfect; a dense green jungle lined parts of the river, and canoe ferries shipped locals across every few minutes. Children cycling along the riverside called out to us and waved, and we occasionally met other kayakers, on the otherwise tranquil river. The water was completely smooth, and we glided through almost effortlessly. Well, we did once I'd noticed that Ollie was using his paddles the wrong way round and corrected that. As anybody who has ever tried to teach Ollie how to do anything knows, he's not a great student. We had few tantrums as I gave a few pointers, but maybe that was to be expected given the state of madness he'd reached the night before. We pulled up to the jetty to get out, so I asked Ollie to put his paddle on to the jetty to anchor us up, and he threw it about 12 feet away from us, almost entirely clear of the jetty. He really needed a nap.

We checked out, earnestly warning the owners about the beast in bungalow 4, then fled the scene.

Next stop: Kep! 
 

My Review Of The Place I Stayed



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Comments

mum b on

Oh you poor things - hilarious reading though. I'm afraid you are going to have to do something brave and macho Ollie to make up for this description.
I hope the animal kingdom is a tad kinder on your next stop. xx

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