Off to the South!!

Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
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Trip End Apr 27, 2010


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Flag of Cambodia  , Kâmpôt,
Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Today we are taking the bus off to the South of Cambodia, on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand. It takes about 4 hours with the bus to Kampot. The trip is pretty relaxing, the bus being almost empty. A French family with two little boys are travelling with us, and the 5 children are keeping busy together.We arrive at the beginning of the afternoon and get a tuk tuk to the hotel (we should import tuk tuks into Switzerland, so practical and so easy...although in the winter not so fun!!!). The dirt way there is terrible with potholes the size of dinausor nests. It takes hours avoiding the water filled potholes (yes yes, rain again, for the second time!) and we are sure happy to arrive! Les Manguiers is a big property on the river with about 10 bungalows, at least 30 m away from each other. The place is full of sheep, geese, dogs, puppies, bunnies, etc...and has lots of entertainment for the kids (playground, ping pong table, games, etc...).
We spent the afternoon swimming in the river (very clean and clear). The water is salty in the dry season, the sea water coming up against the river. In the wet season the rain water pushes the sea back (sea is about 10km away). In the evening we are off to eat ther famous crab,shrimps and squid...delicious!
Next morning we are off to the pier to hire a little boat to Koh Tonsay, a little island 20 minutes away from the coast from Kep. Kep is a little harbour that was very popular in the 60's, the French and rich from Phnom Penh driving to the beach on week-ends. You can see ghost houses all over the place, typical 60's architecture, completely let down...but you can easily imagine how it was 50 years ago!
We arrive on the little island where we are going to spend the day...a beach, palm trees and a few bamboo guesthouses.....paradise!!! The kids spend the whole afternoon in the water, Michael and I go in and out and read all day long. Had planned to walk around the island but somehow never got to it!!!! On the way back eat the best shrimps ever in Kep (were bigger than the biggest tiger shrimps to be found in CH) cooked with Kampot pepper, apparently one of the best peppers....All went to bed at 20:00, tired of doing nothing!!!
Next day spent in the country, driving around in a .......tuk tuk of course!!! Visited several caves with like 20 kids playing guide...got to cross a field with a big sign saying "demined by the UN.." The caves were not spectacular but the interaction with the children was worth it. We also visited a pepper farm...and of course bought some (yuppieeeeee, 1 more kg to schlepp around!!!) and ended with the visit of salt fields (didn't buy any!). Was a great day.
Had planned to visit the Bokor tomorrow..the Bokor is a ghost town on top of a mountain. It was a summer station when the heat got unbearable down....the down has been abandonned under the Khmer and nobody ever went back. It is supposed to be pretty cool. Anyway, the road to get up there is closed because of restauration (apparently the Chinese "Bought"the place and are going to build a casino up there!!!). So the guy at the "tours agency"" (they are all self proclaimed guides here!!!) says we can walk up (3 hours) visit, have a pic nic up there and walk down. There is a 5$ entrance fee...we hesitate for two days, think the walk up for 3 hours will be too much in this heat. We end up asking another agency (the first guy being pretty obnoxious!) and find out that the park is closed, that the 5$ entrance fee is actually 5$ to corrupt the security guides and that th 3 hour walk is actually to get up there undetected through the jungle!!! Plus the guy says it is probably too difficult for the kids! So we decide not to do that, corruption not being on "to try"list!!
So we end up with two relaxing days...which is good because we haven't done much work for school lately, oooops! After morning school, we rent two kayaks and go paddling in the green cathedral, as it is called! We paddle between the mangroves, past little villages, it is so peaceful, so quiet, just picture perfect. Just start feeling our houlders after a while.....There is a little fresh wind, not too hot, just great! In the evening, at 7:00 (is already pit dark) we go with a litle boat to see...fireflies! This is so amazing, it's like being in a Walt Disney movie...we get with the boat in the middle of some water plants and are surrounded by thousand of those little blinking things...they fly all over, land on us, and blink, blink, blink...just magical. Could stay there for hours in silence! On th way back thousands of lillte silver fish jump out of the water to catch food and in the beam of the flashlight they just flicker....sooooooo cool!
So tomorrow another quiet day swimming, working, reading....and after tomorrow, off to Sihanoukville, the one and only beach resort of Cambodia.
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Comments

NANC' GOOD WALLACE on

HELLO HELLO, HAD NO IDEA YOU WERE OFF TO TRAVEL THE WORLD. GOOD FOR YOU AND THE FAMILY!! THREE CHEERS TO ALL OF YOU. WILL FOLLOW YOUR TRAVELS FROM THIS POINT FORWARD. HAVING A HAPPY EASTER AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY FOR COURTNEY HERE IN LAGUNA. SO EXCITED FOR YOU AND WILL CATCH UP WITH ALL YOUR ENTRIES SOON. TILL THEN MUCH LOVE, SAFE TRAVELS AND DRINK IT IN. XO NANC'

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