Trip Start Mar 03, 2005
80Trip End Apr 08, 2006
I'm staying in the noisiest part of town, at a guesthouse right on Serendipity beach. As the bus rolled into the station at midday on friday I was greeted by a bunch of motos. "Here we go" I thought. I found a guy charging less than the others, so I got a ride with him, and the first place he took me was a guesthouse about 100m from the beach. I tell him that I'm not interested because I want to stay right on the beach! "Oh no my friend. No guesthouses on beach. This one very good!". Ok, I get it, your after a bit of commision! In the end I point out the guesthouses on the map on the wall, and convince him to take me there, although I have to put up with his whinging "Íh very dirty here. Not clean. Rats. Very noisy. Very expensive." Despite checking into the place I found literally on the beach, you could barely see it for all the bullshit! Everyone wants to know what your doing, where you're going, if you need a moto, etc. Bloody annoying, and one of the worst places I've seen for hustlers.
I spent my first afternoon laying on the beach, and going for a swim, which was great. The beach isn't the most attractive, or cleanest, but given the fact I hadn't seen the ocean on this trip I was happy! I went on a day tour yesterday, out to Ream National Park on Matt's recommendation. It was really great out here. A boat ride down a river with mangroves on both sides, to an isolated beach where we spent a few hours having a swim and eating some lunch. We then went for a half hour walk through the jungle to a small fishing village with very friendly people, before getting the boat back up river. The ride back was even better, because of the hundreds of storks, egrets and eagles we saw.
Given a lack of time here, I refused to drink ALL night and dragged myself into bed at 1am so I could go on a snorkelling trip at 8am. First stop resulted in some uninspiring snorkelling, but then the fun started with the most ridiculous hour's ride to the next island, over some huge waves! One couple was very seasick! This next island, Bamboo Island was great. We had lunch on one beach, then went for a walk to the other side of the island to another secluded beach, where we spent about half an hour. One strange site near this beach was the five or so huge cannons supplied by the Russians in the late 80's to support the fight against the Khmer Rouge. There was one soldier there, chilling out on a hammock looking like a typical Cambodian. City, country, no difference!
It was when we boarded the boat for the trip to the next island that the real fun started. First of all we got stuck on some coral. No Problem, just break it with a pole and it's ok! Hmm. But then the rudder fell off, and within 20 seconds we were 200m from it. So, there's the rudder, floating over some very shallow water with coral and hundreds of sea urchins while we drift further and further out to sea. One guy jumped in to get the rudder, while we drifted about 700m away. All in all it took about an hour and a half before we could go, and we didn't have time for the third island! Oh well, it was an adventure. Not that the stern Finnish guy on board thought so. He had a real go at our friendly guide about paying $10 for a "snorkelling" trip. Chill out man. Not only are you on a beach, but your on a beach in Cambodia!
Yeah so I think my time here is up. I'll join in the nightly drinking festivities again tonight no doubt, before grabbing an early morning pick up out to Kampot. I want to get the train, but noone here has a clue about when it leaves, so I'm going to ditch that plan. Don't really know anything about Kampot, except there's a mountain with an abandoned French hillstation and a waterfall nearby. I can only check it out!