(and could quite happily move here)
24.12.2010 30 °C
Well by the time I finishing writing this it will be Christmas day for us, so Happy Christmas!
I feel that Kat didn’t highlight just how awful the sleeper bus was in Vietnam. The bed was about a foot too short for me, I couldn’t lift my head up more than about 12 inches and my bed had no seatbelt which meant every 15 minutes I woke up almost falling 8 foot down into a stairwell. They had to move someone out of my “bed” in order for me to get into it, which took nothing short of a full on gymnastic manoeuvre. I would never get on one of these again if I have the option of splitting the journey up or going on a sitting bus (or a train full of cockroaches).
Since being in Cambodia, it’s become very obvious how unfriendly a lot of the people in Vietnam are, although they did pick up a bit once we made our way south. We started by crossing the border into Phnom Penh which is a great city but has its fair share of history involving the Khmer Rouge, we went and had a look around Prison S21 which used to be a high school before it was turned into a prison. For each country we go to, it’s good for us to learn about the history (good and bad) and it was quite horrific to see some of the things that went on here, quite a similar feeling to the war remnants museum in Ho Chi Minh City. After this, I decided not to go and fire off an Ak47 at $2 a bullet as fun as it would have been, it didn’t feel quite right.
Rich (see early Bangkok entries) then turned up the next day and we decided to head south to the coast to Kep and Kampot. Kep is a very small place that has a handful of restaurants and maybe 15 guesthouses/hotels, it used to be a place for the rich French inhabitants of Cambodia to have their holidays, they even imported white sand from further down the coast line. The place was turned into a ghost town by the Khmer rouge during their control in the late seventies. Now all is left of their holiday homes are big empty 60’s style holiday homes that are now completely falling apart, which made for some good exploring. As the place is getting more popular, the land is becoming more valuable, but some people have had the good idea to buy all the decaying buildings plots in the 90’s for very little money and they are slowly being replaced. Whilst we were there, we took a boat over to an island nicknamed Rabbit Island to spend the day on the quieter beaches and explore the place, this included coming across a 2metre+ long snake which was later identified as a cobra! The hotel we stayed at in Kep was chosen by Kat and later regretted by Kat once she realised just how bad it was going to be for insects. You won’t be surprised to hear that she was drawn in by 3 very small puppies.
After Kep, we travelled 20km further down the coast to Kempot, another place that will be potentially very touristy in 5 years time so it was good to get in before the rush. We only had one full day here so we decided to go fishing on a boat down the river using bamboo fishing rods, and even a 500ml water bottle with fishing line reeled around it. No fish caught but I did manage to pull a crab out. We spent our two nights in Kempot at a recently opened restaurant/bar with the guys that ran the place, really good to actually catch up with some proper locals without any hidden agendas (everyone has something to sell, not all of it legal!).
So far the food in Cambodia has been the best yet, the portions are always massive and the food cheap and really tasty. For our Christmas meal we intend to cook our own crocodile and snake, we’ve also seen roasted spiders for sale, and they are really not very small spiders! Our hotel is amazing compared to what we’ve been staying in, we decided to splash out for Christmas and it has really been worth it. The staff are excellent, the room is stunning but I will let the photos do the talking when I finally manage to start uploading them.
Have a good Christmas everyone, we have bought some presents for each other from a local market to make it feel like home except we didn’t have to deal with high prices, large queues and lots of people struggling with the snow. (Sorry)