Stories from Chi Phat

Trip Start Oct 30, 2012
Trip End May 30, 2013

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Where I stayed
Community Based Eco-Tourism

Flag of Cambodia  , Kaôh Kŏng,
Monday, November 12, 2012

***There is one main street: dusty and potholed, covered with chickens followed by their chicks as well as the occasional pig, cow and water buffalo pulling a cart. People are always moving, either driving their mopeds with their entire families on the back, young children riding adult sized bicycles, or girls in uniform walking to school. Half naked children shout out 'halo-was-yur-nam' from the safe underside of their stilted homes. Such a variety of homes from concrete guest houses to thatched homes. There is a large collection of buildings that serve as shops or restaurants as well as the communal television houses which are usually tuned to a boxing match and are packed to the hilt with shouting men.

***One afternoon, I decided to sit outside to write in my journal. It was a warm afternoon and there was no electricity to power the fan (only on from 6-10pm). Soon I had all of the children from the guest house and their friends gathered around. We had lots of fun looking at the pictures in a leaflet I'd picked up and trying to figure out the compass in my locket. Then in return, they brought things to show me: a toy truck, and puppy and a baby sister. Eventually, I went back into my room to bring out some of the balloons I'd brought along. They were a big hit and we had lots of fun playing with them and taking pictures of ourselves.

***Went on an evening dinner cruise over the river (just us). Not much of a sunset due to the clouds. But after dark, the stars started to wink through the clouds, the occasional flicker of distant lightening danced across the clouds and fireflies lit up the shorelines.

***The fashion statement here for women seems to be pj's. The ones that look like scrubs with wild colours and patterns. This is one fashion I have no interest in participating in!

***Took a walk to some waterfalls with a guide who liked to walk at a forced march. After a couple of hours in the hot sun, he decided we could take a little rest at someone's home along the way. A typical small home on stilts with a pig and some chickens underneath. While our guide turned around to have a smoke, I noticed that the pig had grabbed his pack and was making a get-away. When we went after him, he dropped the bag and took the lunch. So, the pig chase ensued. Through the banana trees and around we went, splitting into three to try and corner the pig. He came back near me and dropped it momentarily. I made a large noise and he scampered off. Just as I dove to retrieve the package before the pig could come back, I became ensnared in some nasty thorns and couldn't move. Without much left of the lunch, the guide ended up giving it to the pig anyways!

***during our hike to the waterfall, we cut off the main path and started to walk through grasses at least 8 feet high. I, lagging behind to take photos, suddenly had visions of a tiger slinking through the grass and pouncing on me. So I quickly rushed ahead to catch up. Arriving at the top of a great waterfall, we actually sat on the edge to have our lunch! How I love countries that aren't covered and red tape and legislation!

***Late afternoon and evening thunderstorms have been the norm during our stay, but this afternoon we had none. As a result, the sky was clear for the stars to come out! I had heard that there was a night market a few kilometres up the road, so we went for a walk to see. However, all we found were 2 houses duelling with large speaker systems and karaoke machines. Oh, and Brian found 2 giant scorpions!

***Noisy O'Clock: It starts around 5:30am with a distant cockerel crow. As the chickens come in from their night time forest hiding places, it grows louder and louder as more join in. Then the puppies start to wrestle and the lizards chirp. Larger geckos upstairs scamper to daytime hiding places and it sounds like a cat running across the ceiling.  The first motorbikes drive down the road and people begin their daily tasks of bathing and cooking.  The first shaft of light breaks through the window and the children come out to play.  It's 6am and impossible to sleep anymore.

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