Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
22Trip End Apr 27, 2010
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After leaving Kampot we arrive in Sihanoukville where we have planned to spent only one night. The hotel is close to the beach and we can walk there. The tourists there are a weird kind (meaning little old and not so old men oggling the local girls) and we are happy not to have planned a longer stay! We take a walk on the beach, start with cocktails at 1 pm (!!) while the kids play on the beach. Every three minutes someone stops by to sell us stuff (the same bracelets as all the others) and after buying from at least 6 people we have to put a stop to it! It is always difficult to say no, knowing that the few dollars you will spend will last them several days and are needed to feed whole families. And they always have good selling arguments, like "you don't have a red one yet" or "cheapest ones and good quality", etc....difficult to resist their smiles!!!
Next day we take the bus to Koh Kong, about 5 hours, in a like triple overbooked bus....Michael is getting very upset and tries to get his money back for at least one ticket because Margaux has to sit on our bags instead of on a seat....The guy pretends not to understand and Michael is ready to explode when we finally arrive!!! The city is a weird place, all prices are in Thai Baht and apparently their is a kind of unhealthy crowd. Most tourists, like us, stop here just to get to the Cardamomes. We get to the Blue Moon guesthouse, a 10$ per room guesthouse (with airco and breakfast, mind you!) and we are really positively surprised. The rooms have all been painted recently, airco is new and everything is super clean. A few strange older guys hang around the place, the kind drinking beer and Pastis at 9 am...anyway, they are not mean and don't bother us.The boss is very nice....so nice that we book two excursions with him, one to Koh Kong Island and one to the Cardamomes mountains (national park). In the afternoon we go to the Casino Hotel (it is full of casinos because we are like 10km from the Thai border and money games are prohibited in Thailand...so they all come to Cambodia to play). Kitsch isn't even strong enough to describe the place...it could easily be transposed in Las Vegas! We just get there for the pool (the only one in town) and after swimming some spend some time in the Casino, loosing like 30$
Next day early wake up to go to the island with....a group of 50 Cambodian students!!!!! They turn out to be all studying French at the Royal University of Phnom Penh and are on a field trip. The girls spent the entire day with them, helping them practicing their French! The only two other Europeans with us are Ricardo and Paula from Italy, with whom we end up spending the entire day and evening. The Koh Kong island is just beautiful, a real virgin island with nothing on it except a little fisheren's village. It is in danger of becoming a new mass tourism place, the Chinese having big plans...hopefully the Cambodian government will make the right decision....After catching several crabs, having a BBQ on the beach and spending the whole time in the water (which by the way is almost warmer than the air..) we get back to the shore to explore the mangroves. On our way back we have a very pleasant surprise...a family of dolphins!!! Michael gets to make really close up pictures and everybody is whaaaaaaing (the girls are jooooooooooohing). It was a beautiful day but with much to much sun....my nose is like an indefinite color (red/pink)...very becoming with my flashy pink shirt!!!!! We have dinner at Bob's Bar with Ricardo and Paula and get huge delicious hamburgers (you will notice that we are slowly eating more and more western food!!!). Off to bed because tomorrow we are making a little trek in the jungle (last chance to see wild animals...Michael is determined to spot a tiger!!!!)
Up early (again!) but are delayed in our departure...Ricardo and Paula have a motorbike accident, not too bad unfortunately, but we have to take care of them before leaving, without them. The trek only last about maybe 2 hours but it feels like 10...it is sooooo hot and we drank up the whole days stock of water!!!! No wild animals but a wild elefant trail (consisting of elefant dung!!!!) and like hundreds of leeches we have to pull off our pants and socks. Michael and Margaux get caught through their socks! Nothing painful or dangerous, but just the idea is yukky! The jungle is beautiful and you can hear lots of different kinds of birds.
After we get to the Tatai waterfall (on the Tatai river) where we are going to have lunch and spend the afternoon. We don't get to swim in the first big pool, the locals having spotted crocodiles lately....I am not so reassured...we walk down the falls and the river to another pool with several little falls perfect for shoulder massage! I let the guide jump in first to see if he gets attacked...!!! Deep down I know he wouldn't go in if there were any chance of crocodile here but well...better be careful than sorry!!!! We all end up getting in and the massage under the waterfalls are great! Lunch is a few pieces of meat on a bamboo stick over the fire and the girls spend the afternoon playing indians and catching baby frogs (can't remember how they are called before they have legs...!!!)
We go back home to the guesthouse in the dark, hoping to spot some wildife....we get to see one huge toad (that the guide catches for his dinner!!) and a big scorpion (which he doesn't try to catch!!!). We are all very tired and looking forward to the air conditioned rooms. No one feels like going out for dinner so we get crackers and yogurth drinks at the local mini markt. We have our little pic nic at the guesthouse when suddenly...power failure!!!! No more light, no more airco!!! AAAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!! We all take very cold showers but get sweaty again after a few minutes. The rooms are like ovens. We should have left the airco on all day long!!!! We get the girls to bed but it is hard to get them to sleep...just moving an arm is like a huge effort! Michael and I spend some time outside but we are so tired that we end up going to bed....Michael is off course completely excited and I just try to ignore him (not easy, he makes so much noise!!!). Usually the power is restore within one to two hours, which seems a lifetime in this heat! Somehow we fall asleep and I suddenly wake up later, with light full on! Yippieeee, lights means electricity, which means airco!!! We turn it on the coolest, go turn it full on in the girls room...within minutes it is fresh, almost cold!!!!! A few more hours of sleep!
Early bus to Phnom Penh, where we are going back to the Billabong Hotel. This is almost the end of our let's say real trip, the 2 coming weeks being beach, Bangkok and Dubai. I feel a little depressed, it is going so quickly suddenly! The girls are slowly looking forward to home, making plans to see their friends as soon as we get home. And they miss Canelle, even more after seeing her picture on an email (thanks Regula, it was fun!). I guess this will most likely be the last entry during our trip, don't know if there is any internet at the beach hotel, will see!