A Tanked Stomach

Trip Start Dec 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 03, 2011

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Where I stayed
Pepper Guesthouse

Flag of Cambodia  ,
Friday, January 28, 2011

The activity today was a trek up Bokor Mountain to visit the Bokor Hill Station. I was on the verge of pulling out of this trip due to my bad stomach. There was going to be a two hours trekking involved. Sensing that my condition was only periodically (almost hourly), I took the risk and went with the tour group. Fadilah was kind enough to offer a satchet of bowel controlling medication, which worked wonders. To spare you the details, it basically tanked up the walls of my stomach.
The pickup minivan that came was meant for 14 passengers, but somehow we managed squeezed in 17 people like cattle on their way to the abattior. Thankfully the ride was a short 30 minutes to the foot of Bokor National Park, where we would transfer to two 4WD vehicles. It was another US$5 for the option to sit my way up the mountain instead attempting the midway mountain trek. The only reason that this trekking was included in the itinerary, was the heavy civil construction works in progress from midway to the top. Demolition works was causing a huge delay where many vehicles had to wait almost an hour for rock debris to clear before safety controllers can give the go-ahead to proceed. The trekking group re-emerged later at midpoint to be huddled back on the 4WDs for the final leg up to the peak.
Well, it was not a peak as such, rather a huge flatish top with roads connecting Bokor Hill Station , a derelict Bokor Palace, a catholic church and a basic accommodation block facing a man-made reservoir. Bulk of the time was spent exploring the french casino. In its present state, the casino would have felt creepy if visited at night. The views towards the ocean and beyond from the casino were splendid. Beyond the coastal line, Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam, was clearly visible. It is so close close to Cambodia, you could almost swim across if you try hard enough. Having heard of Phu Quoc's reputation of pristine beaches and untouched wilderness (then again, if one can visit the place, it would not be entirely untouched, wouldnt it?), there was this urging temptation. It was right here I began toying with the idea of rescheduling the rest of my week to include a short two days to Phu Quoc Island.
A short visit to the rather insignificant catholic church before we hopped onto our 4WDs and made our way down in exactly the same manner we scaled this mountain. After picking up the trekking group, the entire journey down and back to Kampot was just sporadic scenes of steep roads and bending curves. I was now so ill that I dozed in and out of consciousness. Arrived at Kampot 4pm, the group proceeded to their sunset cruise along the river while I forfeited my seat and staggered back to my room. I crashed til 8pm before heading out to dinner with Fadilah.
We caught up with Dave, an English traveller who was in our bus earlier. Having realised that I was ill, Dave shared that he himself was seriously ill before at Kep after a most delightful meal of pepper crabs. I should have also mention that one of the Australians on the Bokor bus trip, had serious diarrhea after consuming crabs at Kep. Great. Kep was my backup plan, should I not make it to Phu Quoc Island. Apparently Kep is famous for its crabs. Now I know what the crabs are famous for..

Dinner at Orchid guesthouse with Fadilah was fabulous. In our company, we had a jolly deep voiced Canadian called Les, who owns numerous properties in Kampot, and shared stories about Kampot and his life. Fadilah amusedly confessed later that she could not understand most of what Les was saying - his voice was bass deep. It turned out that today was Fadilah's birthday and we had extra drinks to celebrate!
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