Rain, Heavy Rain, Lightning, Rain

Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Where I stayed
The Cozy Elephant

Flag of Cambodia  ,
Friday, July 1, 2011

When I heard about this 'rainy season' thing, I don't know why, but I was given to believe that the weather pattern would be something like this....(in my mind I'm saying the following very quickly in a football commentator type manner)
Morning....SUN! It's sunny, it's SUNNY!
1pm.....RAIN! More rain than you've ever seen in your life all at once at the same time for an hour tops.....then SUN! sunny, sunny,sunny, sunny,sunny, sunny, warmmmmmm.

What in fact is happening is that it's like Manchester. No, it's worse than Manchester, because at least with Manchester rain, it's just consistently light-medium pissy. Here it's sunny till about 10am, but also quite cloudy. At 10am the Heavens decide to Empty the bathtub it rains so hard, accompanied by huge amounts of lightning and thunder, but then not stop raining for the rest of the day

So today, I got up, it was cloudy, but also sunny. I set off East along the main road that I took from Kampot to Kep heading towards Kampong Trach. It took me about 45 mins to get there, from where I went off to see some Caves, accompanied by 3 helpful children with torches and things to tell me about the caves. See Cave pictures. I hoped they weren't all going to ask me for money at the end given that I hadn't invited them and felt perfectly capable of looking at the caves with my head torch on my own. I suppose I was slightly grateful as they were a bit creepy, especially when they told me the Khmer Rouge did some serious killing in these caves as well. 
The rain started about this point, a light shower, which I thought might be all it would be. 

After the caves I set off south with the intention of seeing some salt fields and the coast, and doing a little off tarmac pottering route through the fields. So I set off down a red dirt track, littered with the obligatory pot holes which make your bike skills amazing. The fields and scenery was beautiful. I was trying to think if it was like Vietnam. It sort of was, but they grow grass instead of rice, and most of the houses are wooden stilted houses. It seemed (I hate to say it) sort of the same, but different. About half an hour down the track, still heading south and not reached the right hand turn that would take me heading back towards Kep, the heavens opened. I already had my 2 rain poncho's on but thought I couldn't be too far from my right turn. I wasn't. The rain just got harder and harder, and the lightning and thunder followed. It got so bad that I headed off into the first bit of shelter I could see, which happened to be a blokes garage. He happily invited me in, letting me park my bike under his corrugated iron roof, next to the cow (I'm not joking). His wife also came out and was smiley, and tried talking to me, but I had no idea of course. He also had 2 small children and I found some sweets in my bag to give them, and they put their hands together in that prayer way and thanked me. Very cute. 
They were clearly a poor family. Their whole house was corrugated iron and wood, and the racket the rain made on the iron was deafening. I was glad I'd got off the road as it soon disappeared. The other alarming thing, which amused the family hugely, were my squeals of horror, stamping my feet, holding my head in my hands and shouting 'why! why!" at the sky, as the storm, overhead at this point, did several strikes within 100m or so of where we were sitting. The bright flash and loud crack were the worst I've ever experienced.

When it had stopped raining elephants and sperm whales and had subsided to the level of raining guinea pigs and rabbits, I decided I'd taken up enough of this family's time and cancelled my journey, deciding to head back to kampot. It was 12.30 by now and I was hungry, and there ain't no KFC just up the road. After travelling for an hour on the way back up this potholed road where the potholes were disguised a puddles so you have to avoid everything, I made it to the Kampong Trach Town. I looked at every shop I passed just looking for some bread. Bread, bread, my kingdom for some bread! I saw bread, parked up, saw a girl eating what looked like Pho Ga - chicken noodle soup, and ordered that. Very kindly, instead of having a bowl full of bones like the girl did, the owner peeled all the chicken off the bone so I didn't have to tussle with it. She also put some fish and tofu in, and I had a hearty lunch sitting at this put up on the side of the road stall on some plastic chairs. All very local and rustic. I was the only white in the village. It was good, the chicken was very tough mind, which I never expected possible from chicken, but it was good and would see me to Kampot. As I finished my lunch the rain started up again. JOY!
My ride back to Kampot, for the whole hour and a half at least, was in rain. I was soaked. My shoes were full of water. An amusing thing that happens with boots that are mesh on top for air, but waterproof all up the sides, is that they fill up with water. After swearing at several road hog buses that ran me off the road, and dodging potholes, I made it back to Kampot where I returned to the Cozy Elephant, which would have been a whole lot cosier if there was a big leather chair, hot chocolate and a roaring fire for this dripping, miserable person. 
I went up, dumped my bag, took off my ponchos (useless articles), poured the water out of my shoes (again, not joking) and got in the shower, fully clothed. I washed all the red dirt that had splashed up at me off my legs and clothes, and gave them a good scrub. I hung them out to dry, which will take about a week in this weather, and went out to the riverside to find a decent restaurant to sit in. 
I hit the jackpot, Rikitikitavi is where I found. I opened the page on "Swiss Hot Chocolate, A lavish mug of sumptuous cocoa overflowing with whipped cream and garnished with grated pure chocolate" I didn't need to look any further. I'm having that I said.  A good thing too, because for the first time in ages, I'm really cold.  have bare legs and feet, but long sleeves, and I'm really cold!! What the hell? I have no idea what the temperature is. Accuweather says its 29deg, real feel 36deg. My bottom it is!! It must be about 20 tops!
i stayed for a few hours, and returned to the hostel and my lonely dorm to watch some tv and settle down for the night.

Best: Getting into the dry at the end of a wet day

Worst: too much rain hindering my ability to really get anywhere

Beautiful: the landscape generally 
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Andrew D on

Awww, what a cute cow! Also, what a nice family! If you tried to do that here you'd probably get shouted at, or the police would be called! Lol. x

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