Monday, November 27, 2017

CAMBODIAN DIARY - 5th CHAPTER - Connecting in Kep

Guess what: I managed to escape the fresh hell of Alcatraz aka Koh Rong Samloem.

Crab Market Kep
One of the numberless fish hawkers on the famous Crab Market in Kep.

And since then it's all coming up R...enata.

After an ok night at the not ok 'bungalow' for an even less ok price and a relatively short wait for the ferry we finally were picked up and taken to the mainland.

I showed up at Fabrice's doorstep. Fabrice runs a very clean cut sophisticated guest house and I had spent the night there when Villa d'Artagnan couldn't give me the room I had booked. Anyway, after having been in distress for the second time, I seeked again shelter and got a nice room at a fair price and everybody greeted me like the lost daughter and I can leave my big suitcase there during the next three days when I'm meandering a little Cambodia's country side and everything feels just so settling.

Sokha Beach Sihanoukville
What's wrong with Sokha Beach?! Nice shore in the sun...

I spent the afternoon on Sokha beach, which is one of the city beaches, and I really don't get why people are bitching so much about Sihanoukville. No, I would not like to spend my entire vacation there (whereby I'm not vacationing, anyway, I'm travelling - big difference on the nerves), no, it's not the most beautiful town in the world. But e. g. Sokha beach is more than ok, it's just beautiful: white sand, absolutely clean, few people, good water - what more can you expect?!

Sokha Beach Sihanoukville
...as well as at sunset.

I crowned the day with an exquisite dinner at a restaurant where tomorrows chefs and waiters and waitresses are trained and I must say, Cambodia's culinary future is very bright.

Dinner at Sandan
Dinner at 'Sandan': Squid with Kampot peppper.
There is happy hour befor 8 p. m.: I had a nice mango lime daiquiri (left upper corner).

After having bid farewell to Fabrice for the next three days I hopped on the bus to Kep. Besides the fact that the trip was stunning - beautiful landscapes, rice paddies, buffaloes, just grand, we had the sweetest bus driver ever: Although he was eating and drinking and talking on the phone, he still didn't feel the urge to kill us in some hazardous maneuver, he didn't unnecessarily speed or take over - very mature although he looked like he was about 14. And he won my heart forever when he chucked his empty coffee cup in a trash bin! Unfortunately my cheering rather confused than flattered him, but yes, this young man is Cambodia's future, too!

Not only do I settle in quite nicely, it also comes back to me why I love travelling so much: it's the encounters. It's also the landscapes, the cultural assets, the suspense, the personal growth et cetera et cetera - seems like there are nothing but reasons to travel - but it's mainly the fascinating encounters: Besides the bus driver of the year there were to more passengers in the van - a friendly gentleman from Izmir who hardly speaks any English so I really wonder how he's going on - whereby the Cambodians' English is so bad that it probably doesn't make a big difference I you speak it or not. I digged out what's left from my Turkish class in Izmir which of course immediately opened his heart. At this point the third traveller jumped in and contributed an even more interesting country of origin: Kyrgyzstan! Alright, as a matter of fact, of all of us, she has the shortest trip. Nevertheless, I find a tourist from Kyrgyzstan in Cambodia unique, especially a female solo traveller. And if you ask me why I find a female solo traveller from Kyrgyzstan more unique than a male solo traveller from Switzerland (whom I've met yesterday on the hellish boat ride back from from Koh Rong Samloem), then I can only answer you: because obviously I'm a narrow minded schmock). Both of them, the gentlemen from Turkey and the lady from Kyrgyzstan are travelling by themselves - it seems to come more and more in fashion.

Kep
A nice view over a not so nice rice paddy. 

So I'm in Kep. Kep is nice. In a pretty small area, Kep has it all: The rice paddies in the backdrop of grand mountains, the crab market with the exotic treats, a nice little beach with Cambodian families enjoying food, drinks and each others company right on the sidewalks or in one of the simple cabanas.

Kep
Sumptuous rice paddies.

It has sculptures and temples and very friendly inhabitants.

Wat Samot Reangsey
Wat Samot Reangsey

Especially the kids are super nice and loved to wave and shout 'hello' as I passed them on my rattletrap bicycle. At one moment I even had to use both hands to wave back because it was a whole tuk tuk full of kids waving and cheering at me - I simply had to give it all. Then they tried out their English which went from 'hello' to 'what's your name?' and 'how old are you' - sentences they've obviously practiced in class. When I told them my age I only hoped that they've already learned such high numbers...

Crab Market
Heaps of dried shrimps and other delicacies from the ocean.

Crab Market - Fish Hawker
This fish hawker has the largest squids.

Crab Market Kep
Crabs - they gave the market its name.

No, really, everything was just perfect, I cycled criss cross town until I couldn't cycle no more - it's much more exhausting in the beaming sun.


Kep
Cute little super market with adjacent gas station; in case you wonder: it's the coke bottles to the right.

And as the cherry on the what-a-great-day-cake I ran into a guy from Singapore who's building an internet project here in Cambodia and we got along well and unexpectedly he invited me to dinner.

Papaya Salad in Kep
Yet another delicious dinner: Green papaya salad

After this day I can only say: merci, Fabrice, akun, driver of the year, teșekkür ederim, nice man from Izmir, спасибо, lovely lady from Kyrgyzstan, terima kasih, Vincent from Singapore - you have all chipped in to make my day!

At 5.30 sharp the sun sets over...Viet Nam: The islands on the horizon belong to Viet Nam.

Wanna know what happened before? Here are the previous chapters of my Cambodian Diary:


CAMBODIAN DIARY - 1st CHAPTER - Commotion in Phnom Penh

CAMBODIAN DIARY - 2nd CHAPTER - Confusion in Sihanoukville

CAMBODIAN DIARY - 3rd CHAPTER - Calmness in Koh Rong

CAMBODIAN DIARY - 4th CHAPTER - Complete Chaos in Koh Rong Samloem


Note to the curious reader: Like I did during my trip to Colombia earlier this year, in this Cambodian Diary I'm posting one chapter from every stop. At the end of the entire tour there will be an extended travel guide with all the relevant travel information including addresses, links etc. 
Until then, just enjoy my narratives and reflections.


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going up!

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