This was our second night at Kep. The rain had not stopped. In fact, it seemed to be raining harder. We ran over to the dining room and sat in the bar area. A lady came over and sat near us. She was the owner’s mother. We talked for a while – mostly about the weather and where we were from and what we were doing. We had our usual drinks. I had red wine and Shawn finally decided that Cambodian beer was his best choice. I had a few sips and thought the beer was very good. I think we were the only ones in the dining room. I had crab cakes and Shawn had snapper fish. Everything was delicious. Nothing exciting happened – it was very quiet except for the steady rain. We went back to our rooms. We had decided to get up early as we were going to go to Bokor National Park – supposedly teeming with wildlife and an eerie abandoned hill station. I worked on my blog and then did some reading. The turn-down service arrived and brought with them two yummy little chocolate cakes. The wind was blowing and water was coming into my room from under the door. I put towels to cover up the gap. I finally went to bed hoping that the rain would eventually stop.
Shawn and I met to go to breakfast and the rain continued. We went to the reception area and found Dave there. He said he had left a message the day before but we never got it. He suggested that we leave Kep and go on to Phnom Penh. He thought it would be too difficult to go to Bokor National Park. I think if he had had a decent 4-wheel drive, it wouldn’t have been a problem as photos in the mist and rain can sometimes be very interesting. He said that his company would pay for our extra night in Phnom Penh but of course we wouldn’t get any refund from Knai Bang Chat Hotel. Guess we couldn’t complain as we did get two rooms for the price of one. After seeing the bill, we saw that our food cost was the highest of any of the hotels. Dave said he would pick us around 12. We went back to pack up our things. There was a lull in the rain so I ran around and took some photos. Dave arrived on time and we began our ride to Phnom Penh. It was suppose to take around 5 or 6 hours. As we moved out of the area, it stopped raining and by the time we had lunch – the sun was out. One good thing – the roads were a lot better – they were bumpy at times but lots of decent roads in between.
I noticed that whenever something was sold along the road, it was always a repeat of the same thing. Near one small town we saw many outdoor hammock stands. We stopped so I could get a photo. Near another town, we saw many stands selling rambutan. It was the same that time we stopped for the sticky rice. Many of the same businesses all in a row.
We also saw a lot of fields of plastic bag-like contraptions and discovered that they were grasshopper catchers. The Cambodians use some of the grasshoppers to eat themselves but mainly export them to Viet Nam.
If some of the photos seem a bit dusty, it is because I had to shoot out of the front window which was dirty and hardly ever cleaned. Shawn’s window wouldn’t even open. We are lucky we even got some decent out-of-the window shots at all.
Photos captured along the way:
We stopped at what Dave called a boutique hotel for lunch. It was off the beaten path but not too far from the main road. At least this time, he knew where to find the restaurant. It was hidden away among trees and shrubs with a lotus pond nearby. We were the only ones there. It was an open-air restaurant – no overhead fans. I spent the time waiting for our food, taking photos of the plants and flowers nearby. The lotus flower is so beautiful. The Cambodians usually eat only the seeds. Other Asians eat every part of it. The lotus is an important symbol in Hindu and Buddhist lore and iconography. In both religious traditions, the lotus, untarnished by the foul waters from which it rises, has become synonymous with overcoming the attachments of our impure physical world to achieve a state of perfection and grace.
After lunch we continued on. We stopped at one place to see a bridge which was about 800 years old. The Khmer Rouge tried to blow it up but for some reason didn’t succeed.