Monday, June 29, 2009

Kampot / Kep, the lost images...

A few pictures from a trip to the countryside (see post below).

The view from Bodhi Villa.

Kampot - faded colonial.

The raft (in the rain), good for swimming.

Very lovely countryside on a visit to caves and Kep.

Kep. Not much to do apart from sit in a hammock eating crabs...

My toe.

More pics here.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Boats, Beach & River


We took a long weekend and headed out to the countryside for a few days, taking a taxi (cheaper than the bus) to Kampot, an hour and a half away. The road was mostly good but with a 200 yard stretch that looked like the moon with craters 8 feet wide.

Kampot is a sleepy little town, not much going on in low season so we stayed at Bodhi Villa a couple of km down the river. A lovely place with a terrace and raft looking out across the water. Was nice to swim in 'fresh' water for a change. Hoped to try waterskiing, but the speedboat was broke down, bah.

We took a day trip to the local sights; a cave with a small temple/shrine inside; some stalactites in the shape of an elephant and a crocodile. Nice enough. Kampot is (or at least used to be) world famous for the quality of the peppercorns grown here, so we went to a pepper plantation which was, a bit dull; no info, just a load of bushes on a hill. The landscape here is gorgeous - jungle clad hills covered in mist, flat plains of fields and paddies and the occasional rocky outcrop.

While at the plantation I bashed my toe on a rock and split the end of it off, bloody mess. Mostly healed now but it's going to look a bit funky for a while.

Then on to Kep, which makes Kampot look busy. Barely even a town, it's a collection of houses scattered along a bay and a hill, famous for it's crab (in kampot pepper of course).
Again, pretty quiet at this time of year, just a few Khmer tourists eating crabs in the shade.

Tried to arrange a trip to Bakor National Park where there's an abandoned hill station, but due to the construction of a new resort (casino, golf course? - let's hope not) the road is closed so you have to bribe the guards to get access, making the whole thing too expensive, used to be about $10 - $15 for the day, now it's about $40-$50...

Will upload the pictures at some point (some more archived in the list on the right).

Boat trip.

Back at the project we took the kids on a boat trip to a nearby island to clean up the beach in front of the fishing village.

Some might call it child labour, but I like to think of it as a lesson in eco-conservation.

Perfect weather, flat seas and sunshine, everyone had a great time, despite a few bouts of sea-sickness on the way back.

Took some of the kids to the beach yesterday...
(more pics here)

Just a couple more days here then heading to Battambang, Siem Reap and the temples at Angkor...


Monday, June 08, 2009

My eyes hurt


Had a bad fever (tue-sat) which kept me in the house all last week. Chills, sweats and a headache that didn't go til sunday night (with the help of a couple of beers). Not sure what it was (dengue?) but seems that everyone here gets it at some point. Cue much hilarity as i'm sitting around in jeans and a sweater (cheers andy!) while all around are in shorts and t-shirts.

All better now apart from a slight lingering headache so have been back at work the last couple of days.

Today (monday) is our day off so me and a couple of the other volunteers went to Ream National Park; opened by the King way back in 1993, it's a large area of river, mangroves, primary forest, coast and islands.

Took a fishing boat down the river for an hour or so with our 'guide' Mr Song; not the most informative man in the world, but he did point out 2 kinds of sea eagles (big), a couple of kingfishers and a load of storks.

The kingfishers are big, about a foot long from beak to tail and brightly coloured, but not as iridescent as the UK version.

Saw big flocks of storks, wading and on the wing on the way down the river to a small village (villagers that were already there have been allowed to stay in the park so long as they only fish using traditional methods). Moored up at this gorgeous jetty...

... went for a walk through the forest to a deserted beach for a swim, followed by a refreshing rinse in a freshwater stream before heading back to the jetty for lunch (BBQ baracuda - again).

Back on the boat, through more mangroves, more storks and a cock-fighting chicken that came aboard with his handler to get a lift to the ranger station at the park entrance...

So, not the most rugged of 'treks' by a long shot, but a lovely day - and great to get away from the town/beach/project for a bit.

More pics here.

Stay tuned.