Driving in Cambodia, like driving in Vietnam and India, involves constant use of the horn. It's a kind of echolocation, I think....."i'm here" ... "here" .... "over here." The ride from Phnom Penh to Kep took about 3 hours, and the transformation of the landscape was amazing. As we entered Kampot province, it started to shift a good bit, to greater lushness and tropical-looking vegetation. But when we crossed into Kep province, it was a startling difference; the vegetation was thick, dense, overgrown, beautiful. Architecture changed too, as the homes are built on stilts.
The cab was funny; there was a Playboy sticker on the glovebox door, a standard assortment of Buddhist things hanging from the rearview mirror, two bobble-head dogs bobbing along on the front dashboard, pillows and a padded kleenex box on the back dashboard, and a small handmade pillow with a counted cross-stitch cover on it, of a floppy-eared rabbit. Someone loves the cab driver a lot, I think. The best thing about him, aside from his saltiness, was his apparent love of 1980s love ballads (think Celine Dion) and rap. He played CDs the whole trip, and tapped his fingers on the steering wheel during the rap songs. Periodically he rubbed his face and neck with something that smelled very strongly like Vicks. As we got closer to Kep, it started raining a lot.
standard transportation in the countryside
Our hotel is amazing, really. It's the most wonderful room either of us has ever stayed in. The Ritz Carlton in Singapore was big-time marble fancy, but this is much more to our liking. It really is like being in a huge treehouse; we have a large private bungalow, with a lovely (and huge) veranda, complete with chairs and a loveseat, a table and chairs, a hammock (for tiny little Cambodians, not me!), and a long bench.
pouring down rain when we got here! we got soaked making the run to our bungalow
walkways through the trees, up to our bungalow
pathways through the complex
this was our view of the sunset, after the storm ended. it was really breathtaking.
We walked to the crab market for dinner - about a 10-minute walk from our hotel. The crab market is a street full of these little restaurants....kind of dodgy looking, but it seems to be where you eat in Kep. We picked the busiest one we could find, Kimly. I'd taken a nap, which always leaves me feeling awful and strange and out of it, so I was kind of, well, out of it. The restaurant was full of Americans, plus one table filled with young Korean men, whose table was covered with empty beer bottles. The food was ok, not much more, but very very greasy. Marc had seen a big plate of french fries going to another table, so he ordered a plate to go with his fried shrimp (I got fried rice with prawn meat); the french fries tasted like fried fish, but then so did everything. During the night, I think we both kind of regretted our dinner a little.
blogging on our veranda
While I've been writing this post, Marc walked around with the video camera, and said the pool is incredible so I know we'll spend some time there. Our plans for the day are to go to the pepper plantation and into old Kep to see King Sihanouk's old palace. Maybe. We'll see. It's also supposed to rain hard again today, so who knows.