Today, the plan is to explore the friendly and engaging town of Kampot, Cambodia. Actually, it is a city but with a small town feel. Hotel supplied breakfast was included in this accommodation package, so a leisurely breakfast was the order of the day and then a morning walk around town.
As the morning was heating up, we decided to call our personal Tuk Tuk driver Mr Bun- who answers the phone "Hello Brother", followed by my reply, "Good Morning Mr Bun, this is Rod from the Boutique Hotel" , Mr Bun replies with-" yes, yes my friend, where you want to go?" I ask for a pick up from the hotel and drop off at the market, he said 10 minutes, he was there in five.
He dropped us at the local market and ever so politely said, he would pick us up when we had finished, we paid him the $3 and off we all go. The local market was just that, so we skipped the fresh meat section, (which is fairly confronting in an Asian Market), bought a hand of bananas and a couple of dragon fruit, wandered around talking with locals and children, looking at all the things we would like to take home. It was starting to get hot under cover and coffee was calling, which by the way, Khmer dripped or brewed coffee is starting to become addictive and we started walking towards a food area of town. A short time later, Mr Bun drives past saying - "where you want to go? Get in" - I think he may have been stalking us, so we kindly waved him on, promising we would call after our coffee.
Coffee consisted of French Pressed (plunger) coffee and a coke for Mrs Wombat. The coffee was that strong, my senses were well and truly alive. We sat around for a while watching the backpackers walk and ride past and generally watching the world go by, listening to the many languages that can be heard in this town.
A decision was made to go to a lovely bakery style cafe, grab some kind of baguette, donut or some other French or western pastry. We decided to stay and have another drink and some food. Another hour gone and I ask for a cinnamon scroll to take away, meanwhile there are at least 6 Tuk Tuk drivers eyeing us off ready to offer a ride, but we ring our new personal driver, Mr Bun, who is there in 60 seconds flat and off we go to a relaxing afternoon by the pool.
The Evening River Cruise.
We had prearranged and booked, through our hotel for an evening sunset and firefly cruise along the Kampong Bay River. This is a must do in Kampot and consists of a 2 hour cruise, free beer, ( no, there was no free beer, even though Mr Wombat waited patiently), a beautiful view of the sunset from the deck of the boat and to see fire flies, once it had gotten dark. The arrangement was that the boat company would pick us up around 4.30 - 4.45 pm for a 5 pm departure. We went downstairs to the hotel lobby, the staff (who booked our trip) asked where we were going? ..... and on explaining, "Sunset River cruise", there was much discussion and a few frantic phone calls out of ear shot. It became clear they had forgotten to book the cruise or the pick up, or maybe both!! We sat patiently and within a few minutes, a Tuk Tuk turns up to take us to the boat - all good.
We join the boat and find a good seat, watching the comings and goings of other people both on our boat and adjoining boats. The Sunset Cruise is an important tourist activity, and our boat was full of travellers and people from a variety of countries.
The engines start, away we go, slowly pulling away from the side and the boat settled in to a gentle hum as we head out along the river. We chat with a number of people, noting a large Cambodian family onboard complete with a fully loaded esky and wine!
Mr Wombat waits for his beer, but no sign of that, so we go over to an esky and buy a couple of drinks. We loved the peacefulness of the river, eventually dropping anchor to watch the sunset, just lovely.
One of the ladies from the Cambodian family, must have felt sorry for us, as she appears in front of us with 2 hard boiled eggs and salt and pepper! Not wanting to offend, we thank her profusely and try and peel and eat the eggs. They were delicious!
Next minute, a rickety private boat putters along the river towards us, onboard are 2 young ladies who are sitting in deck chairs on the front of the boat. We all have a laugh about their basic amenities, we offer them some of our egg and they buy drinks from our boat, before heading off , laughing and waving. Our trusty boat captain turns on party lights and music, we sit and enjoy the beautiful evening and river and watch the fishermen coming in.
Once it is totally dark, we head over to the bank to see the fire flies. Whilst there are not hundreds of them, there were enough to see what a beautiful show they put on.
We eventually fire up the engines and head back to the starting point, just one of the best evenings.