Cycling to the Rapids

Friday, January 2, 2015

Kampot, Cambodia

It was a day for sleeping in and the kids didn't wake until after 8am. After the rock hard beds of Green Village Homestay, these beds were comparative luxury - though Jonno has only given the room 9 out of 10 as he says the pillows are too big. Georgia and I are giving it 9.5.

There were options other than eggs for breakfast today and Simon and Jonno went for baked beans and bacon with a baguette whilst Georgia had crepes with Bokor honey and lime which she loved. I stuck with the eggs - poached this time. Georgia and I also had fresh pineapple juice which was divine. Si went for a mug of Cambodian coffee which was strong, and slightly sweet, while I stuck with good old liptons tea. We ate on the verandah overlooking the river which was strangely quiet after all the chaos of the Mekong delta. It appears that there is little shipping activity on it at all.

We had identified our preferred bicycles whilst wandering the town last night and headed straight there to pay $2 USD for a days rental for a bike with 18 gears some of which were usable. We headed across the old bridge which was for bikes only (no cars) and through the other side of the town before picking up the road to Tek Chhou rapids about 8km out of town.

We passed the primary school were kids were finishing for the day (it was now 11am) and lots called "hello" and "how are you". Then we saw a veritable onslaught of bikes and motor cycles heading towards us as the high school kids finished for the day. There appeared to be hundreds of them.

The road had a slight incline which we noticed after the complete flatness of the Mekong Delta. We paid our 1USD each to enter the park, and cycled on to a group of little restaurants, food stalls and hammocks, which marked the main part of the rapids. The rapids were barely rapids, but a lovely little river that kids were swimming in. We enjoyed the view for a while then decided to check out the food stalls for lunch.

We spied some fried chicken skewers but then saw a whole roast chicken which we thought looked good. We stopped at one of the restaurants and a lovely woman offered help with the menu. After much discussion, we settled on a plate of fried squid with the local speciality, green pepper, and a bowl of rice and it was delicious! Our kindly helper spoke Khmer, lived in Chang Mai in Thailand and had studied at Cornell University in America.

After lunch we cycled a little further up the road and past the dam, but by now it was very hot, so we turned and headed back to town. We returned the bikes and stopped off for some ice cream and sorbet before returning to our room for some relaxation time.

We have identified our preferred restaurant for dinner, the Little Garden Cafe and booked a tuk tuk for tomorrow to explore the local countryside.