Sunday, January 29, 2012

Day 105 - 108: Sihanoukville - Recovery, Beach, Illness, Farewells

The perfect hangover cure is obviously a western breakfast. I'm not partial to full English myself, preferring something non-meaty and not dripping in fat. However, Paul is not as picky as me so in Moonlight Rock the next day, whilst I opted for the "Mamma Cass" Burnt Pancakes, he went for the "Joe Strummer" Plate o' Grease which he polished off in double-quick time. The girls opted for French Toast (Gilly) and Some Sort of Salad Thing Which Shouldn't Be Allowed As A Breakfast Option (Fi).

And then we hit the beach. Otres beach is lovely. I would never get tired of waking up and seeing that across the road. We stayed there for the day, eating at Dany's for lunch and tea. Unfortunately, Gilly got hit with some sort of stomach bug which knocked her out pretty badly so she slept through the evening. The next day, we headed to town as Fi had also picked up whatever the illness was, and was also suffering. Paul and I left them in Monkey Republic and high-tailed it to the local pharmacy where we were effectively fleeced of a small fortune by the smiling pharmacist for antibiotics and anti-emetics. Things weren't much improved when we then found out on our return that Fi was allergic to penicillin, amoxicillin, and most other medications ending in "cillin". On the plus side, the anti-emetic seemed to do the trick and settled their stomachs somewhat, and Gilly was feeling much better in the evening.

We decided to head back to the beach again with a couple of bottles of red wine in tow, for another evening on the sand after a meal at Dany's. I'm sure we could have found somewhere different for food if we'd wanted to, but when the grub is so damn good, there's not much point. On top of which, Dany's was home to a dog and her 4 ultra-cute puppies, so earned bonus points. There was also a very angry turtle nearby.

The next day started similarly, but we checked out of the bungalows. I had a chat with Sane, the guy running the place. He has grand plans which include, but are not limited to: adding an organic garden, planting mango an coconut trees, converting the centre hub of the bungalows to look like a tree by covering the wood with bark, covering everything in orchids, putting a pond in one corner with a bridge across it, serving traditional Khmer family dinners to guests, and much more. Whilst I was there, he had settled on a name - Otres Orchid. I'm fairly sure the price won't remain at $15/night once it's all in place. His staff include his niece and nephew, the latter I provided some on-the-fly tech support to as his laptop was having some issues, and he also wanted to get an email account set up and get onto Facebook. Sane's laptop also had a couple of problems, but I sorted them out too. It's good to keep your hand in. 

We ended up back in town in the evening. We had to do a few "chores" (booking bus tickets, printing off the e-visas, etc). We had also booked back into Sunday Guesthouse, as the bus left from the tour shop at 7:15am and we wanted to be within walking distance in the morning, then headed into Monkey Republic for some pool. This soon turned into Torchlight Pool, as the electrics went out and the generator which was supposed to bring things back up didn't do its job, so I used the torch on my handy multi-tool (see also: opening wine bottles) to help us pot the balls. The girls claimed they got bored of playing in near-darkness. I maintain that they were outplayed by two professional pool sharks.  

After a meal at Seahorse (Coca-Cola ribs? Yes, they do work), we took Paul and Fi to the excellent Sisters Bakery (the twin of one in Kampot, and apparently there's a third in Phnom Penh). I was starting to feel a little queasy so we decided to head back to Sunday Guesthouse for a relatively early (11pm) night. There had been a bit of panic as we thought the visa may actually have expired on the 27th which would have put us a day over, but it ended up being on the 28th, which was a relief. Unfortunately, my illness only got worse - it was clearly the same thing that Gilly and Fi had, with the added complication that I couldn't actually vomit because of my fundoplication. Being sick is generally your body telling you that it needs to get some bad stuff out of it now. When it can't do that, it's both frustrating and weakening. I was almost in convulsions as I tried in vain to retch up whatever it was that needed to come out, only for my newly tightened oesophageal valve to say "" I had to rely on the anti-emetics to get through the night, which was punctuated at 3am by a nearby temple blasting out chanting from someone at breakneck speed over a microphone. It was so loud, he could have been just outside the room. This went on for three hours. I staggered over to the pack and managed to fish out some fairly ineffective earplugs (note to any traveller - invest in high-quality earplugs. You won't regret it). Then it was time for some temple music. This continued until we checked out at 7am, by which time I was fully awake due to the hot-water shower not pumping out any hot water. I was not in the best shape when we left, and matters were not helped by us getting to the tour shop at the allotted time, only for the bus transfer that was supposed to pick us up at 7:15am not arriving, and a food stall lady telling us that it had arrived at 7am and left. Unsure what to do, we hung around, mainly because the tour shop receptionist had been explicit that we should be there on time and that the pick-up would be outside the shop. Well, we'd got there 10 minutes early, and as the clock ticked closer to the main bus's leaving time of 8am, we were starting to sweat - not least because the sun was now up, and we were slowly being cooked outside the shop. Fortunately, the tour shop opposite also had people waiting outside for Trat, so we took a chance and decided to hang on. At 8:05am, the main bus actually turned up. This is one of the most frustrating things I noticed about SE Asia in general - you get given a specific time to be somewhere, and then are left waiting around for the best part of an hour, which could have been spent in bed. I like bed. I especially like it when I'm ill, and have only had 3 hours sleep due to a zealot on a microphone. Sometimes though, you have to carry on, so we said our goodbyes to Paul and Fi (who we'll be seeing again in the Thai islands in a couple of weeks with any luck) and got onto the bus for a 10 hour hell-ride to Trat.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day 99 - 104: Sihanoukville - Island hopping, Birthday and Reunions

It's been a busy week. The island cruise was a bit of a mixed bag. On the plus side, we were on a nice boat and visited a fairly good snorkelling place as well as an amazing beach. On the minus side, the boat ride was rough and the snorkelling was spoiled by me having serious issues with my mask.

Let's start at the beginning. I don't usually get seasick. My constitution is solid enough to handle travel sickness a lot better than when I was younger; having parents that smoked on car journeys will soon teach you the meaning of serious travel sickness. The boat ride to the island was something else. It didn't just bob, it pitched. I can cope with front-to-back motion, but the sea was so choppy that it was throwing bar stools over at regular intervals. Thankfully one of the Canadian passengers had a tablet which seemed to work pretty quickly, and which I was very grateful for.

We stopped at Koh Pos and headed into the water to do some snorkelling. Almost immediately I got water into the mask and up my nose. I had the same issue doing a try-dive in Greece a couple of years ago. It's really frustrating, as it means I can't be underwater for more than 15-20 seconds or so. In Greece, the dive instructor adjusted my mask and did something that sorted the issue - there wasn't really enough time here for that. I must have an odd-shaped face; Gilly didn't have any problems, even when we swapped masks. Hopefully I won't have similar trouble when we learn to dive in Koh Tao. The coral I saw looked pretty dead. but there were still colourful fish swimming in it.

We had a decent buffet lunch on the boat which included some great fish amok and some dubious "garlic" bread, before the next destination.

The second stop was at Saracen Bay in Koh Rong Samlon, a picture-perfect white beach which was deserted other than us. We chose this boat because it visited here unlike the rest of the tourist boats which go to Bamboo Island and other more heavily visited areas. White powdery sand, warm turquoise couldn't ask for a more lovely beach.

Whilst there, our guide - Rain - gave us a 30 minute tour through a jungle marsh where we were waist-high in warm water, coloured brown from the olive and tea-tree plants nearby. I managed to get a photo of a bird which I haven't yet identified - if any ornithologists know what this is, please let me know!

After a peaceful two hours, we got back into the boat (I swam back, the water was lovely and warm) and headed back to Sihanoukville. It was worth paying a bit more to get to the island, but I would have got more out of it if the snorkelling had been better.

It rained in the evening, so we ran for cover in Seahorse Restaurant and I opted for chicken with Kampot pepper and chilli, the latter of which almost blew my head off. Tasty, though.

The next day we hung out around the Serendipity Beach area and in Monkey Republic we met Barry and Laura, two Dubliners who are working in Hanoi and came to Sihanoukville for a holiday, as well as Rick, a Chicagoan. After relaxing on Serendipity in the afternoon, we met them in the evening and went bar-hopping. The beach bars turn pump out music in the evening and have loads of drinks offers to entice you in. We went to the Dolphin Shack and played some beer pong, the rules of which differed from our games in Vang Vieng. As it was windy, it was pretty tough to get a ping-pong ball across a table tennis table and into a beaker, but Gilly and I managed to win one game. We stayed there until midnight and as the hour hit 12, the speakers pumped out "Happy Birthday" music and I hit the big 3-1.

Barry and Rick took us up to Otres Beach for my birthday proper the next day. This beach is far, far nicer than Serendipity. You get much less hassle from masseurs or hawkers, and it's much quieter and has a far more relaxed vibe. Add into the mix a nicer beach, better bars and food, as well as the perfect sunset spot, and we were smitten. We played pool, swam, sunbathed, and watched the sun go down before heading back to the town.

Back to Monkey Republic for a birthday burger and beer tower, then on to Dolphin Shack where Barry and I performed miserably at Beer Pong against two new Dutch friends, Garwin and Stanzi (who is so good, she can get them in with her eyes closed, literally).

A few games of pool later, and we were on the beach with two more new friends, Dan and Maddy from Hertfordshire. Despite being decrepit, I somehow managed to outpace Gilly who threw in the towel at about 2am. Barry, Stanzi, Garwin and I managed another hour or so, and I wandered back to the hotel...via a casino. It turns out that Cambodian casinos are a bit odd. They had a card game I have never seen before which seems to involve getting dealt two cards, showing them to the dealer, and either winning or losing. There doesn't appear to be any skill to it. Aside from eight such tables, a few automated roulette machines and a stack of slots, there wasn't much else in there. I chucked a few dollars into the machines, lost quickly, then made it back home for 4am.

The next day was predictably a write-off. Luckily, a baguette at Mick and Craig's followed by a piece of amazing fudge cake at Sisters Bakery helped sweep the cobwebs away. We were also fortunate to meet our good friends Patrick and Cayleigh again, who had been cycling just behind us for a few days and had now caught up. Their commitment to cycling Asia is admirable. I could barely cope with a few kilometres - these guys are putting in crazy distances, upwards of 150km on some days. We had a fairly good meal at Holy Cow in the evening, shared a bottle of wine, and caught up with their adventures (including losing one camera in a tuk-tuk, and smashing another during a manoeuvre worthy of Street Hawk). They will hopefully get a replacement camera in Bangkok, before heading into that will be an adventure to cycle around. It may be the last time we see them before we visit them in Toronto in September.

On the 23rd we said goodbye to Patrick and Cayleigh, and hello to fellow Miltonites and super-awesome friends Paul and Fi. We hadn't expected our paths to cross before Thailand, but they sped through Vietnam and were keen for some well-earned beach time after a fairly torrid time in China. Since it was Chinese New Year, all the hotels doubled their prices for a few days, so we took the opportunity to move to Otres Beach. It was the best place to be in the day anyway, so it made sense to have it on our doorstep. It was a bit of a risk, as we just turned up on the beach front and hoped to find a room. It was looking pretty shaky until just before 12pm when we got lucky and managed to got ourselves and Paul and Fi a double room each at Moonlight Rock. We paid $14 for what was basically a small room in a large hut above the bar with a mattress, fan and mosquito net, and with a shared cold water bathroom. It was by no means ideal, but far better than the only other option we could find on the road - a filthy mattress in a shack, with rubbish and rusty nails strewn on the floor. The pair arrived at about 7:30, and as we were all hungry we headed to Dany's for a seafood and chicken BBQ which filled a hole quite pleasantly. We'd been well prepared and bought a bottle of red ahead of time, so sat by the beach catching up and drinking wine, beer and a few cocktails - bliss.

It was fantastic to catch up with friends from back home, and we'll be seeing some other good friends, V and Colin in a couple of weeks too, as they are flying out for a 3 week holiday in Cambodia and Thailand. 

We could only keep Paul and Fi's room for one night as the guesthouse had a booking, so on the morning of the 24th, after some pancakes and a plate of fruit, I did some recon on the bungalows to see if I could find them a place to stay. I was in luck - we'd found some new bungalows run by a lovely chap who had offered us a floor in his place if we'd been unable to find anywhere the day before. And on that morning, a couple of bungalows became available for both of us. One dollar more got us our own standalone bungalow, a big room with ensuite and hot water, and a deck with a hammock. The actual property was still in the process of being finished, but these bungalows were practically brand new and a complete steal. Having got our digs sorted, we spent the day at Otres beach and introduced Paul and Fi to the concept of "not doing a fat lot": something they hadn't had the opportunity to do (or rather, not do) for quite some time. What can be better than sitting on a sunbed, occasionally popping to the bar for some beers or food, and enjoying a great sunset? When you think "beach holiday", I expect Cambodia doesn't come anywhere near the top of the list. It probably doesn't even cross your mind to put it on the list in the first place. But after spending over a week here, I can definitely say that I would return in an instant to Sihanoukville if I wanted a relaxing fortnight on the beach. We had fish amok at Dany's beach house which was hands-down the best amok I'd eaten in Cambodia, and huge portions - more than enough for two people. So good in fact, we had it 3 days in a row for lunch. In the evening we took a trip to the Beach Road to meet up with Barry, Laura, Rick, Garwin and Stanzi. I had a pool score to settle with Barry which I did (but only just) and after some burgers at Monkey Republic, we headed to the beach front for some drinks where it proceeded to bucket down with rain for 45 minutes solid. We had a free drink at JJ's thanks to picking up some flyers from a drunken tout (the only thing worth going to JJ's for, as the place smells of vomit and the staff are pretty much all wasted), before moving on to an odd little bar next door run by a Korean family where the owner - who must be in his 60s - acts as barman and DJ, whilst his elderly wife sits at the cashier desk. A surreal experience. 

Then it was on to Dolphin Shack, where the body paint was out in force. Gilly got a pattern from a bar girl, I painted a star on Fi (or possibly a man: I like to leave things open to interpretation. As artists go, I'm a bit of a maverick), and Fi added a bumblebee to hers before painting a picture of...erm...something on my arm. Not entirely sure what, but it was a tremendous effort and I'm pretty sure if I'd cut my arm off and put it in a museum, it would have won the Turner Prize. 

From then on out, we were set for the night. Much partying ensued, as well as the obligatory "floor photos".

We also met up with a couple of Aussies, Darcy and Ben, who had beaten me and Paul at pool earlier in the evening. They were 19. I felt ridiculously old. It does help somewhat that most new people we meet have me firmly pegged at around 25. I can cope with that.

3am rolled around, and it was time to head home. The tuk-tuk driver was probably not in the best condition. He almost crashed immediately after setting off, and then when we were 15 metres away from our bungalows, he stopped, ran to the side of the road, and relieved himself. I guess when you gotta go...

We decided that it would probably be a good idea to take it easy the next day.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day 97 - 98: Sihanoukville - Arrival

The bus dropped us off near Serendipity Beach road, which was exactly where we wanted to be. It was a 5 minute walk to Sunday Guesthouse (we'd pre-booked to avoid any issues), and we were all checked in to a large, comfortable room with hot water. We walked back to the beach road, and stopped at The Big Easy for some decent western food for lunch. Sometimes you just need to have a burger.

Unfortunately, the weather took a turn for the worse so we decided to head back to the room for a few hours to have a nap and catch up on reading. The rain bucketed down until about 7pm when it slowed somewhat, and we went out for some unexpectedly good seafood at Black Grouper restaurant on the beach road. The owner is a 66 year old Aussie who only bought the place 3 months ago and has turned it into a decent place to eat. The service is pretty abysmal, even by Khmer standards, but if you can get over that then it's worth the wait for food.

Sihanoukville has 4 main beaches: Independence, Victory, Serendipity/Occheuteal, and Otres. We were originally going to stay at Victory for new year before we found out the entire town was booked out, and it turns out we had a lucky escape, as we are told that Victory is now the haunt of drug dealers and prostitutes. Serendipity is part of Occheuteal beach, which is the main backpacker area stuffed full of beach bars, cheap drinks and deckchairs galore. Otres is the nicest beach, with not much going on in comparison, but lots of clean white sand and far fewer tourists.

We headed to Occheuteal the next day to laze about in the sun, drinking beers and cocktails, eating crab, and frolicking in the sea. It's nice not to worry about visiting site after site, monument after museum, temple after statue, and Sihanoukville has no pretensions: it's a tourist town, it knows it, and it is good at it. People may tell you that travelling is hard work. On occasion, it is. Most of the time though, we've not been stressed. I think a lot of it comes down to the places you visit. Oldy and Fi had a rough time of it in China but undoubtedly came away more enlightened than someone who say, spent their entire travels island-hopping. I think we've picked a good mixture of culture and tourism. There's an ongoing argument that asks whether you are a "traveller" or a "tourist", as if the latter is a pejorative. Sure, you can visit all of the same places and see the same sights that everyone else visits, but does that make you a tourist? Does being a "traveller" mean that you have to rough it up with the locals for your entire trip, eat where they eat, sleep where they sleep, learn the language and so forth? How much time do you need to spend away from tourist areas before you're classed as a "traveller"?

I think a decent argument was made by Nomadic Matt in response to someone claiming he was a "safe" traveller who didn't venture away from the well-worn tourist paths. I do this for me.

Whilst on the beach, you'll be approached by various people selling things. They may be kids with bracelets or fireworks(!) - don't buy from them, as it only keeps them out of school and Cambodia is actively trying to cut out child exploitation. They may be bar staff offering free drinks if you go to their club in the evening. They may be tour operators selling snorkelling trips out on boats. They may also be old Cambodian women who practice "threading". I'd not heard of this before, but it's essentially an alternative to leg waxing which involves two pieces of cotton thread (which look like dental floss) and some talc. Gilly decided to give it a go and found it effective but painful. They also tried to get me to partake by trying it on my nipple. Not the best marketing technique I've come across. It was not pleasant. I politely but firmly declined.

We were also approached by an English guy offering snorkelling trips out to 3 islands in one day which had breakfast and lunch thrown in. After some consideration, we decided to take him up on the offer and booked it for the following day. The weather forecast predicted thunderstorms, but then it predicted thunderstorms on the day we booked it and there wasn't a cloud in sight. I'm pretty sure meteorology is just guesswork. I may regret saying that when we get on the boat and it is pouring with rain.

Food that night came courtesy of Seahorse Restaurant on the beach road. I ordered chicken with green kampot pepper. It also must have had some seriously hot chilli in it as halfway through I found my mouth was on fire. Tasty though, and they do cracking spring rolls too.

Snorkelling awaits tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day 95 - 96: Kampot

You would think after visiting a sleepy little coastal town like Kep we'd be happy to spend a few days in Kampot. Oddly though, Kampot compares unfavourably with the smaller town. I think it may be due to the slightly sprawling way everything is laid out. The guesthouses are a fair distance away from the riverside and the restaurants are also spread randomly. In many ways, it's like a "normal" town rather than one catering to visitors which would be great if there's anything of note to do...but there isn't.

We did consider going to Bokor National Park and wandering around the ghost town. That plan was ditched as soon as we found out that there are some huge developments going on which have ruined any sort of atmosphere the place may have had.

We originally planned to stay at "Olly's Place", a set of bungalows by the river about 3km out of town. When we got there though, it seems like his website oversold the rooms significantly. They are basically 8ft by 6ft huts on stilts, with cold water and share bathrooms. All of this I could have coped with if the bed was comfortable. It wasn't. We hightailed it back to town, and spent one night in Sambor Sambath guesthouse (stuffy and not particularly comfortable) and the next night in Long Villa (cooler, more comfortable but pretty grim). If we visited again, we'd probably head to the main guesthouse strip nearer the centre. As it was, we were walking from Olly's with fully loaded packs in 30 degree heat and decided to take the first place we came across. Typically, in a country over-run by tuk-tuks to the degree that you want to set fire to the next person that asks you if you'd like one, when we actually wanted a tuk-tuk to get us into town there were none to be found. None. That seems to me to be Kampot all over, a town of contradictions.

So what did we do in the two days between getting in and out? Well, after arriving we ate at Captain Chim's (not bad), went to Rusty Keyhole for dinner (amazing ribs, possibly the best I've ever eaten), and had a wood-fired pizza at Long Villa the next night (took the best part of an hour to come, but was worth the wait in the end). In the daytime we played mini-golf and Trivial Pursuit at the Magic Sponge which is owned by an Alaskan man so relentlessly cheery, he could bottle it and sell it to the UN to make the world a better place. We bought some fantastic "pepper cookies" from Salt and Pepper bakery, which sound like they may be disgusting but actually tasted fantastic. We browsed the town's single bookshop and I picked up another novel ahead of beach time in Sihanoukville. We also made friends with a tiny gecko (it is alive, but it was playing dead for the photo).

Finally, we took a river cruise with Captain Chim down the river at sunset on the second night, under the gaze of the Bokor mountain range. This was well worth doing, and was a peaceful, enjoyable trip with some great photo opportunities.

No river cruise would be complete without some post-cruise cocktails, so we spent an hour looking over the river from Rikitikitavi restaurant doing just that.

Two days in Kampot was plenty for us, and we were keen to head on to some beach action in Sihanoukville so we booked an 8am bus the next day which, predictably, came at 8:45. Cambodian people make the Laotians look punctual.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day 93 - 94: Kep

Kep was quiet. No, scratch that. Kep made Phonsavan look like Vegas. It's the first place I'd visited where I felt comfortable enough to hire bicycles to ride around when Gilly suggested it. There is practically no traffic in Kep. Aside from a few people on scooters, and about ten tuk-tuk drivers servicing the entire town, the roads are dead. This is ideal for me.

Let me explain something: I have an irrational fear of riding bicycles. It may stem from not being brought up with a bike (I was never allowed one as a kid - "they're too dangerous!") and I didn't really need one. My hometown wasn't exactly huge, and you could walk anywhere in about 10 minutes.  I learned to ride my cousin's bike in Canada, aged 11. This was the extent of my bike-riding experience, unless you count the ill-fated time I went out for an 8-mile bike ride with Rick in Swindon and could barely walk afterwards; an adventure I still only refer to today as "That bike ride". To say I'm not confident on a bike is an understatement. You could take a glistening newborn foal, tape its front hooves to a bike's handlebars and give it a push, and it would still do a better job at riding than me.

So Kep was the perfect opportunity to get reacquainted with the two-wheeled terrors.

You may be expecting a horror story of me falling off and getting my foot run over by a tuk-tuk as I laid sprawled in the road. You would be disappointed: I managed to go the whole day without a single incident. It was touch and go at times, especially on the ride back to the guesthouse after dinner, when the roads were pretty dark and we were hurtling down a hill at a good 15-20km/hr. One errant pothole, and it may have been another story. It was exhilarating though, and I can see why people enjoy cycling so much.

Kep itself is a small collection of guesthouses and restaurants. That's pretty much it, aside from some odd statues dotted about, including a naked white lady, a huge crab, and two golden things which the locals apparently describe as "golden over-sized chickens". I'll let you decide if that's accurate.

We were staying in a fairly new guesthouse: Visal Sak. It was so new, they hadn't hooked up the hot water yet, so we experienced our first cold shower room since leaving England. Given the humidity, it was actually pretty nice but not something I'd want to make a habit of.  

Crab is the flavour du jour in Kep. If you come here, you must eat crab. It's what they do. It's like going to New York and not eating a pizza. I was expecting big things on the crab front, and was not disappointed. For lunch the first day, we shared a large plate of crab fried rice at Kimly. Marvellous. In the evening, I opted for something a bit different with a local chicken dish at Breezes which was pretty tasty, but spoiled somewhat by a huge hair in among the meat.

The next day we did what most people who come to Kep do (other than eat crab): visit Rabbit Island. This is a short boat journey over to an island which has a fairly decent beach, a number of beach restaurants, and not much else. The water is quite clear and shallow and while there's snorkelling to be done, there's unlikely to be much to see. We met an American-German girl called Roxanne, and decided to do a circuit of the entire island. This took the best part of two and a half hours, and we got slightly lost cutting through the jungle at one point where we almost ended up in a swamp (I had visions of Krull - "I found Rob's body in the quicksand.") We were pretty hot and sweaty by the time we finally got back to the main beach, but looking forward to a swim and some food. Unfortunately, as soon as our feet touched the sand it started to rain. We went swimming anyway, but the rain continued intermittently for the rest of the day, waiting to soak us properly on the boat back to the mainland. Still, it was the first beach break we'd had since Ha Long Bay, and well worth the trip over to the island. Why is it called Rabbit Island? Because if you lie on the floor and squint at it a bit through a beer glass, it supposedly looks like a rabbit. I think the locals have a vivid imagination.

Still, we enjoyed a decent meal of fried fish at one of the shacks, did a spot of reading, then got the boat back to the mainland at 4pm. Our final meal in Kep was back at Kimly, where we splashed out on two plates of crab: one with the famous Kampot pepper (this stuff is pretty special), and the other which was labelled as having "spices", but turned out to be a satay sauce which worked really well.

I think crab has dethroned shrimp as my new favourite seafood. 

We left the guesthouse the next day to head to Kampot, the home of the pepper and according to a few people we'd met, lots of fun stuff.