Caroline and Sven's Geriatric OE 2012 travel blog

Sven at the entrance to the caves.

Sunset over the salt fields.

Pepper vines are trained to grow up a pole.

Pepper corns growing.

Durian fruit tree - no smell yet!

Approaching Rabbit Island.

Offerings in front of shrine in Hotel Diamond.

First time stand up paddle boarding on the river at Kampot.

Sven didn't fall in the river either!

Caroline relaxing after the strenuous paddle boarding!

Cambodia celebrates Chinese New Year with a long weekend so we decided to head off to Kampot for the weekend.  Two other volunteers from NFO joined us - a NZ girl, and a Welsh girl.  We "lived it up" for the weekend in a very nice hotel $29 per night including breakfast -very expensive!

We took a mini bus trip one day to visit caves where Hindu shrines are inset into the caves.  Next stop was at a pepper plantation where we saw the pepper vines growing and the pepper corns hanging.  There are 3 harvests a year when the pepper corn stalks are picked and dried.  White pepper is produced by peeling off the skins of the pepper corn - it is done by hand at this plantation!  The plantation also grew lots of mangoes and durians - those are the spiky fruit in the photos.  They grow quite large - bigger than a football - and absolutely stink!  (They smell like sewerage to us).  Some hotels have notices forbidding any durians onto their premises.  Some people obviously think they taste delicious - definitely an acquired taste!

We boarded a boat to take us to Rabbit Island for lunch (no rabbits to be seen - unsure about the origin of the name!?). We had time for a laze in a deck chair and a swim in the luke warm water before returning to the mainland to visit the salt fields.  Due to torrential rain a couple of days ago, we did not see any of the white stuff.  Large fields are flooded  with sea water, it is left to evaporate, more water added, left to evaporate, until the salt can be raked up.  Obviously this is a seasonal job as the water would get too diluted during the rainy season.  It is the dry season now until about May.  We have only had a couple of small showers all the time we have been in Cambodia.

In Kampot we enjoyed massages two nights by the Seeing Hands (blind) people.  We paid $4 for an hour, they get $1 for each massage they do.  I remembered to say "medium" this time instead of "hard"!

Sven and I ventured across the river to Olly's Place where we tried stand up paddle boarding.  The conditions were perfect for learning on the river, calm and very little current or wind.  We were so proficient we didn't even fall off, but were  so hot by the time we got back we jumped into the river anyway!

We returned by bus, then tuktuk back "home" to Takeo.

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