|Hi from a soggy Kampot.
When I said wet, wet, wet for the title of today’s little offering, I wasn’t kidding, its monsoon wet. And what did I do on such a wet day? I can’t believe I’m going to tell you, less I’m carted off to the mad house when I get home.
Well it’s not really my fault as I did ask the weather god to give me a decent day and up to now he has answered my prayers, but not today.
Before I decide if I’m going to tell, I had better quickly give you breakfast details. Nothing unusual this morning, just 2 eggs, bacon and French bread. Still, it was rather good. Excellent French bread is a carryover from the French Colonial period. Good French coffee too!
OK I’ll let on about my morning madness but don’t tell Judy. I thought yesterday, that I would like to go up Bokor Mountain as, until recently, it was almost impossible as there was only a track up, but now, with a new road, it is easily accessible. So, with the rain tumbling down, I had to decide if I was going to sit around or go for it. Go for it I did and said my prayer to the weather god. I quickly realised that it was going to be one of those days for as I struggled into my already torn poncho, it ripped completely and became bin material. Reception said I could get another at a shop 15 yards from hotel, so over I went and picked one up for about 60p!!! Even at that price it was better than the one I paid £8 back home. I was spoilt for colour choice but ended up with blue.
Neatly adorned in my new poncho, I set off with Thea, my motorbike driver. It was now quite windy as well as pouring! You can see the pic of Thea with nice shiny crash helmet. It’s law that a driver has one on but passengers don’t count so no crash hat for me. Prayer this time to my friend the transport god! I was assured that Thea was a good driver and had never had accident. I thought there has to be a first for everything but no worries it was at least a safe day. (Not counting possible hyperthermia, pneumonia, or simple bad chill!).
Bokor Mountain is about 1000 mts high and the old church, which is about 100 years old and the old casino, are up the top. It was about 30 minutes to the turn off for the mountain and we were already soaked. At least it was warm soaked. As we started to climb and manoeuvre around continuous hair pin bends, the rain got heavier, the wind blew harder and it got colder. By this time I couldn’t see at all! My glasses were soaked and steamed up. I even tried to put them on the end of my nose and although I could see a bit, I was concerned they would blow away, so I continued blind. Up and up we went, bend after bend and now the general visibility, even with good eyesight was down to about 20 yards. By the time we had sort of reached the top (I say sort of as visibility was now about 20 feet and bike was at a crawl with headlight blazing to totally zero effect and we were not sure exactly where we were). Thea said he had been up here countless times but never in such bad visibility. He said he was sure the church was around nearby but could he see it – couldn’t actually see a thing! We passed a policeman and Thei turned to ask. Policeman was beaming – was he laughing at the soaked passenger? (I had long since given up with the hood as it kept blowing off and hair now hanging down). We turned round after receiving instructions and crawled back for about 400 mts. No church! We turned again and Thea pulled onto a rough track and stopped 50 yds along, No church. He left me with the bike and ran like a thing possessed in one direction, then another, then another. No church. It was back to the road with Thea laughing hysterically and back up the hill to the policeman. He was now also laughing hysterically. After another helping of instructions, we turned again and headed down – very very slowly! I had eyes peeled too but it was Thea who spotted a vague shadow to the left. Pulling onto the track the Church was only about 20 yards from the road! It was really eerie, like a ghost in the mist, but stunning. It was in reasonable condition even though it had been open to the elements for many a year. It was of course, totally empty, save for the stone alter and lots of graffiti. The windows were long gone but the roof offered some protection. I was quite cold and I was a bit loathed to take my poncho off but the camera was in rucksack and unless the poncho came off – no photos.
For the sake of you all at home, I suffered the cold and took a few pics. All of my clothes were now wet, right down to undies – not a nice feeling! I ventured outside into the mist but it wasn’t actually raining so I took a few shots into the mist. It was then back on the bike and off to the old casino, a building that looked great in pics I had seen on the web back home. As it loomed out of the mist gone were the lichen clad, crumbling walls. Although not going to be used again, the building had been spruced up, with newly rendered walls – GRRRRRRRRRRRRR – old lichen clad, crumbling walls were what people come for. Oh well. I did however find that if I stood back and photographed the whole building, you could, because of the mist, only see a ghostly outline. So that was it, a couple of pics later and we were on our way down.
We arrived back about 4 and a half hours after our 10.30 start. The reception kindly took my shoes and I hope they dry out by the morning. The rest of my clothes are hanging in the bathroom, again, fingers crossed they dry for the mornings pack. A hot shower and change of clothes later, I was back in the restaurant, placing an order for fillet steak and all the trimmings. See pic. Did I need that! I tell you it’s a good job I am not here more than the 2 days or I would be spending all of my cash eating my way through the menu! The food is as good as any I have had in the UK (well it is a French restaurant).
After the late lunch / early dinner I wandered the streets with my camera, taking anything that caught my eye, including the young ladies from the shop next door. We had become good friends after I spent lots on goodies for home.
After I had returned and written a good part of the blog rom my room, I went to the front porch area to continue. Several people were eating and that led to the inevitable! One bruschetta, one coke and one coffee (real good French coffee) later I am starting to get attacked by mozzies so it’s back to the room to finish off.
One of the blighters has followed me in so I’ll be trying to swat it when I see or hear it again!
Well that’s really about it I suppose, so wish me luck with the clothes drying and my mozzie swatting.
Oh, before I go, apologies for no pic of bruschetta but I left camera in the room and didn’t want cold food. I will try and do better next time.
Finally, thanks again for your emails, they are great to receive.
Take care and bye for now.