Day 55: Kampot
Claire: This morning I was meant to go to yoga but the breakfast looked so delicious I really didn’t want to miss it. Gav went off on his run, and well, I stayed in bed until breakfast. Which was delicious.
Kampot is a small riverside town and we pretty much got out bearings last night. But in my usual Claire-style I wanted to explore properly though so planned a little route to stroll the town, whilst taking pretty pictures, eating, drinking, and absorbing the lovely laid-back atmosphere. In 31 degree heat, Gav wasn’t much of a fan of this plan but agreed to come along anyway.
Our first stop was Espresso, a trendy coffee shop and roastery. Run by expats, of course. Although by the time we got there, Gav really didn’t want a hot coffee! He was actually melting, but I try not to laugh at his inability to withstand the heat. We don’t ever argue, more just laugh at each others misfortunes, so I don’t feel bad for chuckling.
Not as sleepy as Kep, but Kampot definitely has a snooze button. The days seem to be lazy, then an evening buzz of locals, expats and tourists. Another ex-colonial town, there’s some beautiful architecture but it’s not been as well preserved as the likes of Luang Prabang or Hoi An, but it does have a run-down romantic kinda charm. We like it.
Gav's day 58 takeaway
- I'm an idiot.
- We're off to Phnom Penh later in a few days and heard you can get the newly re-opened train from here which sounds more interesting than taking another bumpy bus. However, buying tickets for pretty much anything always involves a little effort and apparently you can only buy tickets from the ticket office which is a couple of miles from town – which doesn't sound much, except it's blisteringly hot and we're too stingy to get a tuk tuk.
- The train station is open from 8–4 on certain days, I committed to combining an early morning run with securing our tickets.
- What a stupid bloody idea.
- So off I trot on my run at 7:33, it's hot already but not unbearable and I've mapped a route which doesn't involve too many turns so shouldn't be too complicated. It's not a massive place so there's only so lost I can get?
- Get to the main road no problem, there's an early morning wedding in full swing like there always seems to be. People are out and about doing their thing and most of them are looking at me like I'm some sort of weird alien species. "Why is he gesturing his body in that form", I hear them think. "Where is going", "Where is he from". Maybe they weren't thinking that but it felt like they were.
- The more people stare, the more aware I am of my surroundings and so I get my phone out to check I'm on track. All is good, the main turning off this main road is coming up... just by the river... nearly there... do be do be da la...
...where is it? ...erm ...river, river, river?? Can't see it! OH.
- It's not a river, it's a little stream, but that's ok. And I double check my GPS, yep this must be it. But because it's a small stream, the main road is actually a small dusty alley. But I'm sure it'll be fine...
- Such an idiot.
- I didn't get more than 25 metres down this dirt track, running along at a steady pace. Earphones in. Music on. When from nowhere, 4 or 5 bad-ass dogs came storming from back of a house, barking and snapping at my knees and fingers. My heels sharply dug and skidded into the dirt as my whole body froze!
- Oh Gav, you're an idiot. Should have got a tuk tuk. You're going to die.
- I turned like a marching soldier, trying to look ice-calm and make no sudden movements whilst simultaneously run-walking my stupid ass out of their territory. I slid back the way I came whilst praying my sweaty little ankles didn't look too appetising. The final insult was that all the commotion brought out the neighbours to give me good old death stare whilst I tried to hurriedly escape back down the path. Given that I already looked like an oddball on a secluded path, I now felt like they were thinking "Who is this alien lone ranger, why is he wearing earphones and why is he sweating so much?"
- Should have got a tuk tuk. Should have got a tuk tuk. Should have got a tuk tuk. Should have got a tuk tuk. Should have got a tuk tuk.
- So I made it back to the road unscathed and had to re-route and stick only to dirt tracks that weren't so isolated. Although I still ended up walking most of the way so as not to disturb the next pack of dogs. They freak out less if you pretend to be local.
- And apart from being offered to purchase a young woman for around $5 by a guy only looked like he was half joking, I made it to Kampot train station in one piece, in under an hour and without losing my entire body weight in sweat. Go me...
- Nobody at the train station. Nothing happening. Nothing looks like it's going to happen for pretty much ever.
- There's a number on the ticket desk that says 'Tickets' next to it.
- I phone the number...
- "Come back at 2pm", he said.
- You're kidding me.
- Gav, you're an idiot.
- Cheers Cambodia.
- I'll get a tuk tuk later then.