Day 56: Kampot arts
Claire: Deciding to extend our stay in lovely, lazy Kampot meant we had to move hotels today as sadly ours had no availability. Apparently Saturdays are quite busy as you get a lot of people from the cities head down in search of fresh air and space.
We’d booked in at Makk Hotel, just over the road from Pippali, for ease, and well because we like it round here. Unfortunately they’d somehow managed to mix up our booking and had no space for us anymore!!! Thankfully they collected us and transferred us to their sister hotel Five S which didn’t have the riverside location but views over the town instead, and a perfectly turquoise pool. We had to sit in reception for a good hour which was pretty boring, but they gave us juices and these delicious sweet wafer rice roll things I keep seeing everywhere. Finally getting into our room, we realise we’ve forgotten to pick up the sun tan lotion!!!!! The one we begrudgingly paid $12 for yesterday. ARGHGHGHG. I said we never argue but there was a bit of a debate on who’s fault it was and who should’ve picked it up. We agreed to disagree and borrow the hotel bicycles to head back and pick it up. Only my pedal was broken. So Gav went on his own.
All was resolved with a deliciously fresh salad and juice late lunch at Simple Things. There seems to be quite a lot of European expats here setting up their own cafes / restaurants so we’re being totally spoilt with incredible and affordable cuisines, alongside the usual local offerings. The sun sets quite early here, about 5:45pm, so we head to the riverside and enjoy the views.
This evening we decided to do something a little different and head to a performing arts show at The Old Royal Cinema. Run by Epic Arts, the social enterprise provides opportunities for disabled people across Cambodia. As the cinema filled up, we were shown pop video parodies performed by the collective and you couldn’t help but smile and shimmy in your seat with the music.
As the show opened, we were shown a short film about the husband and wife duo who put their heart and soul into reviving the cinema after the Khmer Rouge regime, it showed so much passion and dedication they have in keeping the arts alive. The Khmer Rouge didn’t believe in the arts and did everything they could to strip it from the nation, destroying buildings and killing all people associated with it — dancers, teachers, artists, musicians. You can watch the 4min film here.
The show, Come Back Brighter, celebrates Cambodia’s arts scene and narrates the country’s journey form the swinging sixties to the horrific Khmer Rouge regime, to the present day. Excellently choreographed, the performance was really entertaining and we were taught a bit of a Khmer and sign language at the end too, learning that most of the dancers are deaf. Incredible. We didn't take any photos but you can watch their show trailer here.
Leaving the cinema feeling all warm and fuzzy from the positive energy we were welcomed with a torrential downpour! Thankfully we’d already spotted Aroma House over the road which was serving up a yummy looking Mediterranean menu.
Gav's day 56 takeaway
- 56 days away with this one. Good times.
- Yes, I went back to the train station. But not until I'd phoned ahead to make sure someone was there. And yeah I got a tuk tuk.
- But before that, we had breakfast. Nothing unusual about that. Except a couple of older Aussie couples must had checked into our hotel last night. We know this because they had brought their own baguette and cereal to breakfast with them! And because we could see the bread was from a well know bakery that was not local to here, we deciphered that they'd gone to the effort of travelling some distance to lovingly bring this baguette with them to breakfast.
- We couldn't help chuckling at this situation. Especially watching the faces of the manager and staff try to understand why they they'd done this. The breakfasts throughout our trip have been pretty decent and this one was no different. I think the French owner took great pleasure in bringing out a freshly sliced local baguette and struggling to find room on the table amongst the picnic they'd brought with them.
- Strange people.