Saying that we were reluctant to leave the beach would be a slight lie. Upon returning from our remote paradise in Koh Rong Samloem, we arrived in the mayhem that is Serendipity: aggressive tuk tuk drivers, pushy street vendors and beauticians, and drunken half-naked westerners – my newfound zen was being rubbed the wrong way. The next morning, we were almost relieved to leave beaches and sandy buttcracks behind to experience a somewhat more cultural side of Cambodia.
Kep-sur-mer was our next stop. Once a resort for the French elite and Khmer high rollers, Kep still has several badly damaged French villas standing post-Khmer Rouge: some abandoned, some inhabited (albeit in their current spooky and dilapidated state). At the end of town is the beach, which was nothing amazing to us given we had just arrived from Sihanoukville. It was nonetheless very pretty – nice to finally be in a place where not many westerners go. In place of flabby sunburnt caucasians was the soothing sight of Khmer boys playing soccer, ladies clothed in their brightest pyjamas swimming with their fully naked toddlers, and street vendors (also in their pyjamas!) hauling a BBQ over their frail shoulders. Incidentally, we’re pleased to report that Khmer women seem to adhere to one of our top rule of life: pyjamas are never inappropriate attire.
The main draw in Kep is the crab, which obviously doesn’t hold much of an appeal to us, so after a day of riding push bikes around, we were ready to move on to Kampot, the peppercorn capital, where we spent a few days.
Of Kampot, I’ll say one word and one word only: DURIAN!!!!
At long last the durian season is upon us and this is all I’ve been waiting for: the prices are dropping and I have been gorging myself like a honey badger.
I’m not sure there is a more heavenly fruit on the planet. I think I will possibly get a durian tattoo when I return home, what do you think? I’m actually serious.