With Bruno and his visitor from the Philippines, Michelle, in tow, we headed off down to Kep to close on the Watermelon farm. Having left Phnom Penh at 4p.m, driving into Kampot in the dark was less than enjoyable. The lack of any kind of lights or edge indicators on the road meant I had my face pressed to the windscreen and the annoying habit of Khmer drivers putting all available headlights and driving lights on meant I was almost driving blind. Livestock was identifiable only by the two glowing dots in the dark and gnarly potholes with the usual tree stuffed in them as a warning threatened to derail us like landmines.
Arriving exhausted, we dropped Bruno and Michelle over to Feral Heaven(a.k.a Boddhi Villa) and then after failing to find a little riverside Thai restaurant recommended by Jeff, we headed to the Rusty Keyhole for dinner and a cold beer before retiring to The Kampot Guesthouse. Sleep came swiftly but as the aircon was not working, the night was fitful and sodden. Kampot was very still and VERY humid from 12a.m until about 4a,m and the pre-storm light show was amazing. I even got a text from Bruno who was fighting legions of mosquitoes over in Dreadlock Valley. Leakhana of course slept with no worries. Eventually the rain came and the temperature dropped and I fell into a deep sleep.
We had noodles at the marketplace at 7.30a.m and then picked up my Uncle at his house and headed out to the Watermelon Farm. Junta (our man) and the owners were waiting for us and after hellos, the first thing I did was confirm the details of the road rectification. We are told we can make the dog leg corners 3m wide and the road 2.5m wide.Sweet. Junta then showed us a couple of other blocks which I will in turn show to some friends who want to buy in Kep (who doesn’t!) and we were soon off back to Kampot.
4 words come to mind ( apart from 1.man 2.is 3. she 4.hot !)
BRUNO IS A BONEHEAD
In the morning it was off to the ever-expanding, forest raping, quarry creating FWC HQ a.ka Verandah. Sorry, as stunning as this place is, the crowd makes me want to puke. As we sat down in the cool of the for a nice quiet breakfast a couple of lesbians and their bloated sunburnt FWC friends plonked themselves down, turned on their laptops, turned on the gyrocopter style fan that destroyed the silence and started smoking cigarettes, the smoke of which blew directly at us. I felt like going over and saying “look you rug munching, laptop tapping bloaters….FUCK OFF”. I didn’t. The breakfast was slow and disorganised and I was glad to get out of there. I did meet the female owner and she was delightful but like Feral Central in Kampot, I just don’t feel comfortable there.
Our friends then took off to look at land and villas whilst my wife and I drove around Kep talking to all manner of tradesman who were making roads and stone walls and landscaping etc about the cost of such jobs. Jesus H Christ. Trying to get a per m2 price on anything is impossible. “Prices going up every day” (we had also been told the restaurants are now paying $50 a sack of rice instead of $30 last month!). Talk about frustrating! JUST TELL ME HOW MUCH! You can see their minds go into overdrive thinking about what a fair skin tax might be. We ended up at Kep Lodge and (harking back to Dancing Roads review), this place is an absolute cracker. Up a long and scenic dirt road, it is nestled in the hills and is very quiet. They have built a lovely dining area and the bungalows look nice but the biggest draw card will surely be the HUGE pool with spa they are currently building. I will definitely be a regular if the kitchen is good. You wouldn’t need to leave and I hope they do well.
Finally after waiting patiently while my wife bought some famous Kep crab for some friends in Phnom Penh and had it cooked at the market (why the hell can’t they just cook the bloody thing in their own home!), we loaded up the car and headed back into Phnom Penh. As we headed back into Takmeo, we took a short cut and ended up in Hun Sen’s street. Drove straight past the guardhouse and past Mr Sen’s front…er……”door” ! What a whooper his house is ! Non-descript street though apart from all the CCP banners flapping away in the street. The car was dropped off and we then boarded the pre-ordered Tuk Tuk to get back into the city. On the way we stopped off on the Bassac riverfront in Takmeo to get some cold Asahi for the trip and the strip was buzzing with revelers. As I waited for the beer, I drank hot rice wine with some soldiers and I decided ( and my wife agreed ) that Takmeo is a place that we could definitely relocate to.
All in all…another successful weekend.