With all my work projects out of the way and the final countdown on until I leave my current employ and start afresh, what better time to take a 4 day weekend and head to Kep for Angela’s 40th . With a loan of Murray’s Ford Ranger, we were up and ready to go at 8a.m on Friday. I was to take Grace,Mum and our Aunt from Kampot in the truck and Leakhana decided she wanted to cruise down on the Mio with Srey Neung and Veasna riding two-up on the Fino. We had enough luggage in the back of the Ranger to fill the cargo hold of an Antinov. Bags,cases of Champagne,ice boxes,sound equipment,more bags. Struth.
Heading out through Takmeo all was well but then not to far out on National Road #3 we hit the roadworks. Basically the entire road is now 4 lanes wide and flat packed gravel awaiting tarring. This was PERFECT for the Ranger and I sat on a comfortable 100kmh leaving a trail of nuclear dust in my wake that coated all and sundry as we roared past. Actually it was much better than the old tar road which was a bumpy,patched up nightmare. What I could not help but think about was how Leakhana and the kids would fair on the scooters ! We arrived in 2.5 hours and Grace and I headed for a cold beer and lunch at The Rusty Keyhole. Leakhana arrived bedraggled and dusty about 2 hours later. They had a terrible trip down.
Mum stayed in Kampot Friday night with her relatives and Leakhana and I headed for Kep Lodge where Angela had booked out all the cabins. We were shown to our DOUBLE room despite having booked a TWIN SHARE. Unfortunately this is becoming an all too familiar scenario at Kep Lodge with botched bookings now becoming common place. Anyways, nothing could be done so we took the room and then headed off to book other accommodation for Mum and Grace for the following night. It was then into the pool and around 7pm we all piled into the truck and headed down to the crab shacks for a pre-party dinner at the fabulous Kim Ly Seafood. About 20 of us sat down and noshed hard on crab, squid and prawns. After a few drinks back at the KL bar it was to bed as we had a huge day coming up .
Leakhana and I rose early, had breakfast and then headed out to our land. We have sold one block ( the Watermelon Farm) to a fellow Australian and were finally transferring a couple of other blocks that Anthony owns out of our names. Alot of paperwork and thumb prints later and all was done. Grace was a huge hit with the local children and they were loving having her out there. We discussed plans for fencing the land with Juntha and I can really see Grace having a nice time down there if we can get a weekender built. We then headed back into Kampot to pick Mum up and whilst leakhana had lunch with her relatives, I popped out to see the fabulous house that Simon ( Rogue Music) has built out in the rice paddies of Kampot. Truly a lovely location with a full frontal view of Bokor Mountain and the house is just fantastic.This is the first house I have ever been into in Cambodia where my fastidious eye has not started picking the place to pieces for poor quality or design and I can honestly say I would not change a thing about the house.
It was then back to Kep with everyone in tow, install the family in their room at Kep Resort on the waterfront which is where I think we will stay from now on and then up to Kep Lodge for a very quick rest before the festivities began in earnest. Come 6pm we were gathering poolside for drinks . The cake came at 9.30pm including sparklers and fireworks by your truly and from then on it was just a rambling adventure. Plenty of dancing,swimming and drinking saw everyone in fine spirits. Whilst we retired around 2.30am, Angela and Paul managed to stay up until..er…9am !! All in all a top party.
Needless to say the next day was a bit slow to start. I took the family down to the market and whilst they shopped for fresh crab I woofed down a pizza from the new French pizzeria called La Baraka. Absolutely superb. We then headed over to their hotel to eat the seafood under an ocean front hut and I swang in the hammock whilst Grace and the family chomped on crab claw.That night those of us left in kep headed over to Verandah for several cocktails and then down to Kim Ly for one final seafood extravaganza.