Yesterday after a very sedate start to the weekend I thought it was time we went for a mini road-trip . Derek and Wendy were busy so that ruled out Left Bank and when I rang Paul to see if he felt like a run out to his property he was headed out to KL on business. So that left me having to get inventive. As I really did not feel like going far OR spending any money, I decided it might be fun to ride the ferry from Naga over to Areyksat. I pitched this idea at the missus and she thought it was a sterling one so we made some sandwiches, packed some cold beer and come cokes into the esky and loaded the kid, the dog and the nieces into the ute . Pretty soon we were on the ferry (7000riel / 10 minutes ) and I have to say, I was pretty bloody nervous the whole way over. With Grace, Nek and Pek all unable to swim and with the ferry having little to no rescue devices, I was seriously running emergency scenarios through my head non-stop. What if we run aground ? What if we have a head on with another ferry ? What if we get cut in half buy a petrol tanker ? Which side to we jump off and who do I grab ? I know that sounds a bit fatalistic but that’s how I felt ! I cannot tell you how relieved I was to land on Terra Firma and now put the fretting off until the return journey at least.
We were not sure which direction to go in -left or right so we just hung a left and off we went. The dirt roads out on Areyksat are very good so were able to cruise around with ease and it soon became evident that this was Wat central with one every kilometer or so. There was also a celebration going on that saw a lot of the local villagers out and about dressed up in costumes with weird masks seeking alms to bless the next coming rice harvest. We actually had similar characters come down our Phnom Penh St about a week ago and the costumes they were wearing freaked out Grace and Vichea so much they started screaming and crying ! I was not sure how Grace would handle it this time but as we were all in the car she seemed fine.
After driving around for a while I have to admit it was a little disappointing out there. Not really much to see and very few spots to stop and relax so we jumped back on the boat and headed back down to Takmeo to see if the Summer Palace was still for rent. Almost 8 months later a sign was still on the gate but this time it said FOR SALE. The price ? A mere US$220,000 or so. I told them they were dreaming.We then pulled over in a small riverside clearing opposite a Wat and sat in the shade at a coffee shack. Karma ran around sticking her nose into all manner of festering Cambodian roadside detritus whilst Leakhana chatted with the owner and Grace swung in a shady hammock. It was then back to Phnom Penh for some mid afternoon lunch and a DVD or two.