We took Andrew down to Kep last weekend. He had been stuck in Phnom Penh for almost two weeks chasing all the wrong kinds of women ( either too young and silly or too geuarded by family ) and had not even made it up to Siem Reap ! I decided to book into Jasmine Valley for something completely different. I thought it might make a nice change from staying in the thick of it. After an event-less trip down ( apart from a heavily Leakhana roaming and moaning in the back every time we hit a bump ) we arrived at JV around 2pm and were immediately offered a fresh juice. We met our hosts Owen and Jasmine ( and Sunny – their newly arrived boy ) and were shown to our Eco-bungalows and it was then that the realities of off-grid tourism ( 12v solar only) hit home. Ok…where is the bloody overhead fan ? Our bungalows were set down at the bottom of the valley next to a dry creek and were not catching any of the sea breezes that normally render a fan or AC in a Kep room unnecessary and the heat in and out was SWELTERINGLY moist…
After stripping down to just my shorts and wiping a gallon or five of sweat off, i begged reception for a fan and they very kindly gave me a little 12v number that did a surprisingly good job. Andrew and I then headed straight for the bar and a Beer Saigon or 4 ( excellent value at $1.20 a pop ) and Owen very kindly took me on a small tour of JV. They have spent 2 years building their resort up in the hills and the views from his two houses named “Noah’s” and “Gracie’s” after his kids in Australia were to die for. The houses were simple two story wooden bungalows with outside bathrooms but at $8k to construct and $60 a night to rent, they were great ! With several double beds in each and some very cool wicker O-shaped reading lounges, they were the standout.
That night we were too tired to go anywhere so we stayed at JV and ordered Pizzas from their Pizza oven. The pizzaz were deadset someof the best I have tasted with super fresh toppings and a wonderfully crunchy crust and washed down with some more Beer Saigon the dinner was great. We retired early and whilst Leakhana,Grace and I slept well I think Andrew sweated it out big time. Interestingly around 3-4am it actually got a bit cool and I needed to pull the overs over me.
On Saturday we had a lovely breakfast which was included in the room tariff and then I took Andrew for a drive around Kep whilst Leakhana and Grace snoozed. The Kep Beach festival was on that night which was going to include all sorts of performances and DJs etc and they were busy setting it all up. It was then back to JV for a swim in the fish laden pool with Grace and then we were offered a place on the Kep Gardens boat which was going out on its inaugural voyage. We loaded come other guests into the back of the truck and headed down to the Port and on arrival we found the port under repair which meant big boat could not come in to dock so we jumped on a smaller tender boat and were soon boarding.After a rocky start that saw We spent a leisurely few hours cruising around the islands and I was kept busy watching Grace like a hawk as she ran around like a mad girl.
Saturday night we were all pretty spent after too much sea air but Leakhana had to have her seafood so we went for an early dinner at Kim Ly Seafood with new friend Susanne ( a Canadian teaching in South Korea ) in tow. We dines on crab and squid and quaffed a few long necks and then after dinner we headed up to Veranda for chocolate cake and coffee which spelt the end of us all. As we piled back into the truck none of us had the energy to even consider the beach festival so we headed back up in to the forest and sleep came quickly that night.
Sunday we packed,dehydrated after a sweat night and headed back to the city…..