Its been years since I have been out to Kien Svay, a favorite picnicking and bbq area about 45 minutes out of Phnom Penh towards the Vietnam border. Its fun a couple of times but after that the heat and flies and putrid water and shit food kind of lose their appeal. Hence, every time the family goes out, they go without me. Yesterday,however I gladly made a concession as i was gagging to get out of the city as was everyone else. I made only two stipulations given Angus is now walking and I wanted to take Jirra so she could get a good dose of open space.
- I did not want to sit in one of the elevated stilt shelters that sit some 20 ft above the water at this time of year. Too dangerous for Angus. I wanted a ground level hut.
- I did not want to sit in a crowded area as I did not want to have to worry about Jirra sniffing around other peoples camps and……I don’t like crowds.
The last time I went out to Kien Svay was 2007 and back then the road was a narrow slip of potholes and crumbled edges that left you exhausted with concentration. Given Kien Svays popularity as a Sunday outing and the fact it is a freight route to Vietnam, the traffic is diabolical. However, the road has been completely redone almost all the way to the bridge that crosses to Phnom Penh and is now a super wide and smooth arterial. What joy !
When we got to Kien Svay ( via the back road that Tra knew which avoided the 3000r toll ! ) Tra and Phalla parked up and all around us us were the perfect relaxation huts which were ;
- Elevated above stinky water and
- Crowded as hell.
I can feel the temper starting to rise and I try to constrain myself as I inform Leakhana I wont be joining them if this is where we are staying for the day. I made myself clear hours ago. We ask the attendants to find us something that suits our needs and lo and behold they take us through a grassy meadow out the back and there awaiting us are ground level, totally empty and shady huts. We’ll take two thanks.,Sorted !! . I hook up the 12v fan to the car and get the kids settled, the woman folk head off to the food market and Tra and I crack a nice cold beer. Jirra is sniffing around and I decide to take her for some on-leash walking training. At just 4 months old, she is showing real potential and yesterday we went for a long walk out of the house and around the ‘hood and she was amazing so i wanted to see if it was a one off or not. I clipped on the lead and we headed for the Pagoda across some paddocks and …..first test……past some huge Brahman cattle. Karma was cow mad and would stalk and bark. Jirra gave out a little growl on first sighting but I put her into a down stay and calmed her with a re-assuring pat and she completely relaxed / ignored them. Amazing ! She then settled into a relaxed trot wherever I lead her and it was a great 40 min walk.
On return to the camp the girls had arrived back with food so I got some music going and we tucked in to bbq ribs, grilled fish, roast chicken and the ever present boiled rice. Angus and May slept. Vichea and Grace ran around like little mad tykes and Jirra flopped downs under the shack in the shade. After lunch it was poker time and Grace took on her role as head croupier . We all chipped in $2.50 making the pot $10 and after a large hand saw Tra clean me and Phalla out, I re-bought for $5 and Phalla for 42.50 and in the end Tra and I split the bank with ..er….wait….that was….yeah….30,000khr each ( $7.50 ).
In the end a top day and now that we have found the right place to park up….we will certainly do it again…..