After several days of lying on the beach in Sihanoukville, it was time for my next destination, Kampot, just a couple of hours East. I’d heard absolutely fantastic reviews of Kampot, so off I went.
Our minibus started smoking at one point and we blew a tire. Is it scary that I am no longer phased by this shit? I think the bus and several people would actually have to catch on fire before any sort of concern would cross my face. One chick actually yelled at the bus driver. Jeez lady, there’s not a whole lot he can do at this point. We obviously had to pull over to check out the damage and have the tire replaced. While we were doing this, the bitchy lady went in search of a pharmacy to load up on god knows what pills. The tire was replaced and the bitch was nowhere to be seen. She finally came back with what seemed like a garbage bag full of pills of various shapes, sizes and colours and was completely unapologetic at the fact that we had to wait for her. Please, don’t be THAT guy while traveling, you’re a dick and everyone hates you.
Upon arrival in Kampot, I walked into the first hotel I saw. I was far too cheap to spend $12 on the luxury room, I went economic at $3 a night and was shown to a massive room in the back with two double beds but no windows or bathroom. But at $3 a night, I could deal with that.
I went for a stroll around town, it was pretty small, relatively quiet, nothing mind blowing yet it was crawling with tourists. Kampot is known for it’s blind masseuses, so naturally I had to go and get one. Good old Lonely Planet recommended one of the massage parlours, ‘Seeing Hands V’ along the river, an NGO that helps blind people find some sort of employment. I walked into the empty room and was handed scrubs to change into. My masseuse was a nice gentleman that was probably in his early 30s. We started talking and he began to ask me how much I would pay for a massage back in my own country.
I hesitated in telling him because the amount is probably ludicrous to him, but I didn’t want to lie to the guy either, ‘I guess it’s probably about $75 or so for an hour long massage in Canada.’
He then revealed to me that he receives 50 cents for every hour long massage he gave. 50 cents?! I was being charged $6 and he only received 50 cents?! I felt guilty. But I was also a little pissed off, this NGO wasn’t very fair was it? But at the same time, that 50 cents is also better than nothing. It’s a double edged sword as it always seems to be. He was great though, he cracked my back in all the necessary spots.
The next morning I woke up early as I had signed up for a tour of Bokor Hill. Bokor Hill Station is the location atop a hill where a grand French Hotel and Casino once sat. It was abandoned once the Khmer Rouge took over. Unfortunately, I had to join a tour because it is impossible to get up to the top as the road isn’t finished, so you have to hike through the jungle. After a 15 minute ride to the middle of the mountain on another one of those uncovered, unsafe, giant pick up trucks we were dropped off. Upon arrival, we were greeted by our tour guide, Tiger, as well as a man that works for the National Park who would escort us on our hike armed with an AK-47. We were told this was to protect us from illegal loggers that may be in the area along with tigers. REAL TIGERS?! Awesome! I considered strapped slabs of raw meat to my body in order to attract them, I mean who wouldn’t want to see a tiger in the wild? When I had booked the tour, I asked if it was a difficult hike because I am in absolutely no shape what so ever to do a difficult hike and of courseI was told it was an easy one. I need to stop believing people that are trying to sell me shit. It was a tough go without a doubt. There was a kid on our tour who was probably about 5 years old along with a man who was probably 80 years old. The kid did surprisingly well. When we stopped half way, the old man came about 15 minutes behind wheezing, he immediately sat on a rock, lit up a cigarette and proceeded to take Myspace type photos of himself. You know the ones that underage slutty girls take? Angled from high up?
Easy hike no?
Getting ready to shoot some mutha fuggin tigers!
During the hike, I had befriended an Aussie couple (of course), Emily and Brad as well as an English guy named Shane. We immediately became fast friends and laughed at the others in our group. Of course there was ONE guy (there’s always one) that was just a massive idiot, asking questions that nobody could ever possibly know the answers to. Example, ‘Hey Tiger, does this forest look exactly as it did 100 years ago?’ How the fuck is anyone supposed to know? Maybe there were more trees, maybe there were less, who the hell knows? Our guide, Tiger, couldn’t have been more than 22 years old. So Tiger pointed to a tree and replied, ‘no, that tree wasn’t there.’ That was only one in a series of 1000 stupid questions.
After we huffed an puffed our way to the top, we made it to the old abandoned buildings. They were the kind of buildings you see on tv on ghost hunting shows and a dense fog was covering a lot of the buildings making everything extra creepy. The signs said ‘keep out,’ but I’ve come to realize that you can ignore everything in Cambodia and do whatever you want, so I went in and snooped around. The place just had a strange vibe to it, but maybe I just felt that way because my young mind has been warped by too many ghost shows. I kept waiting for the spirits of some crazy old French bitch to pop out and yell and me and tell me I shouldn’t be there and that I would be forever cursed…. or something along those lines. Lucky for me, it never happened. We wandered around several buildings, including the hotel and casino, an old church and some staff quarters. Like everything else I had seen to date, everything was covered in graffiti.
Welcome to the Jungle bitches!
After our tour of Bokor Hill, we headed back down to Kampot where we took a sunset boat ride (one of those filler things that make the tour seem like a better deal than it actually is). It was relaxing and gorgeous though, and the four of us had a great time together.
Sunset River Cruise:
Later that evening, we ended up at a bar where we indulged in pepper flavoured vodka shots. I should have mentioned that Kampot is also known for it’s pepper. It was weird but amazing.
I had a great time with my new friends and it was sad to say goodbye even though I had only known them for a day. To Brad and Emily, I hope all is well as you begin your new lives in the UK.
To the annoying Kiwi that kept asking stupid questions, stop being a douche.