Tag Archives: mangroves

Just messing about in the river…

2 Mar

Yesterday was an awesome day. We had so much fun…even though it involved the Worst Bike in the World. We decided we wanted to go to the waterfalls about 20km from here so we rented a bike from Paddy, who assured it was “top quality bike”. Well it might have been a long time ago but it definitely wasn’t yesterday. We are not sure whether this is because Craig wore Andy’s helmet – Andy’s bike broke down every second day so it might have been our own fault :)

It took a long time to get to where the waterfall, partly because the bike crawled up hills, found every gravel trap going, clunked and spluttered over ever bump and partly because we couldn’t find the bloody things. We went up and down the same stretch of road for 15 minutes – every local we stopped said it was 2km in the direction we were going. So back and forth we went until we eventually found it. It was located 1.3km down a steep track, through streams and over crevices caused by water damage. After all the fun/terror of getting down there, we said the waterfalls had better be good.

And they were

except for this sign

Well, now I want to.

So I did

although this wasn’t the really big one as I quite fancied being alive for a little bit longer.

We had a power shower

…not sure this is the exact face Myleen would have pulled but the flow was really strong :)

We spent a long time just messing about – we had the place to ourselves

So after a couple of hours of swimming we got back on the stupid bike and up the hill, amusing ourselves by ducking down behind the handlebars racing-style every time a Cambodian overtook us as we were going about 10km per hour (well who knows, actually, the speedometer…and the fuel gauge…were broken. I said it was a stupid bike).

We went off to find the mangrove forest and walk through it on the boardwalk they’ve constructed.

It was absolutely beautiful

and as near to silent as I think I’m going to get in Asia. All you could hear was the rumble of distant boats and the mud the trees grow in popping occasionally.

We went over a little bamboo bridge to the restaurant there and found that the waiter didn’t speak much English and there was no menu. We were given the choice of fish, crab or shrimps. I really, really hate picking through whole seafood…I can just about manage whole fish but not ripping animals to pieces so we went for the fish.

Ah well, guess it got lost in translation. So Craig had a nice meal of crab and I had cold rice with soy sauce, yummy!

Trying to force a buffalo to eat some grass. It ran away. Perhaps it felt awed by the fashionable helmet.

We stopped at the Sunset Bar to watch the sun go down (surprisingly) and had a couple of Long Island ice teas, making us a little tipsy. The guesthouse was only a couple of blocks away and thankfully one of the bike’s lights was working (the front one, yay!) so we got back on it and giggled all the way home as the horn started working when Craig smacked the dashboard…and it played what sounded exactly like the Inbetweeners song, We Speak No Americano.

Back at the guesthouse we were invited for dinner because Craig had given one of the boys here his old phone after the one the boy had got dropped in the sea the day before. It was absolutely delicious – barbecued meat and vegetables dipped in a really spicy paste

I think the “Super Whiskey” we bought, mixed with Red Bull and M150 energy drink, local style, also went down well :) Paddy played his guitar

…nice end to a brilliant day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Koh Kong Island

1 Mar

We said goodbye to first Ben and then Andy in Sihanoukville which was sad – we may see Ben again along the way but Andy has gone back to England and reality unfortunately. We were going to commiserate with this

but a £1.50 bottle of white spirit seemed like quite a quick way to end our holiday!

We also went to Geordie’s bar to find out how Namnam got on at the vet’s – a clean bill of health! His shoulder is healing and doesn’t need surgery, his fur is growing back and he doesn’t need his antibiotics anymore and he just has vitamins to take now to make sure he continues to improve. We went to see him and he was all waggy and licky when he saw us…made it doubly hard to leave him again but at least we know he’s being looked after well.

We decided that we should really think about making a move so as not to turn into full-time sloths, so we got on the bus to Koh Kong which is on the way to Siem Reap, our last destination in Cambodia before going into Thailand. The bus ride went very smoothly for a change (so much so, I finished In to the Wild from cover-to-cover, despite it being a deeply irritating book)…a fact we felt rather awful about acknowledging when we got here as we found out that that day, a Russian woman had died and 40 other passengers were injured on the exact same route when their bus’s tyre blew. They must have been just a bus or two behind us.

We found a nice place to stay (well, the owner and the communal area are nice)

for $4 a night. I hope the rat I saw in here last night is not extra. We booked with the owner, Paddy, to go to Koh Kong Island on a day trip because no one is allowed to stay overnight there anymore as it is military-run. As we were starving having just got off the bus, we asked Paddy if he did food. He said his pub did down the road but rather than us go there, he could ask them to bring it…it arrived on a tray on the back of a motorbike!

The next morning five of us got in his tuk-tuk and went off to the port to get on the boat. I had seen the tuk-tuk parked on the other side of the road the day before and thought “I feel sorry for whoever has to get in that”…that would be us then. Dusty, decrepit and very old but it got us there with no problems thankfully :)

The guys on the boat showed Craig that actually, all you need to fish is a bit of twine, a hook, a weight and a plastic bottle

Hat friennnnnnnnnnnds

The journey was longer than we expected but the island was lovely when we got there. Really soft powdery sand that squeaked when you walked on it

It is the largest island in Cambodia and is covered in forest. There are freshwater lagoons leading into the sea, and lots of little fish gather in between the rocks. We went snorkelling (well, after a while – Craig went the other day and got scared because of the sea urchins – so he took some encouraging!) and saw little neons tetras, angel fishes and lots of other colourful species. Including sea urchins…they are very scary-looking things. We talked to a Cambodian the other day who said his friend stepped on one and was “sleeping at the hospital for more than two weeks”. Eeep. Craig kept telling me to watch out for them whilst I was underwater…”watch out for the…” but I couldn’t hear him so I resurfaced in a bit of a panic and cut my ankle on a rock. D’oh. And then cut my foot on another rock when I ran to go and see what fry were

…tiny, tiny little fish in a group. Totally not worth the blood!

The guides cooked us lunch – steamed fish, prawns and vegetables with a garlic, lime, peanut and chilli sauce and rice. Delicious. The chickens thought the scraps were too

and then it was back towards the mainland…when we saw a dolphin. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a wild dolphin before so although it was brief, it was great. Cambodia is home to rare Showaddywaddy (fine, Irrawaddy) dolphins but although we’d been to places they are usually spotted before, we hadn’t actually seen one. Yay.

 On our way back we went through the Peam Krasop mangrove forest as the sun set

Apparently there are boardwalks within the forest – you can walk over 1km into the mangroves – so I think that’s our plan for today, along with hiring yet another bike and going to see the waterfall 20km from here.

And on the subject of plans…I discovered yesterday that we could fly for £85 return from Bangkok to Sri Lanka. Think we’ve found our next stop :)