It's always a bit nerve-wracking not knowing whether you'll be let back into the country or not. Although we were reassured by our fixer that the Thai embassy would approve our visas, in the back of my head, I was already thinking of back-up plans involving breaking out our clean European passports.
Fortunately this wasn't required. Our fixer came through and we admired the brand new Thai visa page glued onto the inside of our passport.
We're allowed to come home! :D
Getting ready to leave the hotel in the morning. The lady behind us looks like she wants to join our motorcycle gang!
We try to leave early enough to get as much time riding done before the searing afternoon sun beats us up.
Unfortunately, Phnom Penh traffic has other ideas for us. We're so done with big cities. Take us back to the countryside, please!!!
It takes us over an hour, but finally we're free of the big shitty. Yay!
Neda is loving being back in the countryside again. We stop often to check out the scenery.
We've been in Cambodia for over a week now and it's long enough to make us realize what we like: it's the rural life. Besides Phnom Penh, Cambodia has been our favorite South East Asian country thus far because it hasn't been as industrialized as Thailand or Malaysia.
Everywhere on the sides of the road, we see rice and beans being dried on the hot asphalt
Cows and other wild life are given free reign over the fields and the road
Rice fields make neat patterns
We stopped to watch this pig on the right suckle its piglets
And then she just flopped onto her side and let her kids drink greedily. :D
One of my favorite pictures of Cambodia
After 4 hours of riding south of Phnom Penh, we reach the south shores of Cambodia at the seaside resort village of Kep. Cambodia is for the most part landlocked, only having access to about 400 kms of shoreline, squeezed in by the Thai and Vietnamese border, which is less than 30 minutes away from where we are.
Koh Tonsay boat terminal, looking out into the waters of Chhak Kep Bay
In the distance, we watch an interesting row boat go by. He was rowing like he was telemark skiing,
pushing the oars by moving his whole body forward till he was almost on one knee!
There's one reason why we made a pit stop at Kep...
Kep is known for not just for its delicious seafood, but for their fresh peppercorn. So delicious!!!
The peppercorn is grown locally, here in the Kampot province. Kampot peppercorn is so famous worldwide that it is has its own certification, kind of like the Neapolitan Pizza we had in Italy. True Kampot Peppercorn has to be grown in an organic fertilizer made from a mix of cow dung and bat guano. That ain't cheap shit, Batman!
So far food in Cambodia has been like a blander version of Thai food. Not that remarkable. I've ended up ordering a lot of fried rice. But the peppercorn crab here was the best meal we've had in a while! Well worth the ride to Kep!
Another of Kep's tourist attractions: the White Lady Statue
If you Google the White Lady Statue, the pictures you find will see her in different states of dress. The locals, who are quite conservative, will sometimes clothe her in a modest dress, but the coastal winds will eventually blow it away over time (or so they say). Other times, she'll be clothed in a bikini top or a fashionable wrap. The time we visited, she was naked again. Very popular for selfies with the tourists.
The name in Khmer is "The woman who waits for her man". She's a Cambodian woman waiting for her fisherman husband to return back from sea.
Kids playing football on the white sands on Kep Beach... with a volleyball
There are a lot of young people in Cambodia. During their reign, the Khmer Rouge exterminated 1/5th of the country's population. Today, almost 70% of Cambodians are under 30 years old, and 30% of the population is under 15 years old.
The coolest monk on the beach! We saw him taking a selfie with the naked white lady statue! :D
More cool monks hanging out by the side of the road
We spend the late afternoon walking up and down the beach. Neda finds a little starfish!
One of the fishing boats coming in. Is the White Lady Statue's long wait over?
Everyone waiting for the sunset
End of another beautiful afternoon on Kep Beach
Sun's getting low, so time to find a place to sleep
We are heading to Kampot, less than an hour away from Kep Beach. Neda navigates some rough waters
Finally, arrived at our place in Kampot! What a long day! So thankful we are out of Phnom Penh!