On trip to to Kampot and Kep, three out of four ain’t bad

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Returning to the city on a sunset cruise from Kampot.

Importuned to travel somewhere in Cambodia when a friend had a long weekend, three of us headed to Kampot within a province of the same name on Sunday.  Kampot, which enjoys justifiable fame for the quality of its pepper, is on the Kampong Bay River 148 kilometers (92 miles) southeast of  Phnom Penh.

We also drove to Kep, which lies on the Gulf of Thailand only a half-hour ride from Kampot for lunch.  Aside from its pleasing coastal views, that city is notable for its crabs, which women, just women, trap and sell at the shore on the edge of the food market.

Arrival at our hotel went badly, as I will explain in some detail later, but there were at least three diversions that made the trip worthwhile.

One was Continue reading

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Rice, sugar cane abound, but barely a drop to drink

Perhaps the time is ripe for ‘Cambodia’s Best Bounty’

rum 3This post originated a couple of months ago when I strolled down an alley off a street that amounts to another alley on my way to do an errand.  There, on a wooden gate that was ajar, a small sign arrested my progress.  It was on a fence shielding what had been one of Phnom Penh’s numerous villas.

The words lured me inside to see what was going on.

I thereby found myself at the beginning of a journalistic journey, Continue reading

At Cambodian Cuisine Festival, chicken with red ants

Crowd

There must have been more than 1,500 attendees, many shown from close to the entrance. You can glimpse the stage with its bright lights and representation of Angkor Wat middle right, and some of the lighted line of booths can be seen in the distance running left to right also in the middle of the photo.

The most unusual food offered among the scores of booths at the Cambodian Cuisine Festival that we attended did not much appeal to me. Although I am a fairly adventuresome eater, I passed on the grilled chicken with red ants. Had it been lilac ants, turquoise ants or even fuchsia ants, maybe I would have given it a try.  Uh, uh.  Not a chance.

That chicken with red ants.

Chicken with red ants (if I accurately recall the dish being at this booth among the scores of others).

I am phobic about insects.  (Yet Continue reading

To locals there is nothing like Cambodian New Year

Dangerous and exhausting as this transportation looks as the New Year approaches, sometimes passengers dare death by riding atop vehicles.

Dangerous and exhausting as this van transportation looked Friday before the New Year, sometimes passengers dare death by riding atop vehicles.  They reflect how powerful is the tug to go home.

Phnom Penh is emptying out as I write this, just before the start of the Cambodian New Year. The exodus has begun.

The holiday is a three-day celebration when the Khmer people head for party points, seaside resorts and, most important to them, the rural provinces and farms that mean “home” to them. Consider this sad post on Facebook from a student/waiter I know at the cafe where he works:

Why all of u give me alone? I’m really lonely….. All of u can go to ur homeland n happy but I can’t…. I really miss my homeland so much. I want to meet my family…. What should I do? How can I do?

Siam Reap, where Continue reading