We’ve traveled with them multiple times during our trip yet it took one night out in Phnom Penh to finally get a good group picture!
Leaving Phnom Pehn was tough, it was the best of times bundled up with one big depressing afternoon. Yet off in the distance there was a dream, the dream of Kampot green pepper crab. That was the reason for our (Shane, Arielle, A&E) 5 hour journey from Phnom Pehn to Kampot and Kep. The three night stay was all about food; really really good food. The freshly plucked green peppercorns, still on their stem, fried with other unexplainable goodness, and either crab or shrimp, made for an incredible meal. Actually, everything we had, the soups, rice, and seafood, were meals we couldn’t exactly compare with anywhere else on earth. Kep was 100% worth the effort, even if you don’t like to get your hands dirty plucking flesh out of shells. Kampot, also had some good stuff to offer, surprisingly, the best pizza we’ve had in Southeast Asia, and THE BEST ribs in Cambodia (the guy just won a cook off in the capital). The town was sleepy, the streets were empty, had dozens of abandoned homes from bad times past, and the rain barely stopped falling, but E & I would still go back in a heartbeat. Cambodians are just some of the nicest people we’ve met on our trip. But wait, there’s more!
We went out until about 4:30AM our first night and ate breakfast at about noon. Erika and I met up with Shane and Arielle again for some fun and food in Phnom Penh with the goal of reaching Kep or Kampot to unwind and have some crab. But mostly just for crab, green pepper crab. Apart from being a bit bleary eyed we were looking forward to the day. Sunny (Sunn Ny), our taxi driver from the other day found us right away and after some quick negotiating (he’s a realist), we were off to a shooting range. We heard rumors, stories, and thought why not give it a try and shoot big guns you couldn’t shoot back home. Erika and I have lived in Idaho and Arizona, and had the opportunity to shoot all sorts of big hunting and hand guns, but neither of us has a big comfort level with them, even if we hold them with confidence. But wait, there’s more!
We have gone from one lovely country to another. Although instead of the quiet calm that the Laos people exhibit, Cambodians are incredibly friendly and engaging. Granted Siem Reap is a bit of Disneyland for adults, but mostly because the infrastructure is so developed and the city well manicured thanks to the tourism dollars. Still it was nice to see Cambodians also visiting and taking pride in their great temples. Maybe we’ll encounter something different in Phenom Penh tomorrow. For now, we enjoyed a lovely 3 days here, $1 street food, beautiful temples at Angkor (more coming soon!), and country, despite its haunting recent history, recovering well.