Change of Location
Friday morning and we were up early finishing our packing. We will not return to Green Pasture Guest house so have to take everything with us. It takes two tuk tuks completely filled just to carry our luggage the short distance to the bus. We walk.
The bus ride is normally about three hours – ours was four due to mis-communication. It was good that much of the time on the bus was good fellowship time for the dorm students and our team. I had heard that there was to be a “talent show” but was envisioning something different from what took place. Each person was called up to the front of the bus to exhibit a talent of some sort – everything from doing a monkey impersonation to braiding hair. There was a lot of laughing and silliness. There was also a lot of singing with guitars and I am starting to identify the really good voices among them. It is very evident that the students just enjoy being together under any conditions. I had a good conversation with my seat mate, Theis, about life in Cambodia.
After a looooong lunch (what small restaurant is ready to serve 41 people, spur of the moment?) we pulled into Rock Royal Hotel at the seaside resort town of Kep (www.rockroyalresort.com). Not long after checking in, rain clouds started rolling in with a brisk wind. We watched a remarkable storm from our second story window as the power outages began. The hotel lost power for about half an hour, during which several people were trapped in the small elevator. The AC was also out during that time. The rooms here are without power unless the room key is in a power slot by the door, so they are warm any time you enter them and are slow to cool down.
Another interesting show out our window was the rounding up of cattle. Four skinny cows were grazing in the yard outside the hotel and after the rain a man came to take them elsewhere. Some of them were tethered and kicked up their heels a bit when untied but all eventually followed the man out a gate and up the street, seemingly of their own accord.
The evening meeting was held with some singing and a message by one of our team members. Then we all packed up and went by bus to another part of Kep where the Kimmley seafood restaurant was serving dinner. They have an open front to the ocean and the noise of the waves on top of the chatter of many voices gave me a very real listening challenge. To isolate an individual voice was hard. Things quieted down a good bit when everyone started eating. It was still raining and blowing outside so we had another power outage. Surprisingly the restaurant had a generator. I would hope they had a way to keep all their seafood cold… I ate conservatively this time, a mango shake and rice with vegetables. Julie had fried fish in coconut milk which came looking much different from what she expected and a bit scary.
I did have one food adventure today though. I have heard about the fruit durian, which many Cambodians like, and most foreigners say is unbelievably stinky. It is prohibited on buses and in some businesses because of the smell. I have often wondered about it, being unable to detect the bad smell myself. The students bought one at our lunch stop and offered me a taste. It was good in a way unlike any other fruit I have had. It didn’t smell particularly bad at all. I think it’s reputation needs to change. Come to find out there is a whole blog about Durian, the King of Fruits with everything you might want to know about it, including What Americans Say about Durian . Hilarious.
Julie and I had a restful night, lulled to sleep by the rain, and the wind which makes a constant, rushing whistle on our corner of the building, much like a Wisconsn winter blizzard.