Note: No pictures go along with this post directly (thank goodness!), but for pictures of the Vietnam-Cambodia border crossing trip and my first few days in Phom Penh, please check out the album titled “Cambodia: Crossing the Border.”
- Monday, Nov 29, evening: Arrived at Chau Doc “floating hotel” in the midst of a rain storm; electricity intermittent; stayed by myself in three-bed room, no AC; nearby bachelor’s party an interesting experience, with 1.5L water bottles filled with homemade rice wine; loud music, karaoke, all the men quite happy to have foreigners to party with; went to bed around 10pm.
- Tuesday, Nov 30: Up early for breakfast; harangued to buy a fast boat ticket, $5 more than the slow boat, finally gave in; we visited a fish farm and a small floating market, then were put on the “fast boat” around 8:30am, which supposedly would arrive in Phnom Penh around 2pm; arrived in Phnom Penh around 6pm, all passengers having decided we were ripped off by having paid for a fast boat but been put on a slow boat; border crossings went easily, only over-charged by $2; met Heather from England on the boat and we checked out four hotels in Phnom Penh, before settling on a $6 double room; went out for expensive but quite tasty dinner.
- Wednesday, Dec 1: Slept in; visited Security Office 21, high school turned prison during Pol Pot regime, and nearby killing fields; very intense, disgusting and horrific; incredibly hot day; head cold worsened, tired easily; went to Russian Market and ate stall foods for lunch; attempted to visit Grand Palace but it was closed; wandered around a bit then headed back to hotel; dinner in the hotel; was not feeling well, took cold medicine.
- Thursday, Dec 2: Felt better in the morning; walked up to Wat Phnom on the only hill in the city; walked down to Grand Palace but it was closed for lunch; went to National Museum which was quite nice, but I didn’t have the focus to really delve into it; ate at “Friends Cafe,” which had a lovely mango-papaya salad and sun-dried tomato dip; took a moto back to hotel for 1pm bus to Kampot, but were told the bus was broken and we were rebooked on a 1:45pm bus; mini-van came at 1:55pm and rushed us to the bus, which was full; we had to sit on plastic chairs set in the aisle and next to the driver; arrived in Kampot about an hour late; found Pepper Guest House double room to stay in; ate next door, yummy food, but I wasn’t feeling well so turned in early.
- Friday, Dec 3: Woke up at 7am when Heather came stumbling in from a wild night out; promptly began having traveler’s diarrhea every fifteen to thirty minutes, which was soon accompanied by vomiting; hot, miserable, sweaty, sick; out of bed at 4pm when Heather left to bicycle around; got staff to clean bathroom, change sheets; they were nice, offering me plates of fruit (I nibbled in the evening) and a ride to the doctor’s if I needed it; Skyped with folks; to bed around 9pm, having not vomited since 4pm and the rest seemingly better, but still nauseous.
I’m sitting in a single papasan-style chair, the kind with a round wicker basket and a cushion in it. One foot is propped up on the small table in front of me and my view is quite pretty: palm trees, hanging plants, a little lawn with some flowers. I’m at the Pepper Guest House in Kampot, resting and feeling like I’ve been hiking all day. In reality, I was in bed until 8am, ate a meager breakfast of one small baguette with a little butter and jam, sipped about a quarter cup of apple juice, and Skyped with my mom. Then I walked with Heather for about twenty minutes around the small town, which completely exhausted me. It’s quite hot today and my two bottles of water are within reach.
I finally succumbed to what every traveler gets at some point: traveler’s diarrhea. Luckily, I seem to have passed the worst of it, which was quite bad and I’m glad to leave it behind. There’s something terribly unromantic about the sweaty, nauseating business of traveler’s diarrhea, even if it is in the midst of a pretty little place like Kampot.
My plan is to let myself recover here in Kampot for a couple of days. Today I will probably not do much more than nap, attempt to eat some plain, steamed rice, read, and catch up on captioning my pictures. I’ve begun the course of one of the antibiotics I brought with me and will continue taking that for another two days. I’m not hungry in the least and I’m quite hot and tired, but still, I feel so much better than yesterday that it’s laughable.
Perhaps tomorrow, if I’m feeling still better, I’ll take a bike ride around town and outside of town. On Monday, if I’m feeling almost 100%, I’ll head to Kep for a day trip, and then Tuesday to Sihanoukeville, where beaches await.
Apologies for the short post, but I do believe it’s time for a nap. For everyone who celebrates it, have a lovely Chanukah, full of lights, latkes and love.