The Pepper trail to Kampot

Kampot is very well known for its delicious pepper and we set off today talking about the dishes we wanted to try with pepper in it.

Our driver picked us up at 11 and off we went to Kampot about 2 and a half hours away.

Driving through the outskirts of PP and into the countryside of Cambodia reminded me of the drive from Hanoi to Halong Bay.

Crumbling buildings, piles of rubble, plastic bags , dogs, scooters, bikes often with whole families on board ( some of the little ones asleep ) trucks, little wooden spirit houses, feather dusters, school children always dressed neatly in blue skirts or long pants and white shirts but not always wearing shoes , women walking in their pyjamas suits, lots of little shops. ……. We passed it all.

Finally it became more countryside and more mountains in the distance. Pete and El love Kampot and kept telling us how lovely it was there compared to PP. I’m not convinced we’ll find it equal to our weekend getaway spots!

After a lot of epic driving going round trucks and little school kids on bikes and older kids two and three deep on motor cycles we arrived at Kampot.

First impressions : old, dusty, eclectic, faded. Later after we dropped our bags at our Guest House and headed into the small main area I revised this impression to fading charm, laid back ambiance , original, friendly, slow and waiting to be discovered.

Pete and El have been here a few times and are wanting to get in on the growing appeal for this little place. They , particularly El, want to open a guest house, restaurant bar. Yes after all the teacher training , Pete is considering moving on. He can’t afford to do it too soon so might have to keep living in PP during the week and teach then return to Kampot and help El set up the business they want to run. It’s still a way off because it’s harder than it seems to do. But they are keen and have been gathering ideas. El is smart and has been using her experience at managing Nick’s restaurant to build experience for their own business. Who knows what will happen.

As most of you know I am very particular and quite successful at selecting our holiday accomodation. Well this time I got it wrong. Nice place but wrong location! Too far from the action of Kampot. But Pete has hired a motor bike and Steve and I have the use of push bikes for the 10 min ride across the river into town.

For Christmas Eve dinner we went to Baraca run by friend of the kids. It was tapas night. Great fun. Great food and lovely cocktails. Followed by a walk along the river which twinkled with Christmas lights I could feel the effect this place has on people.

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