Blissful spa and Pepper Crab

Today I was being thoroughly spoilt. My Christmas present from El was a 4 hour pamper package at a women’s only spa  just out of town on the river. Peter gave El the same thing! So we headed off together around 10.30.  

 What a great experience. We arrived and off with our shoes Cambodian style and down to the covered deck on the edge of the river. El had a quick dip and Tea was served from gently smiling young Cambodian women. 

 When it was time to start we headed up the stairs into the loft area which had billowing white curtains and fans whirring quietly. Down onto the plain bed for the first treatment : a papaya and honey scrub. I’d never had a scrub before and boy did I like it. My girl had strong and careful hands and for an hour scrubbed every bit of my dry skin. Then a wipe down,  a shower,  some more green tea before upstairs again wrapped in a pretty sarong. Then came the aromatherapy massage. Blissful I must say. By now we were both so relaxed. But there was more. We had a healthy fresh juice and then it was the facial. Gorgeous. 

It all ended with another shower and then into the tuk tuk and off to Kep with the boys. I think some of the good of the massage and facial was undone after the rattling journey along the coast to Kep. 

Kep is a seaside town best known for it pepper crab. We stopped at one of the many restaurants along the waterfront and got stuck into two pepper crabs  between us. Yum. They are becoming very famous and people travel down from PP for the day to eat them. 

We washed up at the two sinks convienently  placed in the middle of the restaurant so you can duck over at any time and wash your hands. So practical! We finished and walked along the beach front and looked at the markets. Same but different to markets the world over. 

The ladies in the markets are a pleasure to watch. All friendly and going about their business with calm and contentment. 

Simple lives. Simple pleasures. 

It would be good if we all seemed to enjoy our work. 

Then a walk along the coast and around the corner to a beach Pete had never been to. It was a pretty horse shoe shaped bay with people splashing around and could have been in any number of countries. The sand was white, the children playing soccer, the parents in groups chatting. People setting up their own comfy chairs along the promenade. We stopped for a drink at the Beach House hotel and watched the spectacular sunset. Ah! So beautiful. I’m entranced by sunsets and having seen a few good ones this one was right up with them. 

And so back to Kampot for a quick drink and dinner before heading back to our guest house. 

Did I mention that for the first time in a long while I got the accomodation WRONG. Yes , me who checks everything. I didn’t follow my gut this time. As it had  glowing reviews and seemingly good facilities. I went for comfort over position. And as a consequence we have to get a tuk tuk every time we go to the little town centre. I kind of sensed it would be wrong but didn’t change and of course now I’m sorry! 

Next time I’ll follow my instincts! 

Cambodian Christmas

Steve and I  woke to the sounds of chickens and roosters and what sounded like a call to prayer but could have been just karaoke. 

We had a tasty breakfast cooked by David the Australian owner a laid back almost hippy style guy who can actually cook very well. Steve loves his French toast for breakfast and the little omelet I have is delicious. 

  Off we went on our bicycles trying to ride like locals and not worry about anything hitting us! It’s not very busy here so it wasn’t too bad. Down the lane way near our place across the bridge and into the little town of Kampot. First thing we see is a crowd of motorbikes and cycles converging on the school. Not celebrating Christmas means schools and everything else is open. We cycled gently along Riverside Dr and took in the sights. The old bridge now blocked off, locals under palm trees catching the breezes off the river, men playing cards, old boats lined up with signs displaying sunsets cruises, offical looking buildings and the one we like best. The Cambodian Olympic Aquatic centre funded in 2008 by the Cambodian Olympic Committee, the International Olympic Committee and by Daimler Chrylser. Such sponsorship! It consisted of a unfinished building and big fence and two canoes. Not sure if the river itself is used for swimming!  

 We gently cycled around the town getting the idea of merging at intersections but never really stopping. To stop means no one will ever let you in and you’d sit there all day! So we became quite good. Steve bought a t shirt with elephants on it and we enjoyed our daily fruit shake. Yum. 

  Back to the guest house and met up with Pete and El exchanging one present before heading out to Green House. Down country lanes following the river a right turn took us closer to the river and anticipation grew. It was so bumpy. So dusty. Then round the corner and  into a little oasis. Very laid back timber style house overlooking the river and mountains and instantly we started to relax. 


 Out with the Santa hats. A few photos a few bottles of lovely French Rose. Great food several dishes using the local pepper in various colours and even the delicious local honey. More presents. I received a little necklace from Pete with my name written on it  made by a friend. El gave me a 4 hour pamper at the local women’s only spa. So tomorrow we go together as Peter gave her one as well. Pampering on the banks of the river in timber huts. Sounds delightful. Not sure about the naked swim at the end as it could be too much for my future daughter in law. But she is reassuringly encouraging telling me I look very good ( but I know next to her I would look a fright) oh well I’ll just relax and enjoy.  

Lunch turned into a long affair punctuated with a swim in the river, another glass and lots of chat about the wedding. Better to get it planned whilst we are here so we know what to expect. We all agreed that they being a fairly low key couple where we were sitting would be an ideal place to have the wedding. The back drop against the forested mountains is gorgeous. We discussed logistics and even talked to Sabine the French owner of Greenhouse. So we think we have a plan. 

  Sitting under the trees in the balmy night air was a lovely way to spend Christmas. Hopefully some will be able to travel to this poor country and enjoy the simple charms it offers.