Today we were to be making the trip from Kampot to the nearby Bokor National Park and although the weather in Kampot looked reasonable enough the further we drove out from the place and the higher we climbed into the park the mistier and rainier it became. This perhaps would have been quite a palatable tour on a clearer day but, my friends, this was definitely not a clearer day.
We began our tour of the park at the ‘King’s Palace’. To be fair I have no idea what singled this building out from any other location to be a luxurious enough abode to be fit for a king. The place was mediocrity at it’s worst. Back home in the UK, our Queen would have had us minions beheaded if we had tried putting her up in this dump and to be fair I actually would have hoped she would have had us beheaded, in fact I would have even drawn the line as to where to chop! The place just looked so very poor even though it was only a shell of a building, perhaps I was just lacking a bit of imagination today … Lol! The fella who did the graffiti, possibly the best thing in the place, did however have some imagination though.
Every now and then a very sudden downpour would occur causing us to bring forth our super ponchos but it was so hot and humid wearing them that we were probably wetter underneath the ponchos than we would have been just letting the rain do its job – argh! We managed to get out of the showers for a while at our stop off at the new casino. Now this place was huge and obviously quite new and it had had a lot of money spent on it but it was empty. I think Chinese tourists were the targeted audience but they were yet to rise, a bit like Gambling Vampires! Still it gave us the chance to have a look at how the other half gamble in Cambodia and the opportunity to dry off a bit too.
Then it was back aboard the mini bus and onwards and more upwards. Along the way we got chatting to a younger Australian couple at the back of the bus, it turned out he was a comedian, so of course Liz asked him for a joke but he was not really that kind of comedian so we all sat there a bit embarrassed – call himself a comedian! Next up, was something neither funny nor very impressive really and that was the deserted old church. Once again the heavens opened which was good because by this time I was getting far too dry!!!! Now the church like most of the buildings up here had no real redeeming features to mention so I will not. All of the buildings had more of a spooky feel and look to them rather than them being genuinely interesting or even having historic significance. After the church it was on to the old casino/hotel, another building of the same ilk as the rest we had seen, so at this point the tour was actually managing to lose some of the little charm that it had.
By now it was lunchtime and to be fair we were ready for it. We ate at the side of a waterfall which unlike many of the man-made attractions actually fared somewhat better because of the downpours. By the time we had dined upon our somewhat average rice and vegetables it was quite the raging torrent that we had been hoping for.
This was the last part of the daytime activities before we were driven all the way back down the hill and back into Kampot to our hotel. We had an hour or so to recover and dry off a bit before coming back out to the riverside to catch our boat for part two of the tour, the Firefly and Sunset cruise.
We had met an Aussie guy called Bill on the mini bus on the day trip and as we were going down to the riverside to board the vessel we saw him once again so stopped and had a bit of a drink with him. He seemed a nice enough guy but soon enough we needed to be over the road to board our vessel. The boat was a bit like a bar on the water really with a disco on board. However, once again the voyage itself turned out to be a bit of a damp squib, due to the mist and cloud cover we could not see any sunset and perhaps for the same reasons we could also not see any fireflies – there were about ten living in a single tree and that was it! However, all things considered it was a good enough laugh though, the guide put plenty of thumping music on and we all relaxed with a drink or two on the boat so it was cool for us. Aussie Bill sat next to us but I could hardly hear him over the music. The guide actually at one point went for a jump into the water and one or two others followed suit but I was not keen to have a go as the water was a tad murky to put it mildly.
After the boat trip we then went with Bill to a local bar he recommended and had a bit to eat with him which was quite nice. He told us more about himself and his many and luxurious travels, he presently lived in Sydney but had recently had problems. As he put it he was a farang but he had been ‘ripped off’ by his ex, a Thai bride, in this there is a lesson for us all … lol.