14th May 2015:
Today we left Phnom Penh. Other than Mike taking us on a short cut, by finding the only 4WD road known in existence in a major city, we finally made it out of town. Our destination for the day was Kampong Chem. The drive was pretty uneventful – a nice change, and we arrived at Kampong Chem on the Mekong River around 3.00pm. The Lonely Planet suggested the Mekong Central as an appropriate hotel for travellers. They were right and after handing over US$18 for a twin room each it was a time for our daily beer. These were consumed on the balcony overlooking the Mekong.
Barry took the opportunity to get a haircut from one of the hotel boys for the astronomical cost of $3.00 including shave; nose and ear hairs. We thought they might give him a full Brazilian but he was out of luck.
In the evening we went for a stroll along the waterfront. The local aerobic club was undergoing their exercises on the boulevard and whilst I thought of joining in I instead very sheepishly followed their moves. A few of the younger lads were playing a game using a type of shuttlecock. The shuttlecock was kicked from one player to another using a kind of backward kick, it’s pretty hard to describe. It was very impressive and required a great deal of skill.
A French backpacker girl (with lovely black hair) was showing three urchin children her tricks with a cigarette packet, she was making it appear that the packet was floating behind her hands – simple (after I saw what she was doing; being able to see behind her hands) but impressive and the kids were mesmerised. Pretty cool. All in all everyone was having a pretty good time enjoying life’s simple pleasures. The night market appeared to be doing a thriving trade.
We settled on a good bar and eatery where we had a terrific Asian meal. Later the French girl and her friends arrived followed closely thereafter by the three urchin children. The French group continued to entertain the children throughout the evening. I think the group enjoyed the evening as much as did the children and we certainly enjoyed watching their antics.