Monday, March 7, 2011

Kampot Trip - Part 2 - Note to Self: Next Time, Plan Ahead!

When I was a little kid, one of my favourite birthday party games was 'Pin the Tail on the Donkey'.  (If you don't know the game, read about it by clicking on the link.)  Looking back on our trip to Kampot, I can truly say it was just like that game.  We had only a vague idea of where we were going, and how we were getting there, and no idea where we would eat or sleep, or what we would do, other than buy Kampot pepper. 

When we arrived at the bus station in Kampot, it was already getting dark.  We were hot, tired, and hungry - two barang (foreigners) in an unfamiliar town - and the jackals were waiting.  Immediately, we were barraged at the station by tuk-tuk drivers all with brochures or cards for guesthouses in hand.  "Pick me!  Take my guesthouse!  I give you good price!  Best guesthouse in Kampot!  No, come to mine,  mine better!" They swarmed around us like bees, buzzing and hovering, and not giving us a moment to think clearly.  Finally in a fit of frustration, Gordon pointed to one card with a picture of a nice room, said "This looks pretty good.  Let's try it.", and we hopped in the tuk-tuk to the Kampot Riverview Guesthouse.

We were met by a young man named Rotha, whose English was fairly good.  Unfortunately, he said, he had only one room left - fan only, no air conditioning, no hot water.  Six dollars.  (Actually, he said sick dollars - That should have been my first clue).  He would have a better room tomorrow with hot water for $7.  Remember, we were hot, tired, hungry, disoriented.  We just wanted a place to lay down and rest our weary bones. We really weren't in the mood to start walking the dark streets looking for a place to stay.  We said we'd take a look, and even though it was pretty rough, we decided to stay one night.  After all, how bad could it be?  How bad, you ask?  Check this out.....
The blanket was smaller than the bed.
Gotta love the coordinated bedding!
The curtains were on a rod suspended over two nails
Mickey mouse clock
Romantic mood lighting
The fan was propped up with a string. 
It squeaked & squealed all night
No lid on the toilet
After the first flush, it broke,
so we had to fill up the tank by hand
And what hard thing do you think they are referring to?

Oh well, it was only for one night, right?  And after all, it did have this lovely waterfront restaurant and sitting area....
Waterfront restaurant
Sitting area

We registered, then went to the restaurant to get something to eat and drink.  Rotha was fast on our heels, chatting us up, not letting us get a word in edgewise.  (That should have been my second clue).  We mentioned we were hungry, but instead of a menu, he brought out a tour brochure, and started to pressure us into purchasing our tour packages and our return bus ticket.  (That should have been my third clue).  Not wanting to seem impolite, and anxious to get things sorted out and settled, we bought two tour packages and our return bus tickets. (Why would I be suspicious...It's very common to do this at guesthouses throughout Cambodia). 

It was late before the menus finally came out, and we ate heartily and headed back to our room.  As I opened the bathroom door and turned on the light, a HUGE cockroach the size of my thumb skittered down the open drain in the corner.  I held my feet up off the floor and got out as quickly as I could.  It couldn't get much worse (or could it?)

I will leave you all in suspense until the next episode, and I will only just say this one thing....
Fair warning!  If you ever go to Kampot and if you ever run into this man, turn around and run the other way!

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