Which means, Rabbit Island in English. This trip is one of those things that every single tourist who comes to Kep does. There isn't much else to do, so it's high on a noticeably short list. And it is a nice trip. If maybe a *little* hairy. You would think after our experience in Hawaii that I might ask a few questions about the boat and the life vests, etc before agreeing to a journey by water. I'll let you in on a little secret: I am a slow learner. Although, really, if you are spending a week in Cambodia with your wee spawn, it is possible that your safety parameters are not always exactly in line with the majority of the western world.
Anyhoo, we went and had a great time, so what am I complaining about?
The Mystery Man who rarely appears in photos. The real tragedy about this photo is that I did not even take it. No, poor Jeff had to resort to handing his camera to a vertically challenged human, resulting in a less than flattering angle. But at least he makes an appearance. It was a gorgeous, bright sunny day, as you can see by the brilliant blue sky (*le sigh*).
The conversation boarding the boat went something like this:
"Look, little ones! Look at our fine vessel! Don't you feel safe and secure, seeing this fine seafaring boat?
"No, mama! No! I am tortured by visions of our experience in Hawaii when you let that crazy man take us out in the open sees in that puny boat! I do not feel safe and secure!"
"Come now, my little one, all will be well!" (Which of course it was, witnessed by this very post).
The boat rocked and rolled quietly the all of twenty minutes it took us to get to Rabbit Island, so no drama. When we arrived, I was a little surprised. It was not exactly the most gorgeous exotic beach I had ever seen. The word "scurvy" keeps climbing up my frontal lobe. Contextually, this is a totally incorrect usage ("scurvy" of course being a disease related to Vitamin C deficiency), but roll that word around in your mouth for a bit and tell me it doesn't give you the feeling of this beach?
The children expressed their unmitigated delight in Rabbit Island.
But, wait, there's more! Thank heavens, the trip is saved!! We hiked about a half a kilometer through the palm groves and popped out on the developed side of the island! Yeah, Gulf of Thailand! This photo is a little grayish, as it was actually taken during the rainy part, later in the day, as opposed to the bright, blue sunshine part when we arrived.
The flattish table you see front and center was quickly covered by a reed mat by our host who helped settle us on a sunning table, complete with our own hammock. Cool!!!
The bungalows you see in the background are available for rent for $5US a night. There is a community squat pot, or you can actually rent a bungalow that has an attached squat (!!). There is no electricity on the island, of course, and we had decided that our cute little bungalow back at Kep Lodge would more than meet our needs for the evening (by the way, we were paying $50US a night for the two rooms; electricity does not come cheaply!). A night on a dark island covered with mosquitoes, dogs (and their offal!), chickens (and their offal!), and relatives of our largish insect the Many Legged Whats-it back at Kep Lodge with a medium length walk to the squattie pottie was probably left for braver souls with children old enough to pee on their own.
I do think it is full of awesome that your five bucks includes toilet paper. It's the little things that make all the difference between a 4-star and a 5-star experience.
This is our host, the fellow who I mentioned put out the sunning mats for us. He is hauling in lunch. Kep is famous for crabs. I am unfortunately allergic to shellfish, but he and his family also served chicken at their dining establishment on the beach, so I was happy enough to pass on the local specialty.
The skies opened while we had lunch. Not bad timing, all in all. Jeff had fresh fish while the children and I indulged in some lovely chicken with ginger. It was the "roughest" preparation of chicken I had in Cambodia, with most of the chicken still chopped on the bone. But considering that it was likely that the chicken I was eating had still been a consumer in the food chain earlier in the day, I'd say it was a pretty good meal. The weather cleared in the afternoon, so we spent our time alternating between collecting shells and playing in the lovely warm Gulf of Thailand.
Alas, the time came to pack it up and head back to Kep. The boats do look gorgeous in the afternoon sun. Safe, maybe not so much, but rather pretty.
Here, Hope is making wee friends, which she is wont to do wherever she goes. You might notice that there is quite a bit of garbage washed up on the beach. This is not unusual in the southeast Asia beaches. I think the majority of locals complain that it all washes up from China.
And my favorite photo of the day. At the heart of it, I am a little afraid of boats. This photo makes me feel all a-kilter, which is about how I feel when I am smashing into waves sitting on a narrow wooden bench, in a narrow, wooden vessel, clutching Hope as though there were a real chance that she could get flung into the deep and lost forever. Maybe this is why Hope seems a little afraid of boats, too.
We arrived back at the dock in one piece, nicely replenished in our stores of Vitamin D and longing for a dip in the pool and a lovely dinner at the Kep Lodge.
Tomorrow: we leave Kep and head for Sihanouville.But first, we visit the Salt and Pepper Fields!