Sunday, April 29, 2012

Of Bus Trips, Boat Rides and Bungalows

Two days after arriving in Phnom Penh, I was privy to a group discussion around where to spend Khmer New Year, which fell over the weekend of the 13th April.  It's a good thing the people taking part in the discussion became my friends, because way back in February they invited me to go on holiday with them..

Two months flew by and the much anticipated holiday drew nearer.  Bags were packed, camera batteries charged and the night before we left, the holiday crew slept at our house so we could leave as early as possible.

The air conditioned mini van, pad kos (road food), lots of good conversation and laughs made the trip seem pretty short (except for when we got lost) and after a few hours we uncertainly unloaded ourselves in a quiet fishing village, amidst a few giggling kids and the odour of fish. A rickety pier took us to the boats, but not ours...  We hung around until our boat came to fetch us and we chugged off in the direction of the island.  At this point I was ridiculously excited as I have dreamt of such a holiday for years and couldn't believe that I would soon be spending a few days in a bungalow, lying in a hammock, on an island.  And that the bungalow was literally right on the beach..woah!!

So in this state of disbelieving excitement we arrived at Koh Thmei Island.  What followed was a glorious few days of hammock lying, book reading, beach walking, sea swimming, tube floating, sun burning, cocktail drinking, delicious food eating, card playing, sunrise admiring fun:)  I returned feeling refreshed and incredibly grateful to have had such a great experience. A few photos of paradise:
rose bedecked bow/stern

our bungalow

dining area & bungalow

fish eyed boat

view from the doorway

the water was so warm

sunrise - day 2

one of my best photos ever


fishing boat spotted on a walk

admiring the sunrise

yip, it was even more beautiful than it looks

On a side note, some of us decided a swim in the rain would be a fun thing to do.  As soon as the rain got heavy enough we charged off into the sea.  What had been envisioned as a frolic in the rain turned into yelps and squeals as we realised we'd gone into a shallow, rocky area (by realised I mean the jagged rocks were cutting into our feet and tripping us up).  Optimism prevailed.. Surely the sea would get deeper and we'd escape the rocks soon.  Except we didn't and as we gingerly floated along, the owner of the island appeared on the pier and started waving and shouting, "move over there! sea urchins" Sea urchins? What the heck are they?  At that moment, I discovered what they were as one of them shot a spike into my thumb and I tried to contain my thrashing about to the surface of the water.  Gosh, I was relieved to get into deep, rock and sea urchin free water!  

For the interested, this is where we stayed:

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