That may not come as a big deal to any of you reading this, but it’s big news here – there’ve been a few raindrops here and there, but this evening was a downright downpour! It’s the first big rain of my trip and I love it! It’s quite early for the rainy season, which normally doesn’t start until at least late April – but to see and hear and smell the rain – it’s lovely! Can you imagine no rain for six weeks — well, Californians can imagine that, but surely not Puna or Cape Cod people!
I understand the rainy season is a great time to be here – the rice fields which are now all dusty and dry are lush and verdantly green and the dust is all but gone. And the rain comes for a just a few hours a day and generally at night, so that’s a fine way to experience it. For this evening, it has cooled things off, brought out a few more mosquitoes, unfortunately, and freshened things up. It’s even the slightest little bit chilly – oh, what a welcome that is!
I’m hanging out here at Botanica after a full day of walking through and exploring Kep. It’s been another lovely, easy day – there’s a seaside promenade that no one was on … except for me. Because you see, no one walks here – in the States, we drive, in Europe, they walk and in Asia, they ride – everything from 4 people to a motor-bike, to tuk-tuks, to bicycles, to human-powered cyclos, to all sorts of rigged up wheeled things. So, as everyone was whizzing by me on their assorted cycles, I leisurely and most pleasurably walked all along this beautiful promenade that hugged the sea for miles. It gave me the smallest reminder of the path through the Cinque Terre which is for me, my greatest walking area ever!
It’s very quiet here in Kep – I understand that the week-end will heat up with folks who like to come from Phnom Penh for a seaside holiday, but for now, the streets are pretty empty with the local folks lazing around in hammocks and moving pretty slowly. The beach here is pretty non-existent – I hear they’ve actually brought sand in from Sihanoukville (!) – it’s odd that it’s perched right here on the sea but the beach is not the focus at all. There’s also very little in the way of stores or souvenir shops or such – like none! In Kep, it’s about one thing and that’s it – eating, especially crab, but all sorts of seafood. The crab traps are all along the water’s edge as are the stalls where they’re being served up.
I walked for hours, stopped for a cool drink here and there and then it came time to indulge in the specialty of the house – Kep Crab with Kampot Pepper – wow! Incredible! Made in some kind of delicious sauce and while I had expected cracked pepper, they used whole peppercorns – clearly, they had been cooked for awhile because they were soft, but there were hundreds of them on my plate! I wasn’t quite sure about biting into all those peppercorns and I definitely didn’t eat them all (some were still all stuck together on their small stalk). But they made for great seasoning and along with the ever-present rice, that was my delicious meal for the day!
I’ve let go of the idea of leaving Botanica – yes, it’s a ways out of town … but now that I’ve been in town, I realize there’s not much there that I’m missing by being far out of it. So I’ll stay here for my few remaining days before I head for the border on Sunday.