Day 6! I was rapidly approaching the end of my ride. By now I had settled into a nice groove and was excited for more. What a change from Day 1!
We woke up at 7AM and set off without any breakfast, much to my surprise. I guess the homestay included only one meal. I wasn’t very hungry so I didn’t mind. It was also really pleasant to ride early when it was cool. I guess some things are constant no matter where you are in the world – Sunday morning motorcycle rides to breakfast are always a wonderful thing! We rode through small villages where dogs came running out into the street at the sound our engines. No survival instincts, these dogs! I narrowly avoided a few of them.
We stopped for breakfast at a local place where we had our first taste of what the locals eat for breakfast. Our options were fried rice or noodles. No omelettes or egg related dishes here! I opted for the fried rice with a hot coffee with sweet milk. Cambodia coffee is very like its Vietnamese counterpart, which I have had in Seattle. It is a thick strong sludgy drink made with chicory coffee and sweetened with condensed milk from a can. I usually avoid drinking coffee in the mornings during long rides to avoid getting dehydrated, but I couldn’t resist. It was odd to eat rice for breakfast, but as always, I was grateful to get good, delicious food for under a dollar. The place was buzzing with flies, something that I could never get used, although my Aussie tourmates told me that you soon got used to it when you lived in hot humid places. Fair enough!
After this, we had a good few hours of riding where it got quite a bit difficult for me. The roads were dusty like yesterday and had a lot of bumps and potholes. At times, we went off into a little bit of single track, which although wide, was a little sandy and rutted and twisty. I went a lot slower here. It was also very hot as the day went by. My dual sporting outfit was fine for most of the roads we had done so far, but on the slow unpaved roads it was less than ideal. For the first time, I wished I had brought a dirtbiking outfit.
We went over quite a few rickety wooden bridges for the first time. We stopped at the end of one and the others went up and down it to take pictures. I was too hot and tired though, and I opted out. Kind of wish I had though, as it would have made for great pictures.
We stopped for lunch at what looked like a good sized town in a restaurant right by the water. Next to the restaurant was a pretty busy fish market. It looked like the local people had all turned up to their week’s shopping on Sunday. I ordered a grilled fish, which was delicious as usual. Nicole got a delicious squid lime soup. It looked so simple and looked so easy to make that I made a mental note to try making it at home someday.
After lunch, we had about a half hour ride ahead of us before we reached Kampot and the water’s edge from where we would take a boat to Rabbit Island (Koh Thonsáy). We stopped at a post office across from the dock and left all of our riding gear and bikes behind. I just brought my backpack along with all my essentials. It made me feel light and free! :)
While Chea bought our tickets, I stopped at a little shop to buy a hat as the sun was really hot overhead by now. It was like no hat I’ve ever owned. It had a peak and the rest of it was cloth shaped in a triangle so that you could tie it like a scarf behind your head of under your chin. Very versatile!
The boat ride was amazing. I always enjoy being on the water. The boat had a motor, so it went at a good pace, and the breeze felt lovely. The memory of sailing on a little boat on the Gulf of Thailand on a warm sunny day with the wind blowing my hair back is one I’ll keep for a very long time. The thought of going to a little idyllic island to stay at a cabin on the water, swim, and drink cool drinks on the beach was also exciting. We proceeded to do exactly that.
It was a wonderful evening and a fitting end to our ride. Everything was perfect – swimming in the waters, taking a shower in the gorgeous tiled bathroom in the cabin, relaxing on the hammock outside the cabin, getting a full body massage on the beach, drinking beer by the campfire… it finally dawned on me why people took vacations in tropical places. This is something that I’ve never been allured by, having grown up in a tropical city with an aversion to hot muggy weather. I can envision doing this a lot in the future to get some respite from the dreary Seattle winters when my spirit is it at its lowest.
As an aside, Rabbit Island is a bit of a misnomer as there are no more rabbits on there today. The name Dog Island would be a lot more appropriate as there were so many stray dogs on the beach. They weren’t particularly bothersome as they kept to themselves, until later in the night when they howled in packs and woke us up. One dog would start and the rest would follow suit. There was one sitting right outside our cabin who joined in. It’s a good thing that I was wearing earplugs or I wouldn’t have gotten much sleep at all.