Although we had considered staying on an extra day in Kampot, we decided this morning to stick with our original plans and leave today.
Amanda and I had the morning to entertain ourselves, as David’s business continues to grow and he had some work to do.
We decided a little pampering would be nice. Amanda had done some research on salons in the area and found that the Jolie Jolie salon was nearby and had lots of excellent reviews on TripAdvisor…so we to see if they could fit us in this morning.
As we came back past Jolie Jolie the lady had arrived but unfortunately she advised that one of her staff was sick today and she was going to be on her own and therefore not available until after 11:30am…our taxi was booked for 12:30pm so that wouldn’t suit us today…what a shame…
But never fear…Amanda had a back up plan. Golden Hands was also nearby and whilst they hadn’t had as many excellent reviews apparently they were still very good…so following her lead we walked down a couple of blocks and turned into a quaint old french style street where the salon was located.
They were open, though interestingly the manager here was also away as her daughter was ill, but the Swiss owner was there instead and tried his best to communicate with the staff what we wanted done. This was a nice place in regards to visual presentation, though the atmosphere wasn’t quite there…my expectation was of a fragrant, peaceful, professional establishment…it looked like it, but didn’t feel like it…there was gentle music playing but no ‘fragrance’ in the air (it didn’t smell bad either though)…the staff didn’t wear a uniform, the lady that did our nails had a Hello Kitty nightie on (not uncommon for locals to wear what we consider pyjamas all day)…there wasn’t really enough space or light on both sides of the chair and even though we were both getting our nails done and they seated us in layback seats beside each other, the same lady did us both so it took quite a while (there were other staff there not actually working, though perhaps they were not trained to do manicures). I personally think that establishments offering manicures should suggest you pay first, so you don’t have to go digging in your bag for your purse with wet polish on your nails…but they didn’t suggest it and I didn’t think of it until it was too late…at least mine had been done first so had dried quite a bit by the time Amanda was finished.
All in all an okay experience but certainly room for improvement…I tried to exclude the fact that there was also a jackhammer working next door, these guys couldn’t help that.
We wandered back to our hotel, picked up our bags that we had already packed and went downstairs for lunch before our taxi arrived. He was very early but quite happy to wait while we finished our meal then helped with our bags.
Poor David twinged his back again this morning so he climbed into the back seat and I jumped in the front. I don’t mind sitting in the front, I tried taking some photos and enjoyed having a clear view…though occasionally the sensation to speak out about the chaotic drivers was uncontrollable. Thankfully our driver didn’t speak much English, David was sleeping and Amanda was listening to music, so really I was just talking to myself anyway. He was a very good driver…careful yet not about to be delayed unnecessarily. The only real moment of panic for me was when we were about to overtake a very slow truck laden with heavy rocks and I saw the reason it was slow was due to a herd of cows walking onto the road in front of it…our driver couldn’t see the cows due to the truck…but I guess he knew that word in English because he slowed down rather than overtake until the cows were out of the way.
I think he must be from Kampot…though I imagine that even drivers in Phnom Penh probably don’t know every street in this city of 2 million people. Most of the streets are numbered rather than named, but the numbers don’t run one after the other side by side…for example we are staying on Rue 334, but the next streets are Rue 322 on one side Rue 352 on the other…do finding our hotel was a bit challenging. To make it easier, I decided to turn on the data on Amanda’s phone ($10 per day with optus) and check the map…good thing I did as the directions given to the driver from a tuk tuk driver in the street had us going in the wrong direction…
I’d looked at lots of hotel options online before we left home and booked us into the Cozy Boutique Hotel. A small family owned and run place located about 3km from the city centre. As we walked in we saw the pool area…yay! Check in was straight forward and we were given a cold apple juice each. The room is large with 3 extra wide single beds, an en suite, fridge and tv. Once again through no fault of the hotels, there is a lot of noise from the construction site right next door…they were very apologetic and advised the work usually stops around 5pm and will restart about 8am. Wifi is free and the modem is outside our door, though the signal is excellent the actual service was poor. I asked the lady at reception about it and she tried her best but couldn’t make it better so she called someone to come and fix it. They did…by the time we were back from dinner it was much better…though as usual David still struggled with his devices.
There really isn’t anything much that feels better than sliding into a cool pool when you’re hot. The average daytime temperature on our trip has been about 38°c…reducing to about 34°c overnight. It is not too humid though so with the intermittent relief from air conditioned places we’ve survived. Pools have been essential for a good afternoon, not having one in Kampot was a mistake…but the one here in PP is beautiful…a little plunge pool, perfect for cooling off and taking the weight off weary feet and knees!
Dinnertime rolled around again predictably, though Amanda had been doing her research again and found a place for us to try. La Creperie on Rue 308. As the name suggests they specialise in les crepes and les galettes. I had a hankering for a chicken and mushroom crepe…la paimpont…and it was tres bon! I couldn’t resist trying la defi…crepe with cooked banana and homemade salted butter caramel…ahhh tres beau!!! Amanda had a flambee which was quite impressive…
And so ended another day of firsts…