July 5

Sleep in. Lush. I have a great mattress and sleep the sleep of the cryogenically suspended.

Me, Jenny, Simone and Karen kayaking along the river. Now the taunting will be put to the test! After a disconcertingly long tuk tuk ride out to the kayaking place (we will have to paddle back!), we are made to sign the waiver that Peter had be careful to warn us about. Several times.

While all care is taken for safety, well being and flavour of the hiree, no responsibility will be taken for the consumption of any person, in whole or part, by megafauna, including but not limited to crocodiles, in or about the water course to be navigated by the kayaker (hereafter referred to as the “meal of the day”).

Signed: ( ) meal of the day.*

The kayaking was a living travelogue, a sensurround documentary with sights and sounds and tastes. The movie-like quality was reinforced by an unbroken musical background score along the entire river, a lush, slow, romantic anthem to the pleasures of this life. Cattle lying down or nibbling along the grassy banks. A small herd of goats moving into a boat in two lazy lines, shuffling like school kids being ushered by their teacher. And again, like the cycling, kids yelling hello all the way along, sometimes jumping in the water and swimming toward us en masse. After my seat back broke (the old strap had been “fixed” once too often), it did cross my mind to hook them up to our kayak like reindeer. The flood levels are revealed by the plastic bags hanging like rags from the low branches.

We were told we had to pass six bridges to get to the pickup point. The first bridge took so long that we wondered if we’d make it. Luckily the others came in accelerating frequency. The highlight was seeing bridge “buon” so soon followed by bridge “pram”. Then: ahoy, it’s “pram muoy!”

Also in the movies it’s always the ones who go for help that die, and ones who stay by the wreckage that get rescued. Jenny and I set off to call the kayak people from the hotel when they didn’t turn up after about half an hour. Karen stayed behind with her broken thong and Simone waited with her. Well before reaching the hotel, there were a smiling, waving Karen and Simone – and the kayaks! – on the back of a blue pickup truck coming the other way. Jenny and I clambered up with them, balancing on the kayaks as we headed back, delighting Anne and Peter as we rounded the corner towards the Seng Hout Hotel.

The afternoon we packed and left our hotel, by now a comfortable second home, for Siem Reap.

Hope to be back some day.


*I made all this up.


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