After almost a week of visiting markets and adjusting to a new climate and new time zone, we were ready to go adventuring again. Jimmy and Nine wanted to show us Cambodia's beaches and mountains, so off we went.
We rented a small SUV and driver (you'll understand why later) and headed out on Wednesday, January 4. Our first destination was Kep (prounounced kipe) located southwest of Phnom Penh on the coast near the border with Vietnam.
The countryside isn't as lush as you might expect, because this is the dry season. These rice paddies have been harvested, and the local cattle have been turned in to graze on the stubble.
Or sometimes they're on the way to or from the fields, stopping traffic as they go.
The rice crop (at least the part which will be used for local consumption) can be seen drying on mats beside the road, or in rare instances, piled under a shed.
Along the way we shared the roads with plenty of other vehicles...not all of them mechanical.
Cattle pull some of the loads. Jimmy tried to get a kiss from this one, but she was too shy.
We also saw a few ponies being used. Here, one little fellow waits patiently as his owner loads a TV set on top of the mattresses and other cargo, then plods along to the market.
Other carts are pulled by what the locals call water buffalo. This team has a full load of hay (or rice straw) bound for some unknown destination. If you saw this vehicle from the rear, you'd never suspect what was up front.
Our trip was full of pleasant surprises. This woman, bound for the local pagoda with her load of bright goods for sale, was just one of them.
Around noon we reached our destination, the town of Kep, bounded by the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Thailand.