I had intended to take a small detour via the Kampot/Kep pepper plantations but after a short time on the bike realised what I needed to do was not extend the day but get to my next destination with minimal exertion. I was feeling below par, with another upset stomach draining energy and bodily fluids making things tough going.
The conditions were also tough going. In addition to growing pepper the region is known for producing salt, and while I deliberately bypassed the pepper region, I accidentally passed the salt farms and experienced a harsh, windy and arid microclimate.
The beeline ‘road ‘ I was taking too, tough going. Dirt tracks of varying conditions, then sandy paths leading to the ‘secret’ Angkol Beach. At one point I was peddling behind another ‘Cambodian tractor’, a common sight during my almost four weeks in the country. This one was packed with rice and was taking up the whole track, slowly maneuvering past potholes. I was following, with my mind wandering to the lush green English countryside and spending time on country lanes with thick roadside hedges, behind Somerset farmers and their tractors on the way to Granny and Grandpa’s.
I was able to prove useful actually, as he got bogged crossing a small waterway. I laid down my bike and summoned up all my strength to lift and push it on its way.
The border crossing into Vietnam took much longer than the Cambodian experience did. This, despite the fact that my visa was pre-purchased and fixed in my passport. All I needed was a stamp but it was over an hour before I was on my way again.
Vietnam! Country three of three. I found a guesthouse in the border town of Ha Tien and stayed there for two nights (another day of complete rest was required!)
Yesterday (Sunday) I took a ferry to the island of Phu Quoc and on the cycle to my guesthouse passed an unmarked pepper plantation. It was on a stretch of backroad and the locals at the front weren’t too inviting so I didn’t manage to buy any, but it was interesting to see it grown.
I spent the afternoon swimming, reading, drinking fruit shakes and sleeping, had an average and overpriced burger at Winston’s, a place I was expecting more from given the rave reviews on Trip Advisor and was back in my room for an early night.