After 5 days of madness in the city, 4 other volunteers and myself decided to have a girly trip down to Kep. Bags packed, food stocked, suncream and sunglasses in hand we embarked on the 3 hour taxi down to the beach. The taxi was cosy, as 4 of us jumped in the back the driver was not at all phased.
Our first stop was Chamcar Bei where we pulled up to an eco resort "The Vine". It was a nice getaway from the city: solar heated showers, fresh vegetables and fruit grown from the garden and a hamac on the balcony, as well as other squishy chairs. After settling in there we rented some bikes and rode off to find the local NGO: the woman's empowerment center, where local woman were employed by the community to weave scarves, create jewelery and bags. Before arriving there we stopped off at "Our School" the local school affiliated with BAB-C. This school was by far the most impressive one I had visited so far, a large play ground, 4-5 class rooms and a library, there was also a football pitch round the back. Following this one of the teachers led the way to the woman's empowerment center, where we were given a very detailed guided tour. In this NGO woman received payment for the work they performed, which was consistent with the time that they put aside to produce these items. It was very refreshing seeing such a self sufficient community, who was encouraging the local population to work and was not exploiting it. Before leaving, we all paid visit to the gift shop where we purchased some local jewelery as a souvenir and obviously to help out the community ;-)
The next day we continued on to Kep, with high hopes of clear sea and general sunbathing... Pulling up to the guesthouse the sky was gray and the sea was brown, we put it down to the rocks and set off to the pier to get a boat to Rabbit Island. Rabbit Island had been described to us a paradise, "the most beautiful place I have ever been" by other volunteers, so needless to say, we all had high hopes. We hopped on the boat with a boy who was probably about 10 years younger than most of us and headed of to the Island. Reaching land we trekked through the woods for about 10 minutes and arrived to the other side where the beach and restaurants where, the water wasn't clear and we could definitely not see our feet, but oh well we made the most of it! About an hour after we arrived the weather started to turn... We faced the wind and rain, monsoon was upon us! We seeked refuge in a small refuge and started to envisage ourselves not being able to get off the island, building our own shelter and having to catch our prey... I can say that this did not happen! Luckily the weather cleared and managed to get back to Kep with our 12 year old captain without capsizing. Yay!
After all that drama we were all pretty tired so chilled for a bit before Julia, Trixie and myself headed to the Crab Market to sample the local cuisine and take out some not so local cuisine (vodka from Liverpool).
The next day we got a bus back to Phnom Penh. Not exactly the relaxing weekend we all had planned but funny at the very least!