Tuesday, December 23, 2008
The jetty at Chi Phat village, at the time of our arrival
The Chi Phat commune - located in Koh Kong province - is made up of four villages and totals around 500+ families. The villages are Chi Phat itself, Chaom Sla, Kam Lort and Teuk Laork. We arrived by boat at the Chi Phat village jetty, walked along the dusty main street to the CBET (community-based ecotourism) office - lots of hello's and goodbye's from the friendly neighbours - and were assigned sleeping quarters in one of the five guesthouses that rotate visitors. Mine was called Nget Cchy guesthouse and whilst basic, it was certainly comfortable and the owners very accommodating. By basic I mean asian squat loo, ladle-shower and mozzie-net without fan. All of our food was provided by the CBET cooking team, and it was delicious, especially the curry, and we also stopped at one of the local cafe's for coffee on a couple of occasions. There was a volleyball court near the river which attracted a crowd of onlookers every afternoon and a pagoda over on the other riverbank. The Preak Piphot river was the place for sunset and where I met a family headed by Ka and her seemingly inexhaustible supply of children. I counted at least seven. She didn't speak any English, I didn't speak any Khmer but I felt we had a fruitful conversation on a couple of occasions when I went to watch the setting sun and river activity outside her riverbank home.
The quiet and dusty Chi Phat main street, devoid of cars but home to bicycles, motos, cows, water buffalo and the odd tractor