We arrived in Kampong on November 26th and spent the next day and a half relaxing, hanging out, and basically doing a lot of nothing. Because it was early enough in the afternoon when we arrived and because our hotel was one block from the water, this meant heading for the beach…


Beach story #1

There are different kinds of beach people.  Some are there for the sun, the heat, and the people. I personally like walking (and walking and walking some more) when there’s no one around. My girls like building in the sand and splashing in the water. So our first afternoon in Kampong Som was their time. I’d get mine later.

Afternoon view down the beach
Afternoon view down the beach
Afternoon view up the beach
Afternoon view up the beach

The girls having fun at Ochheuteal Beach.


After wearing ourselves out at the beach and getting our daily dose of cold shower to clean up afterwards, the whole family walked a few hundred feet to Happy Herb Pizza.

Happy Herb Pizza business card (front)

I got a business card!

Happy Herb Pizza business card (back)

You’ll note that there are locations in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, as well!

Happy Herb Pizza serves up a variety of Khmer, Western (pizza and burgers), and seafood. My in-laws loved the fresh seafood, but I mostly kept to the fresh fruit plate. (Mango, please!)

It turns out that Happy Herb Pizza is known for more than their pizza and seafood. According to Mrs. Guest Complacent, one can order foods “happy”. You did notice that the name is “Happy Herb” and not “Happy Herb’s”, didn’t you? In any case, we settled for the non-happy version of the food, and that’s all we’ll say about that!

Pictures from our various visits…

Happy Herb Pizza

Happy Herb Pizza – I think that we ate here four times.

Welcome!

Nobody is happy here!

Nobody happy here!

Children playing under a nearby table

Playing under a nearby table

The dangerous three-mouthed whale!

The dangerous three-mouthed whale!

Who needs herbs to be happy?

Who needs herbs to be happy?


Beach story #2

November 27th was our first full day in Kampong Som. (It was also the first Sunday of Advent.) I happened to wake up around 5 a.m. while the rest of my family was still sleeping. I decided it was my opportunity to enjoy the beach the way I like it, so I crept silently out of our room to go for a walk.

Happily, I was pretty much alone when I reached the water. There were a few people cleaning up their beach-side seafood shacks from the previous night, and a dog that thought I was threatening his stash of leftover crab legs. However, once we established that I had no interest in his seafood, all was well. The tropical sun wasn’t yet beating down, and there was a nice breeze off the water. I walked… and then walked some more. There isn’t much more to say, but those of you who think about tides and collecting shells and similar things already know what it was like.

Clouds on the water

Clouds on the water

Shadows to the northwest

Shadows to the northwest

Pink sky to the southeast

Pink sky to the southeast

Thriving in the sand

Thriving in the sand

Can you see it?

Can you see it?

How about now?

How about now?


We spent the rest of Sunday relaxing. Some of us swam in the hotel pool, some swam in the ocean, some took a walk to the downtown area to do some shopping, some of us stayed in the hotel to play card games and whatnot.

We had lunch here…

Sisters

They served breakfast all day, and I had chocolate chip pancakes. But I couldn’t help but wonder what a patty melt “fried on ions” would taste like.


Beach story #3

Later that evening before supper, my father-in-law, Ordinary Spouse, Middle Daughter, and I walked down to the beach to see the sunset on the Gulf of Thailand.

Waiting for sunset

Ordinary Spouse and my father-in-law waiting for sunset

We were planning on going right to supper afterward, so we told MD to stay dry and keep out of the water. We weren’t there for long when a woman asked a beach photographer to take a picture of her with MD. This kind of thing happened from time to time. Light skinned children were a bit of a novelty, and people would try to touch the girls’ arms or, in this case, take pictures with them. Sometimes we’d intervene, but this time the woman was with her children who were around MD’s age, so I let it go. OS decided that she might as well snap a picture, too.

A photo op

A photo opportunity

After the photographs, the girl invited MD to join her playing in the water. (Actually, this was done with hand gestures, since we had a language barrier between us.) MD just shook her head sadly, since she knew she wasn’t supposed to get wet. I think I was impressed with how well MD followed our directions, and I realized that there are some times to re-evaluate priorities. So I called her over and told her to go have fun playing.

You could tell that Middle Daughter wasn’t sure that she was understanding correctly. “You mean I can get wet? With these clothes on?” I nodded. Her face lit up, and she ran off. It was one of those rare parenting moments when I knew had got things right.

And my father-in-law, Ordinary Spouse, and I enjoyed the sunset…

Half an hour later, the girls were still playing when we needed to leave for supper…

Friends

The last ones on the beach

As we walked back to the hotel, we explained that sometimes being friendly is more important than being dry.

I’d do well to remember that.


Up next: Ream National Park

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