This morning we got up early and were waiting outside for our pick-up to go to Rabbit Island at 8:30. While we were waiting, the hotel manager came and asked if we had time for breakfast as it was included in the room price. It's been so long since we've had a free breakfast that we'd totally forgotten about it! He was really nice and asked our driver to wait for five minutes while they made our breakfast - omelette and baguette - and put it into boxes for us...now that's service!
Surprisingly, our pick-up was not a tuk-tuk as we'd expected, but an actual car, which is very rare in Cambodia! The boat ride to the island took about fifteen minutes and we all got soaked by the waves. Then there was quite a big jump from the boat to the beach, but we're used to clambering on and off boats now! We'd eaten our free takeaway breakfast during the crossing but stopped at a cafe on the beach for fruit shakes and some pancakes - breakfast pudding!
We had a walk along the small stretch of beach, which is covered in beach bungalows (all fully booked because of Khmer New Year!) and restaurants. We found two sunbeds next to a hammock and relaxed there for a few hours, in between dips in the sea to cool down. There were lots of small boats coming and going all day and there seemed to be a lot of locals on day trips. Apparently, all of the rich Cambodians who live in Phnom Penh head to the coast for New Year.
In the afternoon, we decided to go for some food so we found a restaurant that looked quite quiet. We ordered some seafood and drinks and when we had to wait about twenty minutes for our drinks we realised that it might be a while before we ate! Only one of the staff spoke English and he seemed rushed off his feet! He apologised for the delay, saying it was because it was New Year. We watched a few people leave before their food came after waiting so long, but we didn't have time to go anywhere else so we just waited patiently! When the food eventually came, Dave's fish amok looked lovely but my BBQ shrimp looked a lot like one big fish! I told the waiter who looked confused and then realised he'd made a mistake. There was no time to re-order so I just took the fish, a bit gutted as someone near us had shrimp which looked lovely! The fish was very good though so it wasn't all bad!
By the time we left the restaurant, we only had an hour before our boat back to the mainland. Dave had another dip in the sea, next to a local family whose small son kept shouting 'Hello! I love you!' to any Westerner he spotted! It was very cute and funny and all of his family were laughing along too! Right on time, our boat appeared and we had the difficult job of climbing aboard from the beach, without the aid of steps of any sort. I love the way the locals just point as if to say 'Get on!' when there's no obvious method of doing so! We managed it though and were just starting to move away from the beach with the six passengers on board from earlier in the day when a huge group of Japanese tourists appeared on the shore and started shouting and arguing with our boatman. This went on for about twenty minutes and, as far as we could work out, they'd either missed their boat or it hadn't turned up and they wanted to get on ours. At one point, after we'd gone back to the shore, our boatman said 'It's coming' (meaning their boat) and started pushing ours away from the shore with his bamboo pole so that we could go. Straight away, one of the irate Japanese men grabbed the front and pulled us back to shore again - it was getting ridiculous! Eventually, about half of the group did get onto our boat for some reason and we finally made it back to the mainland! After all of that unnecessary shouting and screaming, I'd have left them there...
There was a tuk-tuk waiting to take us back to our hotel and we arranged for the driver to collect us tomorrow morning and take us to a pepper plantation and some nearby limestone caves. That night, we walked back to the pier and found a hotel serving food. We ate our dinner while watching the Khmer New Year celebrations on TV. There was a live party going on where the presenter kept singing (or rather miming) along with random members of the crowd! When we got back to the room we flicked through the TV channels and found more shows like this, including one where it looked like the army were playing musical chairs! Maybe we should include a game into our New Year celebrations...