Rabbit Island, what to say? peaceful, relaxing and beautiful. Although it wasnt like that from the start. We arrived on the island on the saturday of chinese new year, Kep itself on the mainland had already been very busy and we had already told ourselves it would be busy over the weekend, but we wern't quite prepared for what it was actually like. Rabbit Island is a tiny fishing island with one main beach that has about 6 different sets of bungalows each owned by a different family and with thier own restauraunt, and thats pretty much it. When we got there it was just starting to get busy, we were probably one of about 6 boats that left to go over and more and more came throughout the day. There were locals everywhere, the sea was full of people and the beach was packed to the very last grain of sand with locals, having picnics, drinking and having a good time. We stayed put in our lovely little bungalow for the day and just observed all the locals getting merry. It was lovely to see so many cambodian people out and having a good time but we were not prepared for the state in which they left the island. The place was so litterd, they had absolutly no respect for the island and that really shocked us, I got quite upset by the utter rudeness and disrespect they had for such a beautiful place. I honestly havnt seen anything like it, they even had bins out for them to use but they just threw it anywhere, tissues, paper plates, cans, plastic bottles, food, just everything they used they just chucked on the floor. Its a shame that we saw this side to the people of cambodia because I cant help but view them diferently now. We had hoped as the night drew in they would be heading back to the main land but most of them camped out so they were up until the wee hours being really loud and playing music, I know I sound like a right party pooper but we were just dissapointed that our paradise island experience wasnt going of to the best of starts. The celebrations went on for the whole weekend, the owners of all the bungalows did a good job at clearing up after everyone on the monday morning and by tuesday it was like they had never been there.
We reserved our bungalow before we set off which is a good job because we saw lots of people who couldnt find anywhere to stay, our bungalow was the best, of course! it was right at the end of the beach so it was a really quiet spot. The bungalow was all bamboo and thatched with no nice brick walls to keep out the creepy crawlies! You could see through the floor boards to whatever chicken, cat or dog was chilling out under it and there were gaps where the ceiling met the walls, it was definatly an experience! On our first day I was unpacking some stuff and saw a big black thing craw behind one of the beams right infront of me, needless to say I screamed like a total girl and got my knight in shining armour to come and help me shoo whatever it was out, it was a big black spikey lizard thing, big enough for me to want it the hell out of the room, a pointelss task though seeing as the whole place was pretty much open for whatever wanted to come in. The ghekkos became our friends, they make a little squeek noise and they like to chill either behind or on top of beams, the lucky thing about it all though is they are all way more scared of you and they quickly scamper off if you go near them. The bathroom had a low sloping ceiling so when Damo went for a wee his head was pretty much touching the ceiling, one day I had to very calmly tell him to hurry up and move when I saw a spider the size of my face right next to his head, ok well mayby not the size of my face but at least palm sized, there were no lights in there either so I always had a scan with the torch and you would spot the spiders right away with thier shiny eyes glearing at you...urgh makes me shiver, still not a fan!
The electricity was only on from 1800-2200, but most nights it went off from about 9ish so its just torches and about a billion stars...pretty cool, not so cool when your trying to get ready for bed, it was like camping I guess, fun for the first two nights and then your ready for the comfort of a brick building and some lights!
On the first day we both sampled all the delicious fresh fish we had been waiting for, I had grilled prawns and damo had fish and then in the evening Damo had squid and we also tried some crab. Its pretty cool placing your order and then watching a little man walk out to the sea and fetch your food from the basket, fresh as fresh gets. However, that night I was up all night with eye watering cramps, sickness and the poops....not fun at all, I spent the whole next day in bed and in the toilet, Damian bless him, I think he felt a little embarressed having to ask for toilet paper on more than one occasion on the same day! That was the start of a 5 day stretch of being ill for me. Such a total bummer, literally! I dont now if it was just being around me or the thought of maybe getting ill too but Damo was off his food too, so the fish didnt get eaten again and I spent the whole week living of chips, bread and pancakes!
I soldierd through though and the last few days were much better, just a good job our bungalow was like 5 steps from the beach so i could run back when i needed to but still get a little bit of beach time, bucket flush though...not the best. The beach was lovely, not the white sand, terquoise sea you dream of but still very beautiful. The sand was yellow and quite stoney which made the sea look alomost green in some lights, still crystal clear and so warm, like a bath, it was bliss having a swim and not having to go in inch by inch and daring yourself to go under. We both managed to get radiculously burnt yet again, we were even wearing factor 50, Damo got burnt in the shade! Not sure if its just dud suncream or its just that hot out here.
We walked around the island one day, it only took an hour and a half, we left in the morning but it was still super hot, we had asked about the path and were told it would be along both beach and through some of the jungle. Some parts were so over grown we were getting scratched to bits, Damo took lead watching out for spiders or lizards, we even saw a snake, we thought it was the tail of a lizard but no it was a little snake, heading away from us thank god. Its safe to say neither of us are jungle people, I think we will stick to the beach!
The week we spent there went so fast, and although it was a shakey start we ended up having a really lovely relaxing time, it was so quiet during the week and it was just so lovey to be living on the beach. We headed back to the mainland on the saturday morning and I think that was a good idea because we passed at least 8 boats full of people heading to the island so we were glad to be leaving before the weekend masses arrived.
Off to Vietnam tomorrow, only a short 11 hour journey to get through first! We both cant believe we have been in Cambodia for 30 days already, it has gone so so quick, we have really enjoyed our time here, the Angkor Temples were just incredible and definatley something we will never forget, and seeing the killing fields was a very touching and emotional time, and then the beaches were a much welcomed break and slow down time before the madness of Vietnam. We have already got to the half way point of the trip and we have spent two of the most incredible months together exploring some very special places, but more is yet to come, so as my momma would say 'round the bend and over the hill we must go' we have 2 more months of exploring to do and we are loving every last minute of it.
Love you all x