The previous weekend was the Water Festival in Cambodia, an annual event which celebrates the moment when the Tonle Sap lake, swollen with monsoon rains, forces the flow of the Tonle River back the other way, reversing its direction. As people flooded from the provinces to celebrate this remarkable natural occurrence along the riverbank in Phnom Penh, myself and a group of friends sped the other way, towards the sea.
To avoid traffic, we left the city at 3am and, using indefatigable logic, decided not to go to bed and just party on through until the minivan arrived. My friend visiting from Ireland, Ruth, and her friend Meabh, decided to actually sleep. In hindsight, this may have been the better idea. Anyway, we arrived at the beach where we, unsurprisingly slept.
After lunch headed off to the island of Koh Rong. I’d recommended the place where we stayed, Palm Beach Bungalows, as I’d had an amazing time there over two years ago. Private beach, amazing food, beautiful waters. And nothing had changed.
Our days were spent sunbathing, reading, and playing games. The Sunday was Jordan’s birthday and our group expanded in size as the Ngin sisters, their partners and Thy’s son Jimmy joined us for the celebrations. Tash had come prepared for the evening with a barbecue, coals, a rice-cooker (literally), and food, ready for a cook-up on the beach. The walk to the local fishing village in the afternoon had failed to drum up any fish so we were left with vegetables. Fun as it was to build the mini-BBQ and grill courgettes and potato, I think the highlight dish was an amazing coleslaw Tash had prepared. Yes, she brought mayonnaise.
Because we’re cheapskates, we’d brought along our own alcohol and wiled away the warm evenings drinking on the sands. Sadly we didn’t get to swim with the phosphorescent plankton but the reason for this, the supermoon, more than made up for it.
Now we’re back in the city. My friends are back in London and Dublin and I’m back at work. Not that I’m complaining, I’m heading back to the UK in two weeks! Happy Water Festival one and all.
Here are people photos:
And here are scenery photos: