Having survived Elephant Boot Camp, with nothing worse than bumps, bruises and one slightly bent nose, we find ourselves back in Sen Monorom, happily ensconced in jolly little cabins at The Nature Lodge.
My cabin even had this beautiful, roofless mini rainforest bathroom.
You know why I just loved this place ?
'Cause it's a Bar....
and it's in a TREEHOUSE!!
And it has Hammocks !
AND it's in a TREEHOUSE !!
The cabins are spread over a few acres and are, with obviously great forethought & planning, separated by 50 metres or so, presumably to lessen the possibility of happy holidaymakers disturbing each other..
Hmmm, nice theory, but with absolutely no background noise, except for the odd mooing cow, noise travels REALLY well over 'gently rolling hills', but more about that later...
Before we got too comfortable, and lazy, to move again, we headed out for a wee tour of the district starting with Bou Sra Waterfalls.
Bou Sra is a 3-step waterfall, about 40kms NE of Sen Monorom, although only the first 2 stages can be seen as the final stage is in thick jungle with no access paths and, apparently, 'dangerous wildlife'..
Nevertheless, the first 2 stages are fairly impressive.
Stage 1 is about 10 metres high & 12 -15 metres across, depending on the season.
Then there's about 150 metres to the 2nd stage which is about twice as high and from 13 -20 metres wide, once again, depending on the season.
It's also the biggest waterfall in Cambodia
It's a really long drop over the edge, shame we couldn't see the final stage..
After the Falls we stopped at a 'Swimming Hole' on a river that runs behind the Pnong village of Krong Te, 28kms from Sen Monorom.
A very pretty spot where Tara took more beautiful shots - this time of butterflies and brightly coloured dragonflies,
and the rest of us just relaxed...
By this time, we were starting to feel the need for another caffeine charge.
Well some of us were... ok, ME..I was feeling the need for more caffeine so we headed back along the dusty, red dirt road to a coffee plantation we'd passed on the way out that looked pretty damned impressive.
Lovely little restaurant on the banks of the dam.
And a bloody great slippery dip through the trees and into the dam!
No end of surprises in this country..
I'm guessing this convoluted construction has something to do with irrigation for the plantation, but I'd need to consult an engineer to verify that....
Great name for a 'CAFFEE' plantation, I thought..
Interesting dishes on the menu...
A couple of strong caffees later and we were on our way to the last stop on our little scenic tour.
Samol Chet - A lookout over the "Sea Forest"
360° view of Jungle-covered mountains.
The booze-bag was still pretty heavy and we all felt the weight of responsibly to lighten the load...
And there was an awesome Full Moon:
courtesy of Tara...again (the photo that is, not the moon..)
Great company, great music (thanx Stevi), Pringles, a tasty French Bordeaux & Absinthe, which definitely does make the heart grow fonder - I luv you guys..
So the girls poured me into my cabin sometime in the wee small hours. I know this 'cause that's where I woke up, a few hours later, to the soft sounds of ponies munching grass beneath my window, a splendid sunrise, somewhat cranky neighbours (oops..) and several new bruises..bumping into walls perhaps ??
A day of food, coffee, hammocks, music, books, Baileys & Jameson. The only thing that could have made this day any better would have been hugs from my 3 greatest creations, as it was, it made a near-perfect start to my 56th year..
Another spectacular sunset to wind up the day.
Looks so serene, no idea the night would bring a howling wind that actually shook the whole cabin and sounded like it was preparing to lift off the roof.
The cabins are built, to typical Cambodian standard, from planks of timber, raised a metre off the ground, with sizeable gaps between the boards. As Tara so aptly pointed out: "when it's windy outside, it's windy inside."
Showering in my roofless bathroom oasis wasn't quite as enjoyable.. in a mini hurricane!
Which brings us to Monday 31st December. Back in the mini bus for the trip back to Phnom Penh and New Years Eve..