Leaving Koh Rong, I decided to book a minibus (more of a minivan) from Sihanoukville to Kampot because apparently Kampot has good pepper (yes, I went to a town based on it’s reputation for pepper). The minivan was ghetto as shit. I was literally sitting between an Australian guy’s legs. And how many tourists can you fit in a minivan, you ask? 13. You can fit 13 tourists in a minivan.
I met the tuk tuk driver in question (I think his name was Siray…but we’ll refer to him as Mr. Tuk Tuk) the moment our van pulled into Kampot. There he was, face pressed against the van window, pointing at me and smiling (oh god…he’d chosen me). Once a tuk tuk driver has chosen you, it’s actually fairly difficult to shake them. They latch on. So off I went with Mr. Tuk Tuk to my hotel.
The man had character from the get go. We traded sunglasses, he cracked jokes, we had a life chat and he invited me to go drinking with him that night (I declined). Then we went our separate ways.
Yet I kept running into him everywhere. Evening stroll along the river? He’s there. Grabbing a bite to eat? He’s around the corner. Coming out of the tour operator office? This was his chance to woo me into hiring him! But I really didn’t wannnnnt a tuk tuk driver, so after a good 20 minutes of negotiating a price for a tour I didn’t want, I left.
The next day I had plans to scooter up to Bokor Hill with a couple girls from the hostel. These plans changed when, as I ate my breakfast, a man with oozing wounds sat across from me. You see a lot of bandaged tourists in Asia (scooter accidents) but this guy’s were cringe-worthy. There was absolutely no way I was going to spend the day driving a scooter after seeing the horror that was this dude’s shoulder.
So off I went to find Mr. Tuk Tuk; I would do a tour after all. It took about 5 minutes of walking through town to find him (like I said, the man is everywhere) and he was, of course, overjoyed to take me around. He ditched the tuk tuk, opting for a motor bike instead, and off we went.
It really was quite a lovely tour. We went up Bokor Hill, drove through the countryside, saw some rice fields, went caving, saw a temple, went to a pepper plantation and ended at a lake.
Here’s a photo of Mr. Tuk Tuk, in happier times.
It was about halfway through that Mr. Tuk Tuk started to get creepy (sigh). While huddled in an abandoned house with a bunch of locals waiting for a rain storm to end, he told me I was “sexy lady” when wet. Arriving to the caves, he started referring to me as “my love” and “darling.” At the pepper plantation he tried to clean (yes, clean) and tickle me.
By the time we were at the lake we were on a full-fledged date. He’d bought me some sort of sugar cane beverage and we were sitting side by side in hammocks, admiring the lake view, eating the papaya he had just picked. How romantic.
I quickly tired of his endless compliments and wandering hands and convinced him to take me back to town (this actually took a fair amount of effort…he wanted us to eat noodle soup together and play billiards and live happily ever after in Cambodian matrimony).
And that, my friends, was my tour of Kampot that was really just a date I had to pay for.