The last few days in Kep have been exactly how I imagined living in Cambodia would be. We get up as early as ever because the light pours into the single open plan room in which we live. It is the early morning and late afternoon hours that are the most agreeable so we plan to continue this practice even though I have never been a morning person. A stunning sunrise sometimes greets us and the doors are flung open to match the windows left open all night. No air-con is required as breezes and sometimes much stronger winds blow through the whole place, directly off the rice paddies, which surround it on three sides, while we consume a simple breakfast of yoghurt and fruit with coffee.
The mesmerizing rice paddy views are an ever present and calming reminder to live mindfully.
Next we either walk or ride to the market early in the day before the sun gets too searingly hot. Actually we mostly ride as once the sun comes out it is too easy to overheat. Funny how walking 10 kilometres a days was the minimum in Bhutan but now riding is way better than walking in terms of time spent exposed to the sun and the cooling effect the movement creates. Some days I'm shocked to see I have walked less than one kilometre, but I digress.
By mid morning we are home in our bamboo haven reading, writing or cooking up some treat. Currently we are revelling in having our very own kitchen again after almost six months of travelling and only occasionally being able to avail of other people’s. It's hard not to feel guilty about simply relaxing in the middle of the day but we are becoming ever more accustomed to allowing the weather or our own preferences to dictate our activities. Over the past few days we have both taken to not wearing our watches.
In addition to the generous offer of allowing us the privilege of inhabiting this eco-friendly, low impact abode Madame also offered us the use of the pool in her own luxury beachside home along the coast. This has been a real boon and we have already cycled the seven and a half kilometres to her substantial family residence in the late afternoon a few times and certainly intend to do so every second day or so.
As I had hoped our quiet peaceful days are spent creating simple fresh fare and engaging in a healthy exercise routine of walking, cycling and swimming. Ian has dubbed this the “Keptathlon”. Continuing the mindfulness and meditation practice I recently began in earnest has also become a priority. There is now time for the pastimes we have always enjoyed. We are getting to know a few locals and even hosted a lunch for the lovely young couple, who showed us around the various houses available for rent in the area. We have barely scratched the surface of exploring the local surroundings or the possibility of volunteering locally but that will come in the fullness of time and when we are securely entrenched with our one-year visas in hand.
After just over a week in Kep we truly feel we have landed on our feet and it's all going to be alright.