Salt and Pepper Cambodian Style and a Mean Monkey

Tuesday March 15th ~ Kampot, Cambodia

Carrying baskets heavy with salt

Carrying baskets heavy with salt

Our second day in Kampot was filled with several excursions and the opportunity to learn about both their salt and pepper industries. 

Salt Production

Fields are flooded with water with a high salt content.

Piles of salt drying in the sun

Piles of salt drying in the sun

Salt is raked into piles and allowed to dry overnight. The next morning the partially dried salt is scooped with a hoe like tool into bamboo wicker baskets.

Scooping salt into baskets

Scooping salt into baskets

When the baskets are full, a strong man (or woman) balances the two baskets on a long pole and carries the salt into a holding barn for the salt to dry further.

Taking baskets to storage shed

Taking baskets to storage shed

We checked out just how heavy the full baskets were and estimated around 80 pounds per load (with two baskets).

Basket full of salt

Basket full of salt

Inside the salt storage barn

Inside the salt storage barn

A drive further into the countryside brought us to our next stop. After a climb up over 200 steps we reached a platform that afforded us a wonderful view of garden plots.

Healthy gardens with a variety of plants

Healthy gardens with a variety of plants

But seeing gardens was not the goal here. We were checking out a cave system that included a temple inside.

Some of the more adventurous members (read as younger and more fit if you please), chose to go deeper into the cave system to visit the bat cave and exit a different way. Tim and I, along with several others, retraced out steps to meet the rest of the group below. What we had not expected was to be confronted with some very aggressive monkeys.

This was one mean and aggressive monkey!

This was one mean and aggressive monkey!

The largest male was blocking our path, jumping from one side of the steps to the other, growling and baring his teeth. I had never witnessed such behavior in monkeys, and was frankly a little intimidated at first. Finally we simply gathered our courage, shouted at them and walked past. Oh, yeah, Tim was brandishing a water bottle to protect us ladies if needed 🙂

I have had wild monkeys climb onto my back or even sit on my lap and been perfectly comfortable, but this guy was simply not friendly!

The rest of our group finally made their way back to the bottom, and as they emerged, we heard laughter and stories of slippery trails, but also a fun time.

Our selfie queen, Jen, capturing the exit.

Our selfie queen, Jen, capturing the exit.

OK, we have learned about salt production here, but how about the pepper? Kampot pepper is highly regarded as some of the best in the world.

Pepper corns are grown on tall, slender trees (or bushes) and can produce for up to 20 years, however the prime crop is when the plant is about 14 years old.

Pepper corns are grown on tall, slender trees (or bushes) and can produce for up to 20 years, however the prime crop is when the plant is about 14 years old.

Peppercorns on the tree

Peppercorns on the tree

There are three different colors of peppercorns sold here, but they are all from the same plant.

Green pepercorns and a few turning red

Green peppercorns and a few turning red

The green peppercorns when dried will turn black and are the most common. If allowed to ripen further, they turn red. The red peppercorns can either be sold as red, or have their outer husk removed, and are then sold as white peppers.

The pepper industry here is very labor intensive as everything is done by hand, from the harvest to sorting. The picked peppercorns color sorted individually by hand and then dried in the sun.

Sorting the peppercorns by hand by color.

Sorting the peppercorns by hand by color.

Drying the peppercorns in the sunshine

Drying the peppercorns in the sunshine

They are then packaged and sold around the world.

Red and white peppercorns

Red and white peppercorns

The local crab and peppercorn dish is quite well-known and not to be missed if you come to Kampot. We were served a wonderful meal at the pepper farm, in fact one of the best on the entire trip. I chose a mixed vegetable combination that included red rice.

Fabulous meal at the Kampot pepper farm

Fabulous meal at the Kampot pepper farm

Just as we were leaving our guide offered us a taste of lotus seeds. I really enjoyed the fresh nutty flavor and hope to get more somewhere along this journey.

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“Raw lotus seeds are low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, and are a good source of protein, thiamine, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese.” ~ Wikipedia

By now it was early afternoon and our bus arrived at the seashore where we enjoyed a couple of hours at the beach in the sleepy village of Kep.

Waterfront of Kep with lady statue

Waterfront of Kep with lady statue

Tim found a "sea horse" at waters edge, covered in sand.

Tim found a “sea-horse” at water’s edge, covered in sand.

After a rinse in the ocean the stuffed horse was adopted by Ethne, and renamed Kep to commemorate the day. I think “Kep” will have a good home and will continue to travel the world, much as Gus has with us…

Ethne and Kep

Ethne and Kep

Besides swimming, our time was spent either participating in or watching hilarious pictures being cleverly created using the panorama setting on the camera. I am going to have to have a go at this at some point, but on this day, it was simply hilarious watching the “youngsters” playing.

Having fun making creative pictures together

Jen, David, Jenny and Agata, having fun making creative pictures together

Got a kick out of Colin's shirt...

Got a kick out of Colin’s shirt…

And our day was STILL not over.

Returning to our hotel, Natural Bungalows, and a short rest, we loaded onto a boat for an evening sunset cruise on the Kampot River.

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And the end of a long, but very enjoyable day!

Sunset on the Kampot River

Sunset on the Kampot River

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for learning how salt and pepper is cultivated here in Cambodia, as well as sharing laughter and special fun moments with a delightful group of people who I am getting to know better each day.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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12 Responses to Salt and Pepper Cambodian Style and a Mean Monkey

  1. Merrill says:

    Your photos are beautiful and really capture the salt and pepper production. We’ve had clumps of fresh green peppers in some dishes here in Thailand. Wow! What flavor! I didn’t know that about the white pepper. Thanks for sharing.nit looks like it was a wonderful day. Just curious… Is your Gate One Tour Guide a local Cambodian?

    Like

  2. Beautiful post… Enjoyed your write up and beautiful images 🙂

    Thank you so much for sharing and have a beautiful day 🙂

    Like

  3. leahlarkin says:

    Fabulous photos.,

    Like

  4. Enjoyed your photos and your life filled with adventure.

    Like

  5. What a fun-filled day! I am so happy you are having such a wonderful journey! Keep it up! 👍😀

    Like

  6. Alice Gratias says:

    Love your Blogs. So glad you are haviing such a great adventure.

    Like

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