Trip Start Jan 10, 2010
26Trip End Apr 16, 2010
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Where I stayed
Left early in the morning in a jeep with a guide and four other people towards the base of the hill which we will climb for 3 hours
Long time ago, last century, Bokor Hill Station was a resort for the French and the Cambodian elite, a place where the privileged could escape the torrid Cambodian summer, retiring in the cool, misty hills above the sea and spend the time socializing at the "Casino" and praying for luck at roulette in the Catholic church near by. The loss of the colony, the Khmer Rouge and the civil war transformed the resort into ruins that are slowly but surely eaten up by the jungle. It is a weird feeling getting up there and walking inside of the huge "Casino" now completely dilapidated imagining the evening gowns and the tuxedos, the champagne glasses... the glitz ... a lost world... There's the church where some birds took residence and are scaring the crap out of the occasional tourist that walks in unaware, there's also a humongous concrete water tower that looks like an UFO and strikes a strange cord with the rest of the place
Efforts are being made now by the private company that controls the area to enlarge the road up to the plateau and there is actually a huge construction site, away from the ghost town where a huge hotel is being built... A new life might flow through the veins of this god forgotten place after all, is it good? Is it bad? Is the new forming Cambodian elite going to retreat in the mountains as their predecessors? How good, or bad will it be for the people of Kampot? Time will tell I guess.
Needless to say the hike down was great, much easier than the way up, duh! There was a lot of laughter and chatting and good time and the night ended fantastic with a nice dinner and amazing company. During dinner I had the feeling that I understand the music, the words, it was something familiar yet very strange... unexpected in that space and time... it was Romanian Gypsy music... in Kampot? Cambodia? yup! there was a compilation that some french tourist gave it to the bar tender and he liked it and played it that night... who would have thought?!