Thursday, January 12, 2012

Kep to Kampong Som

After a western-style breakfast at the hotel, we left Kep for Kampong Som, also known as Sihanoukville in honor of a former Cambodian king. As we left Kep, we could see the ruins of many formerly lovely villas. They were abandoned when Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge overran the country and took power in 1975. Unfortunately, most of them were never restored to their former owners and are now in a state of advanced deterioration. 

The road winds along the coast past rice fields, small villages, roadside markets and other interesting sights. Here is an example of the home of a typical Cambodian farm family. Usually the yard is full of chickens, a dog or two, cows and small children.

This small "finger" connects to the sea, allowing the villagers to take their boats out in to the Gulf of Thailand to fish, then have a safe harbor when they return.

As we continued toward Kampong Som, we stopped to watch this young woman, who was doing intricate beadwork on dresses and blouses. We were told that the dresses are made in the city, and then brought to this seamstress so the beadwork can be applied. 

You can see some of the finished garments in this case.

We also stopped to watch these villagers harvesting salt from evaporation ponds just a short distance inland.

Once in Kampong Som, we settled into our hotel, the Holiday Palace. It was right on the water, giving us a chance to do some beach combing and people watching, not to mention seeing another great sunset.

There was work being done on our hotel, and John was wowed by their construction techniques.  Here you can see the workers mixing cement one bag at a time to make the concete patio.  In the background is the welder.  Not only was his scaffolding a little inadequate...he was welding in flip-flops, without gloves or sleeves to protect him from the sparks, and with only sun glasses as eye protection.

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