Saturday, 14 January 2012

Day 3 in Sihanoukville 14th January 2012

The port, the old railway and old stinky...

Studying the map over breakfast an agenda takes shape. I'm going to investigate the port area of town. The map shows a railway line so there might be something of interest to photograph, also there appears to be some indication of a beach just prior to the port, so this might be worth a look and it's in a different direction to previous treks.

On to the main road this time, down the hill towards the bright blue sea and some quite smart, expensive looking hotels ahead and a casino on the left. Surprisingly, very few vehicles around and just not that many people either, tourists or locals. On the way down however, a chance to snap some local life and a banana plant in flower. Across the road, the same road that turns into a boulevard further up, and onto the Beach. It's a very narrow strip of sand, sadly littered with garbage and various bits of indescribable trash. A bit smelly too, with some dubious looking liquid discharge in several places. An odd place to plonk a smart resort type hotel then. Walking through the hotel grounds and restaurant terrace, again there is a distinct lack people - more waiters and waitresses than customers, and this is the weekend when Phnom Penh empties and Sihanoukville fills up, if research is to be believed.

Moving on then, towards the main port. Not much to see actually since the view is obscured with warehouses. Joe public is not allowed to enter as is indicated with a sideways nod from the guard on the gate, although I'm sure a little financial persuasion might have done the trick. Not risking a trip to jail for the sake of a photo, so following the boundary path, really just to see whats around the corner. It's evident to any visitor that this once might have been a thriving area, but now old market stalls lay dilapidated with piles of garbage strewn along the port wall, along with the inevitable army of flies and the whiff of an old rotting fish. In between all of this, a makeshift cafe, for local dockers probably - I don't see any other tourists around.

Just around the corner lies the railway line as indicated by the map. It's coming from the port and follows the main road, or it used to. Just beyond an old lever mechanism, the tracks have been removed and the reason why is plain to see I guess. About 50 or so trucks line the road, queueing in the hope of getting a container to transport, sometime soon, today perhaps tomorrow!

Across the road and back towards base there are shops - snacks and drinks mostly. Numerous cafes facing the dock gates, but there are again hoards of flies. Open drains and garbage, and it's quite stinky here too! Obviously an area reserved for locals and dock workers who may be immune to such surroundings. This clearly is not the touristed part of town, but part of Sihanoukville life all the same. To early yet for base camp, so it's off to the beach and a chance to checkout the beach huts and bars between the Port and Victory. It's expensive, compared to up the hill and I can ascertain there is a heavy Russian influence. The menus are in Russian and some of the staff are of the Russian variety too, not to mention the cocktails available! Maybe another time.

419 photos here..

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