Friday, December 7, 2012

In the blink of an eye

The pool and the gorgeous blue sea at Knai Bang Chatt
Two and a half hours, door to door, took me from my office to Kep's Knai Bang Chatt hotel this morning. The blue sea was calm, the sun was at its hottest and the hotel looked great, except for some green netting at the back of the property where a man with a hammer was shattering the silence. Known for its designer rustic flavour, Cambodian-style, with rooms set in art deco influenced villas, KBC is a private haven on Cambodia's south coast. However, the builder's are in, and currently adding five more rooms but have outstayed their welcome. Original deadlines have been overshot and though it's all due to end in eight days time, the waves lapping at the sea-wall are being drowned out by the carpenter's drill. Unfortunately, its an all-too-common problem, where being on time isn't the virtue it is elsewhere. I had a bite to eat at the sailing club next door, before calling in at three more hotels on my whistle-stop visit to chic Kep. There's been a mini-explosion of guesthouses and hotels as the seaside resort revisits its glory days of old, though on this particular Friday afternoon, it was all pretty quiet along the skinny strip of beach. I also popped into the villa that used to belong to the royal family, which is now a flower nursery, for a quick nose around but the rooms have been stripped bare, most of the floor tiles have disappeared and there was no way up to the roof. The road between Kep and Kompong Trach is a dust-bowl with road widening taking place, slowly of course, and after another three hours on the road, I was back in the office, answering my emails.
The pool and the green netting, hiding the building work, but not the noise

One of the most photographed of Kep's ruined villas - oft quoted as belonging to the King's mother

The rooms were bare and the only tiling remained on the stairs

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