Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Kep (Pronounced like: 'Skype' with a 'K')

This is the last day of the year!

It can't get any more laid-back and quiet than here!

Kep, founded by the French as the future 'St. Tropez of South-East Asia', Kep-Sur-Mer, only better, bigger and more beautiful, is today a calm, relaxed and lovely town, spread out far along the beautiful coast, its landscape dotted by the ruins of grand French-colonial built mansions. It is close to the border to Vietnam, some 15 km away.

The natural beauty of the locale is stunning,

I am, however, also drawn here by the French developments, the ruins of the former French seaside extravaganza, shelled, bombed, and riddles by machine gun fire under the Khmer Rouge rule. The large French master-planned town could never develop into the luxurious resort is was meant to be. After the heydays of independence the French left in the early 1960s, The Khmer Rouge destroyed the little building and development which had occurred til then.

Cryptic graffiti

I went to see one of the very few almost finished mansions, probably the biggest and most splendid one, directly adjacent of the beach and on the main road. It is largely empty, some squatters occupy parts of the grand house; some of the folks who live here must be paid by somebody to take care of the beautiful large well-maintained grounds.

A fabulous mansion.

Is there food in Kep-Sur-Mer? Oh, yes, and delicious food too.

The pepper vendor lady.

My grilled shrimp with Kampot pepper sauce. Yum!

My tuktuk driver; he was selected because of his taste of clothing.

Wide, French master-planned avenues along the beach, almost empty.

Along the coast is the Kep seafood market where some twenty shacks offer the freshest and most amazing seafood; crab is king here, but everything else is available too. Preparations are typically steamed, or grilled, mostly served with Kampot pepper sauce and rice. Very good.

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