This was my first stop. It’s only about 100 metres from the entrance to the Sokha Resort. They’re building a fairly large structure directly behind me on the other side of the road. This area has been like this since I came here 10 years ago.
I had to go a little out of my way to take this shot. It’s a back road to Wat Krom. I didn’t go far up the road today, but I know there’s a village at the bottom of the hill below Wat Krom. Granted, there was a lot of trash at the entrance, but it petered out the further up the road I rode.
Then I turned around and looked for another dirt road I’ve ridden up before. It was a little hard to find because they’ve widened the road between Ekareach Street and Independence Beach, but I found it after riding slowly down the road. I was pleased to see it remains unchanged. A couple of men were fishing and I noticed lotus stems in the water. The lotuses weren’t in bloom, but it was nice to see them anyway.
This photo should be recognisable to anyone who has taken the beach road from Independence Beach to the Hill. It’s a beautiful stretch of road. Traffic slows down appreciably when you get to the monkeys, who own the road and attract visitors every day. This used to be Sihanoukville’s water source, but we get it from further away now. The city is too big for this reservoir now.
My final stop was Wat Krom. I wanted to take a more panoramic picture. From Wat Krom you look down on much of Sihanoukville. Notice how much greenery there is beyond the trees and palms in the foreground.
You might be wondering why I took these photos. It’s because it dawned on me one day that in spite of the growth, there are still a lot of green spaces in Sihanoukville. They’re not parks, either. You might find a narrow dirt road or motorbike track running through some of them and will surely find some little timber shacks. Fortunately, people are free to live in these areas. No one bothers them or asks them to pay rent. Many work in Sihanoukville and their children go to school. Thankfully, they don’t have to pay rent, so they can use their earnings to feed their family and send their kids to school.
Cambodia isn’t perfect. Some people are doing well and others barely make enough to feed their families. Fortunately, those who make small wages can find a way to survive without paying rent. All they need is timber to build a small home and a tin roof to keep the rain out. They cook outdoors on charcoal ovens. It’s amazing how far $150 a month can go if you don’t have to pay rent or electricity. It would seem harsh for us Westerners, but many Cambodians are comfortable living as they lived in villages.