Cambodia: Part Eight

Film Photos from Siem Reap Area

Prasat Ta Prohm. Olympus OM-2n with Olympus 28 mm f/3.5 on Kodak Ektar 100.
Prasat Ta Prohm. Olympus OM-2n with Olympus 28 mm f/3.5 on Kodak Ektar 100.

Making the most of the more affordable processing and scanning, I’ve managed to get another three films processed. Some of the photos from these films are scattered through this post. More detail on the photos in this sub-section can be found in my previous post from Siem Reap.

Between Prasat Bayon and Prasat Ta Prohm. Olympus OM-2n with Olympus 50 mm f/1.8 on Kodak Ektar 100.
Between Prasat Bayon and Prasat Ta Prohm. Olympus OM-2n with Olympus 28 mm f/3.5 on Kodak Ektar 100.
Apsaras. Olympus OM-2n with Olympus 28 mm f/3.5 on Kodak Ektar 100.
Apsaras. Olympus OM-2n with Olympus 28 mm f/3.5 on Kodak Ektar 100.

Kampong Chhnang

Dining, al fresco, near the river bank in Kampong Chhnang. Olympus OM-2n with Olympus 50 mm f/1.8 on Kodak BW400CN.
Dining, al fresco, near the river bank in Kampong Chhnang. Olympus OM-2n with Olympus 50 mm f/1.8 on Kodak BW400CN.

Kampong Chhnang is a town situated on the bank of a river travelling between Phnom Penh and the Tonle Sap. Along the river is a large floating settlement, which over the past four years, has grown from a scant few boat houses into a bustling village in its own right.

A tuk-tuk driver taking a respite from the scorching midday sun in Kampong Chhnang. Olympus OM-2n with Olympus 50 mm f/1.8 on Kodak BW 400 CN.
A tuk-tuk driver taking a respite from the scorching midday sun in Kampong Chhnang. Olympus OM-2n with Olympus 50 mm f/1.8 on Kodak BW 400 CN.

The riverfront has grown as a result of Vietnamese immigration to the area. There are many commonalities with the Vietnamese elements of the Tonle Sap in the architecture of the boathouses, design of the boats, and way in which the market areas overlooking the water have been constructed.

The riverfront at Kampong Chhnang. the boat is being hand-loaded with bricks delivered by a conveyor belt from the shore. Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1 with Olympus 17 mm f/2.8. 1/1600 s, f/5.6, ISO 200.
The riverfront at Kampong Chhnang. The boat is being hand-loaded with bricks delivered by a conveyor belt from the shore. Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1 with Olympus 17 mm f/2.8. 1/1600 s, f/5.6, ISO 200.

Besides the Vietnamese influence, there is a large French influence still visible (much like Battambang) in many buildings, and in the variation of petanque played on the river bank. The grandeur of these colonial buildings surveys a slum area. This may seem like a lack of progress, but if you bear in mind that many of these areas are much tidierĀ than four years ago, with more permanent and weather-impermeable housing, it is evident that progress is being made.

Children playing in the riverside market after school, Kampong Chhnang. Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1 with Olympus 17 mm f/2.8. 1/30 s, f/5.6, ISO 200.
Children playing in the riverside market after school, Kampong Chhnang. Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1 with Olympus 17 mm f/2.8. 1/30 s, f/5.6, ISO 200.

Phnom Penh (Again)

A new hotel or commercial complex (thanks, unclear signage) under construction on Monivong Boulevard, Phnom Penh. Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1 with Olympus 17 mm f/2.8. 1/800 s, f/5.6, ISO 200.
A new hotel or commercial complex (thanks, unclear signage) under construction on Monivong Boulevard, Phnom Penh. Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1 with Olympus 17 mm f/2.8. 1/800 s, f/5.6, ISO 200.

It seems all roads lead to Phnom Penh. While a smaller (and somewhat less vibrant) tourist hub than Siem Reap, as I’ve undoubtedly mentioned before, there is still much to explore, and much to soak in. The picture above shows just one of the new large property developments steaming ahead in Cambodia’s capital city. It’s as much a metaphor for economic development as it is for the dichotomy between large cities and small villages.

Phnom Penh at dusk, from the top floor of the Sorya Shopping Centre. Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1 with Olympus 17 mm f/2.8. 1/6 s, f/4, ISO 800.
Phnom Penh at dusk, from the top floor of the Sorya Shopping Centre. Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1 with Olympus 17 mm f/2.8. 1/6 s, f/4, ISO 800.
Phnom Penh at dusk, from the top floor of the Sorya Shopping Centre. The corner of the shopping centre and balustrade of the viewing platform is visible at the left of the frame. Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1 with Olympus 17 mm f/2.8. 1/8 s, f/4, ISO 800.
Phnom Penh at dusk, from the top floor of the Sorya Shopping Centre. The corner of the shopping centre and balustrade of the viewing platform is visible at the left of the frame. Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1 with Olympus 17 mm f/2.8. 1/8 s, f/4, ISO 800.

One area which has remained largely unchanged since my first visit nine years ago is the Royal Palace: the architecture and gardens are all very familiar. What is unfamiliar, however, is the amount of it which has been closed for public access: there was only around half as much viewable at close range on today’s visit, compared to what was viewable four years ago. Nevertheless, it is still a remarkable place to visit. Due to the very high fences surrounding the complex, it is markedly hotter than the riverfront it overlooks; bottled water is recommended.

Buildings at the Royal Palace. The distant spire is that of the throne hall. The building under netting and scaffolding was gifted y Napoleon to the Khmer monarch, and is currently undergoing full restoration. Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Panasonic-Leica 25 mm f/1.4. 1/400 s, f/8, ISO 200.
Buildings at the Royal Palace. The distant spire is that of the throne hall. The building under netting and scaffolding was gifted y Napoleon to the Khmer monarch, and is currently undergoing full restoration. Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Panasonic-Leica 25 mm f/1.4. 1/400 s, f/8, ISO 200.
Hor Samran Phirun in the foreground, as viewed from the Throne Hall. Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Panasonic-Leica 25 mm f/1.4. 1/640 s, f/5.6, ISO 200.
Hor Samran Phirun in the foreground, as viewed from the Throne Hall. Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Panasonic-Leica 25 mm f/1.4. 1/640 s, f/5.6, ISO 200.

I confess the gardens are one of the major reasons I like to visit. Tidily kept, they have a full range of tropical flora which interests me, and also offer some shade from that incredible heat. I’m also partial to the artwork and musical performances, which I’ve always found strangely (given that I favour sharp well proportioned photographs and rock music) alluring.

A fading painting in a walkway at the Royal Palace. Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Panasonic-Leica 25 mm f/1.4. 1/80 s, f/4, ISO 200.
A fading painting in a walkway at the Royal Palace. Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Panasonic-Leica 25 mm f/1.4. 1/80 s, f/4, ISO 200.
A scene painted in one of the museum halls of the Royal Palace. Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1 with Olympus 17 mm f/2.8. 1/15 s, f/2.8, ISO 1600.
A scene painted in one of the museum halls of the Royal Palace. Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1 with Olympus 17 mm f/2.8. 1/15 s, f/2.8, ISO 1600.
A traditional Khmer music group performs at the Royal Palace. Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Panasonic-Leica 25 mm f/1.4. 1/15 s, f/8, ISO 200.
A traditional Khmer music group performs at the Royal Palace. Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Panasonic-Leica 25 mm f/1.4. 1/15 s, f/8, ISO 200.

From Here

My next post will be featuring Koh Kong, a coastal town on the Thai border. Kohn Kong marks the end of my travelling around the country, at which point I will be based in Phnom Penh for the remainder of my trip. I have tentatively planned a few places to visitĀ , though at this stage, it seems prudent to simply let life run its course and take me where it takes me. Failing that, I will inundate you with screeds of market scenes, street scenes, and nonsensical ramblings (which I will probably blame on the heat).

 

 

 

 

 

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