18th May 2004.

Kep was built as a colonial retreat for the French in the early 1900's. It consists of 6km's of beaches where lots of abandoned buildings serve as a reminder of the destruction of the civil war. We were expecting a beautiful strip of beach. 

It is not the most stunning of beaches, and you will not find jet skis, or sunbathers, just rubber rings and fully dressed local girls swimming.

This is one of Prince Sihanouk's dwellings.

It is now abandoned and riddled with bullets as a number of Khmer Rouge died inside when the Vietnamese can to "liberate" the Cambodian people in the late 70's.

Our guide fought in the war and was a little shy when probed for his "Kill Count". It seems he was a Cambodian who fled to Vietnam and returned as a Vietnamese soldier. He was a very funny guy who seemed to think beer was good for his heat.

Kep hasn't had much money pumped into it, this sign summed up the love and attention around the place....

This shot was taken outside the old King Sihanouk's palace that sits up on a hill over looking Kep. Her family now look after the palace with their rather noisy dog.

On our day around Kep, we were taken to a pepper plantation where we got to see how peppercorns are grown. They grow on these big green bushes and every table in Paris once had the sought after Kep black pepper.

It was a very interesting drive out there, we passed other killing fields where our guide reinacted his time as a soldier fighting the Khmer rouge.  He also showed us where a train was ambushed with three western tourists who were killed in July 1994.  It did make us feel slightly vulnerable as our driver told us that only one person is in jail for the crime and the others roam free. We were driving in Khmer Rouge territory and surrounded by families who could have been responsible for such killings.... Apparently they like tourists now and aren't so keen on the finer pastimes of genocide and torture.

Our next stop was to visit a small monastery and a cave.  These cheeky boys took Jason to look for bats.  They were so smiley and excited... making it quite clear the service was not free but neither naming a price (they are obviously aspiring to a career in Cambodian politics.)

Hundreds of bats live in the cave.  Claire hates bats and can't even look at some of the photos Jason took where all you can see are red eyes in the dark.

As Jason would shine the torch on the bats they would fly off past his head and freak him out. The wingspan is around 8 inches so they ain't small.

These woman have had a bad headache for a while, and have to keep visiting this monk for healing purposes. Claire thinks she might need to visit him if she lived in Kep as the monk is a bit of a looker.

Those dashing cheek bones and that seren kind of presence lead us to suspect the girls are merely suffering from love- sickness... none the less he seems to be engaging in some sort of exorcisms style ritual as the headaches are thought to be caused by bad spirits posessing the girls.

Back to Kampot for dinner.

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