Following our exciting adventures in Myanmar, the CD and I traveled on to visit our dear friends M & P in Phnomh Phen. I had wanted for some time to visit old French colonial riviera town of Kep after hearing M’s description of it, so the day after we arrived we took a car for the 130km journey from PP. Kep is quite unlike any seaside location I have been before. Our hotel was gorgeous and could have been transported straight from Bali. A few hundred metres away was a row of crab shacks lining the shore, very similar to those at the Jimbaran fish market in south Bali (one of my favorite places on the island). We strolled down and as the sun went down we dined on excellent Cambodian seafood – with a massive amount of crab consumed inter alia. On the journey to Kep P had told us of the interesting crab fishing ladies, but there was no sight of them that night.
The following morning I wandered down at dawn, looking for sunrise shots on the coast. The place was transformed – with dozens of brightly dressed women bringing in the crab catch, carrying supplies to the fishing boats, and setting up market stalls. This was no longer a tourist haven – it was now a fully fledged commercial fishing harbour. But everyone on the quayside was a woman, and as I watched I became entranced by the dignity, beauty and elegance of these exotic and tough ladies. The photographic conditions were interesting; under the cover of the main market area the light was low, but there was high reflection off the sea. As a result the background was often bleached out, rendering the ladies in silhouetted relief. They wear a costume that is both modest and really attractive – and wade out fully clothed through the shallow waters. I’ve really never seen anything quite like it, and I went back the next day at dawn to take some more photographs. So here they are. As usual, instructions on viewing them are at the end of the post. The next post will be on the ruined French colonial villas of Kep – a mournful and evocative reminder of times past.
Cambodia - the crab ladies of Kep sur Mer
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