Saturday, December 8, 2012

2012, Day 342 - Glory restored

One of the many amazing things that I did on my recent trip to Cambodia was visit Preah Monivong National Park where the old site of Bokor Hill Station is located.  Built as a resort town beginning in 1921 by the French to escape the heat and humidity the centerpiece was the Bokor Palace Hotel.  More recently the Khmer Rouge used the hotel as a stronghold when fighting the Vietnamese and because of the prolonged conflict, occupation, and subsequent abandonment the building has fallen into disrepair.

More recently the site of the old Bokor Hill Station has been under development.  A new hotel and casino are being built with a planned opening in the spring of 2013.  Sadly it looks like a monstrosity, it lacks style and elegance.  The Bokor Palace is not being ignored.  We were able to wander the site and while it is under construction it is still early days.  Bullet holes and broken sections of the exterior wall have been repaired and some work has been carried out on the interior but there is much left to do.  In another year I suspect it won't be open to the wanderings of curious tourists.  Although it is a skeleton now its current state speaks to its history and I find it hard to believe that the restoration will truly do justice to the original majesty of the hotel when the French reigned in Cambodia.  It is history before our eyes and soon it will be whitewashed and the importance of the Bokor will be harder to appreciate.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f8, HDR of 1/20, 1/10, 1/5, 0.4, and 0.8 sec @ 100 ISO

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