The French certainly know how to layout towns

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December 5th 2006
Published: November 15th 2009
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We had a lovely stay in Kampot over the past couple of days. This gem is on the coast of Cambodia and it has heaps of character with all of its old colonial buildings and river setting. After seeing what the French had done with Saigon, Phnom Penh, and Kampot, I must give them credit for laying out their towns and cities well. Big parks, big boulevards, and big roundabouts are all characteristic of French urban design from a century ago. This place, though, has so much potential. It reminds me of Antigua, Guatemala and Colina, Uruguay. The difference here, though, is that the redevelopment has just begun. The town will need some strict development bylaws to ensure it is redeveloped properly. Perhaps the UN can help out. If Cambodia was closer to North America, I would be very interested in purchasing some land in this country. I just see such huge potential -- as long as the political situation remains calm.

Typhoon Durian came and went through our area without too much fuss. Other than some strong winds and heavy rain over a two hour period, we were spared the worst of the storm. Before the storm did hit, though, we did get a chance to head out to Kep, which is an old beach town that was big with the French and then with the Cambodians before the civil war. Today, it looks more like a ghost town, but because it was originally designed by the French, the layout of the area is well suited for future development. I tried going for a swim, but I ended up cutting my hand and foot on the sharp rocks. After that, Shauna told me that was it for swimming for the day :-(

We had some great Sri Lanka food here in Kampot. Some of my best ethnic dining experiences I have had have been in the most obscure places around the world. I remember a Chinese restaurant in Bombay that still rates as some of the best Chinese food I have ever tasted.

Because we cycled down to Kampot from Phnom Penh, we will be taking a bus back to Phnom Penh tomorrow before heading to Siem Reap and the Angkor Temples.

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