Friday, October 3, 2008

Faded elegance

Faded elegance and an illustrated stone balcony in the old French quarter of Kompong Cham
Today Kompong Cham is a ghost of its once cosmopolitan, vibrant self back in the 1930s and 1940s, when it served as a thriving river port on the mighty Mekong River that supported the sprawling rubber plantations nearby and boasted a wealth of French colonial buildings in grid formation around the central market, though most are now in a state of semi-neglect. A lick of paint and a hinge or two to repair the faded wooden shutters would transform the city centre, though I doubt it will happen soon. One or two of the colonial relics have been touched up but precious few have received the required loving care and attention. The guard-tower on the far bank of the river has been restored and painted mauve and white but the furnace is no longer set alight to warn the town that invaders are on their way. On a stroll around the city centre I snapped away at some of the French colonial-style buildings and post some of the first-floor views here for your delectation. I tried to find out more about the buildings of Kompong Cham but without success. Perhaps one of my readers can lift the veil on the colonial history of Kompong Cham.
Decorated arches lend a certain charm to these 1st-floor balconied apartments
This row of shop-houses faces onto a row of fruit-shake stalls that do brisk business every evening
A touch of paint has brightened up and enhanced the building on the left
These shuttered windows, without a balcony, look out onto the central market
More faded colonial elegance near the central market
A gorgeous portico balcony with supporting columns opposite the central market
Wall decoration adds a touch of style to this 1st-floor apartment


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