It’s been a wonderful and relaxing time here and we’re sadly leaving today. We had our last hurrah yesterday when we hiked up a mountain in a nearby national park, to see an old dilapidated French colonial site called the Bokor Hill Station. The best part was the hike up through the jungle. I would have prefered to do it with fewer people and have the opportunity to stop and look more… but at least now I’ve discovered a hidden love of hiking I never knew I had! When we got to the top, two Danish girls who were (stupidly) hiking in shorts and sandals found leeches on their feet and freaked out. It was very entertaining for me though…!
The Bokor Hill Station itself is an old hotel and casino complex at the top of the mountain, built by the French in the 1920s. The architecture is fairly simple and shows early signs of modernism. The main building, which was the casino, is huge and quite awe-inspiring. It has a strange orange moss growing all over it, which gives it an otherworldly appearance. To top it off the clouds hang low over this spot and the fog envelops you every so often, to the point where you can only see a few feet away from yourself. We spent a few hours at the top before hiking back down again.
The tour ended with a lovely boat ride down the river, and we all got off on a litle beach. Some of the group started playing cricket with a coconut and a piece of driftwood. We stood around cooling our feet and getting to know each other – there were people from all over the world in our group and we got to talking with a French couple and an Israeli woman. That may be my favourite part of traveling: meeting other travelers. They have such great stories and everyone is so open. I know I will miss that when I am staring at the blank faces of the other commuters sitting across from me on the London tube.