I don’t like scary things. I watched The Mummy when I was a kid and didn’t sleep for a week. Even as an adult, I get nightmares way too often. Just recently, whilst staying at the awesome Tiny Tiger Hostel in Da Lat, Vietnam, I dreamt that a guy leaned over my bed and silently screamed at me, whilst I was physically unable to move in some weird half awake half asleep paralysis. I spent the rest of the night very much not sleeping but quivering, texting my mum (I’m not ashamed) for comfort whilst the rest of the dorm slept blissfully. Not. Fun.
When in Cambodia – Kampot to be exact – one of the main ‘things to do’ is go up Bokor Mountain and visit its many abandoned establishments. I’d seen pictures, it looked awesome. I was in, although sceptical. Abandoned casino is one thing, but abandoned church? Now that just sounds creepy.
Now, Although in my last post, I stated that I can infact ride a bicycle now, I am in no way ready to add an engine to this talent. With my friends all hiring their scooters of choice (and none of them wanting to take me on the back, a respectful decision) I hired a lovely local tuktuk driver to pop me on the back of his bike, and off we went.
The drive is truly sensational. Winding mountain roads that snake around lush greenery like the wind carries leaves around Hyde Park. But the higher up we went, the weirder things got.
The air was still, and we stopped off to grab some lunch in what can only be described as an inactive concert venue, where a lovely lady took my money for vegetable rice with one eye on me and one eye off to my left (no judgements here, just adds to the overall strange). People just sort of, wandered around, zombie like in some hushed secret. Where am I?
On the rest of the drive up, I promise you, I witnessed the following;
A three legged crazed dog growling at the side of the road.
A giant hotel resort that apparently only has around 10 guests at a time, nestled in the middle of nowhere, only a lone bell boy dressed ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ style carrying a cake box.
Buildings left only as foundations, rotting away into the surroundings, amidst a slight haze.
And no other people. It was like we’d driven through a vortex into nowhere.
The casino itself was insane. Grand and dominating in its stance, at the top of the hill with breathtaking views of normal life below. Its walls are stained in flecked orange paint and grey stone, and theres not a furnishing inside. Wandering around, our group separated, leaving me alone, walking up a narrow spiral stone staircase. Imagination overdrive.
Next minute, “Oooooooooh…..” comes bouncing off the walls and I’m thinking, that’s it, zombie apocalypse is happening and I wish I’d sat and watched the countless zombie movies and tv shows that my mum and stepdad constantly watch at home because what the hell would I do. Go for the brain, right?
Contradicted in fear and stupidity at my nonsense, I turned a corner to find my driver, tucked in an alcove ready to jump out at me. Come on man, I’d rather not pee my pants, thanks.
And the church? Okay, creepy level upped to 1,000,000. The outdoor toilet door swung with a creek on its hinges as we arrived, like, straight out of every horror movie ever, and we went in.
Its walls are smothered in graffiti with things like “Watch around you”. You know, just as a friendly reminder. There’s broken stained glass windows on the floor, and uncared for statues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph gathering dust with those statue eyes that follow you no matter where you stand, and an open bible on the alter with the pages open and crumpled into a beautifully lost mess.
Everyone’s wandering around like, ‘wow this is amazing’, and I’m there like, ‘yea it really is! But where the f is Joseph’s face?!’