Caritas Cambodia Retreat 2024 / Day 4b

After lunch, we started the roundabout return journey to Sihanoukville with a first stop at a huge statue of a man and a woman celebrating a marriage famous in Khmer mythology.
Not far from the statue is this bay which is the home of the Ream Naval Base, a military facility recently renovated by the Chinese. Western countries, particularly the United States, have expressed concern that the base is to be China’s outpost in the Gulf of Thailand to bolster their power and presence in the South China Sea. China denies any special role for China but the renovations created berths that accommodate aircraft carriers–and Cambodia doesn’t have an aircraft carrier.

Cambodian social media is also up in arms because the government is filling in the bay for development purposes and has despoiled the mountain hilltops on both sides of the bay, destroying the forest cover to get stone for the renovation.
Farther along the highway is this famous tree which has been left in the middle of a rebuilt highway. It is on a hilltop overlooking the sea and is known in popular lore as the place where wives and lovers waited for their seamen to return.