Kampot's Twilight Carousel
It was a balmy evening. I was tired from a full day of travel when I arrived in Kampot in southern Cambodia. Not wanting to be caught up in the frenetic energy of the streets after dark, I headed off to explore the immediate block, while the clouds gently diffused sunset.
The streets unfurled, spacious and inviting, filled with the mechanical chirps of artificial swallows. This was a clever ruse to allure swiftlets to their engineered homes above. These swiftlets weave their nests from saliva, creating a highly sought after and expensive culinary delicacy. It was some time before I discerned the shrill symphony overhead was a recording.
In this orchestrated twilight, the light took on a poetic quality, a tender confluence of the days final blush and the shy twinkling of nascent night lights. This gentle luminescence draped a veil over the harsher edges of street light, softening the starkness of poverty with its forgiving glow.
I could see what looked like a small fair nestled in a quadrant of modest night market stalls that were setting up across the street. The scent of char grilled chicken wove through the air, as smoke tendrils curled skyward. There amongst the stalls stood an old well worn timeless carousel with a fleet of pastel painted boats.
It was a quiet scene, the night market slowly picking up pace around this fixture that seemed as though it had been there forever, watched over by the steady rhythm of market life in Kampot.