On the edge of the horizon I can see light peaking over the massive sand plateau. The plateau isn’t natural, it isn’t a tourist attraction, it’s the former Bong Kak lake in Phnom Penh. A few months ago the government seized the lake, forcefully evicted those who lived and worked around the like and started filling it with sand. They filled the lake with sand without removing the water, the water rose and the houses near the lake, those not forced to surrender their house, were flooded for several months.
These days the sand towers 4-6 meters over the only lake, putting me well above most of the one and two story buildings that surround the lake. It’s a strange place to visit, endless sand in the heart of a city. In the day kids play volley ball and soccer, at night it’s quite and desolate, sometimes there are bonfires. I sometimes go to this alien land. It’s simple; I just go to lake side and take any of the side roads. All of them lead to the sand plateau. I have to cross a small plank over a sewage filled stream to get to the roots of the plateau; from there I climb up the sandy banks. Then I stand on an alien surface of fine sand and silt; sprawling several square kilometers. Endless sand is below me and a vast darkness spotted with stars above me. So alien. So sad. So beautiful.