After a 4 hour nap (is it still a nap if it’s 4 hours?) we headed down the road to a large open-air restaurant where we’d booked a table for the evening. Any cultural experience that can be had sitting down while eating is ok by me, so I was quite looking forward to a night of Cambodian dance and a buffet. All for the princely sum of $12. I tell you, it’s making life a lot easier now that the US and Australian dollar are pretty much equal and here in Cambodia people prefer USD over their own currency. I’m very glad I brought $1000 US in cash with us. I’d advise anyone traveling overseas to take several day’s worth of currency for every country you’re visiting. It makes the process of arriving and settling in so much easier.
The venue we chose would’ve easily seated several hundred people and was about half full. There was a huge buffet featuring everything from sushi to spaghetti and, of course, traditional Khmer food too. I was happy to heap my plate with salad for the first helping, although on reflection perhaps the possibility of food being washed in tap water is responsible for today’s upset stomach.
We had a good view of the stage and enjoyed the performances. There was an alternating mix of what I’m guessing was court dances and ‘peasant’ dances. The court dancing was of the kind that most people would’ve seen. Highly elaborate metal headresses for the women and masks for the men and very slow, graceful twisting of feet and hands. It’ll probably be more clearly explained in the vlog when Luke puts it together.
I preferred the group dances that told the stories of Cambodian farmers and fishermen and women. One of the dances showed a courting ritual. They were nicely choreographed and upbeat. The show lasted about an hour and then we went back to the hotel to dump my camera before having our first tuk tuk ride into town (only about 3 blocks). Tuk tuks here are a little trailer with seats and a roof that are towed behind a motorbike. Thank goodness the traffic is nowhere near as hairy here as being towed behind a motorcycle makes near misses seem much closer.
We headed to The Sun restaurant in town where we’d arrange to meet a fellow Aussie who happened to be in Siem Reap also. Unfortunately she didn’t show but we got to enjoy the sight and sound of the power going out across Pub Street. Sometimes just one side of the road would go black, at the other times everywhere would go out. We talked to the bar manager and he said that a while back a truck had knocked down 11 power poles leading into Siem Reap and the town had been without power for 4 or 5 days. It had been so hot he’d checked into a hotel that had a generator just to get some sleep at night.
This afternoon, my stomach willing, An is going to take us to the floating village near where he lives so we can watch the sunset on our last full day in Cambodia. Next stop: 6 days in Bangkok!