A spot of culture

Whilst I was busy getting lost the other day, I happened upon a shadow puppet show being put on in the grounds of a local restaurant by some students.

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They had written the show themselves, and were performing it to raise money for their school.

In a more conscious effort to learn more about the local culture, I went to the Cambodian Cultural Village, which turned out to be a cross between Legoland and Disneyland.  There are small villages in a variety of styles typical of the  different regions of the country, and a series of  cultural shows to watch throughout the day.

We saw a traditional wedding ceremony, where the bride looked less than thrilled with the choice of groom.

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Followed by some well-toned and half-naked young men playing the Khmer drums.

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We made sure we got a front seat for this show.

The grand finale is a tableau showing the battles of one of the most famous kings, with a backdrop of Angkor Wat which is dramatically revealed halfway through the show – although we did have a bit of an idea what was hidden behind the huge curtain.

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The judgement tunnel featured a series of punishments, some of which I heartily agreed with –

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– and others I wasn’t so sure about.

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I managed to gatecrash an Apsara dance performance in a local hotel – cheaper than a visit to the Apsara dance theatre.

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This is the golden mermaid dance.

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And these are the fisherfolk, skipping about merrily with their fishing baskets.

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Then the beautiful royal dancers.

I foolishly agreed to have my photo taken with them at the end –

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– and if you’ve ever heard Joyce Grenfell’s sketch about Lumpy Latimer, you’ll know exactly how I felt.

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