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.
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.
Followed by some well-toned and half-naked young men playing the Khmer drums.
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.
The judgement tunnel featured a series of punishments, some of which I heartily agreed with –
– and others I wasn’t so sure about.
I managed to gatecrash an Apsara dance performance in a local hotel – cheaper than a visit to the Apsara dance theatre.
This is the golden mermaid dance.
And these are the fisherfolk, skipping about merrily with their fishing baskets.
Then the beautiful royal dancers.
I foolishly agreed to have my photo taken with them at the end –
– and if you’ve ever heard Joyce Grenfell’s sketch about Lumpy Latimer, you’ll know exactly how I felt.