We slept in the next morning. Everyone was feeling much better, but still not 100%--every time I ate or drank something, my stomach responded with it’s contracting argument against it. In any event, the food went where it was supposed to, and remained there as long as was required.
We hired a tuk-tuk after eating
our morning meal and went to Wat Phnom, Temple Mountain, and many people were
there making their new year’s ablutions. Someone had left an entire baked piglet at the base of a little shrine. At the top of the stairs leading to the temple
entrance, a man and a woman were selling birds to people who wanted to release
them. “For good luck,” he said when I approached for a closer look at the
little shit-flecked birds in the multi-tiered cages
|Inside Wat Phnom, Temple Mountain.|
The temple was at the top of a small hill and surrounded by a quiet park—I had read about monkeys and was on the lookout, but none appeared. There wasn’t much else to see, but the inside of the temple was painted with a well-cared-for mural from the floor to the ceiling. We were somewhat disappointed, however, and headed back to our hotel’s neighborhood. On the way back, we spotted a beautiful temple complex, the name of which I didn't catch, with a number of impressive buildings within, and stopped to take a look.
|Getting ready to go.|
|The National Museum at sunset.|
We at lunch at Friends the Restaurant, a special eatery that trained disadvantaged youths to make handicrafts and learn a trade. In fact, there were so many businesses labeled in this way, that it was hard to understand how legitimate they were or not.
Back at the hotel, we rested and Vito watched Animal Planet, his preferred hotel series. A couple hours before the performance, we went out to send a couple of postcards and enjoy a cool beverage along the riverside to watch the sun go down.
A few blocks from the theater, we left and walked back to the National Museum following the candlelit path to the theater behind the museum. It was a small theater, and we took some seats in the front row. Almost all of the seats had been filled already. The show started promptly at 7PM with a short video about how the group started. There were eight dances, accompanied by live music (at least six musicians and two vocalists, one male and one female).There were, perhaps, thirty or more dancers in total, and they performed dances that highlighted the Apsara, the Monkey King falling in love with the golden mermaid, wedding and processional dances and the killing of a buffalo. The performance was exceptional—a highlight of our trip—and, as far as I could judge, the music was first-rate. We had a late dinner afterwards, which was clearly too much for Vito, and then returned to our hotel to sleep.
The next morning, we showered, packed, breakfasted, and then hopped into the taxi that we had arranged the night before, and which would bring us to the airport to begin our return trip to Doha. It was a good holiday, but we were ready to get home, as we always are after a long trip. Angela thought we had stayed too long in Phnom Penh, but it seemed adequate for me. Cambodia is a big country, and I hope we will get a chance to return there some day to see what we missed. Thanks, Cambodia!