• Home
  • Audio
  • Video
  • Print
  • Art
  • Photos
  • Live
  • Features
  • About
  • Sale
  • Instagram
  •  

    Tropical Storm Tour: Cambodia Part 6

    Wednesday, July 8, 2015
    Siem Reap, Cambodia

    The writing is on the wall at Wat Preah An Kau Saa in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    The writing is on the wall at Wat Preah An Kau Saa in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    A Buddhist monk brushes up on a lesson before giving a sermon at Wat Preah An Kau Saa in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    A Buddhist monk brushes up on a lesson before giving a sermon at Wat Preah An Kau Saa in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    A beautiful carving on the gate to Wat Po Lanka in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    A beautiful carving on the gate to Wat Po Lanka in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    An afternoon Buddhist prayer service at Wat Preah An Kau Saa in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    An afternoon Buddhist prayer service at Wat Preah An Kau Saa in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    I headed north of town today to check out two or three temples I spotted on a map. At the first one, Wat Preah An Kau Saa, I was surprised to see three or four white foreigners at such an obscure, out of the way temple. One of them was a really old man who was actually a Buddhist monk complete with a bald head, red robes and his arms covered with tattoos. I didn’t get a close enough look to see if his tattoos had anything to do with Buddhism. The other male foreigner was younger with a shaved head and a really long ZZ Top beard, which is a somewhat unusual combo. There was also a young foreign woman who was snapping photos and chatting with the local monks. As soon as the prayer service got underway, a woman with really short hair smiled and motioned for me to sit inside, which I did–off to the side to a avoid the monks’ area in the center. Surprisingly, the sermon was given  by two monks–one in Cambodian and one in English.

    A side gate bathed in orange dirt at Wat Preah An Kau Saa in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    A side gate bathed in orange dirt at Wat Preah An Kau Saa in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    A Cambodian version of the tuk-tuk in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    A Cambodian version of the tuk-tuk in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    A bridge over troubled waters in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    A bridge over troubled waters in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    A Buddha image at Wat Preah An Kau Sai in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    A Buddha image at Wat Preah An Kau Sai in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    After a while, it seemed to get repetitive, so I left to go to the next temple, Wat Preah An Kau Sai. On the way, I encountered some percussion music that was emanating very loudly from somewhere across the Siem Reap River. I crossed a bridge and walked up to the source of the sound, which was some kind of dinner party. An old man asked me what I wanted and I said the music had attracted me. I asked if it was live or Memorex. He said the event was a funeral for his wife and that the music was recorded. It all all started to make sense, as the music sounded really somber. I forgot to bring my iPod touch to record with, so I shot some long video clips out front to capture some of the blaring, distorted sound.

    A great big lump of holy dirt at Wat Preah An Kau Sai in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    A great big lump of holy dirt at Wat Preah An Kau Sai in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    All framed up at Wat Preah An Kau Sai in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    All framed up at Wat Preah An Kau Sai in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    A spirit house and a Buddhist shrine at Wat Preah An Kau Sai in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    A spirit house and a Buddhist shrine at Wat Preah An Kau Sai in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    A super thick veggie burger, a few French fries and a tiny salad at the Peace Cafe in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    A super thick veggie burger, a few French fries and a tiny salad at the Peace Cafe in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    After I had my fill of that, I crossed back over the bridge and straight into Wat Preah An Kau Sai, where I encountered a veritable Buddhist wonderland. Amidst all of the Buddha images, temples, shrines and spirit houses, I also walked around a few of the monasteries situated among a series of dirt reservoirs that, unfortunately, had heaps of trash dumped in them. I wonder why some monks clean up their compounds, but others don’t? I heard some different mournful music featuring intense singing playing in the back, where I spied another funeral ceremony going on. As I continued to walk around the grounds, the sound from both funerals overlapped and blended together to form an amazing, deeply ambient field of pure musical magic. I finished out the night just down the road at the Peace Cafe, where I enjoyed a super thick, tall veggie burger with a tiny order of French fries and an equally diminutive salad. On the bright side, that means I consumed fewer calories.

    Words and photos ©2015 Arcane Candy.

    One response to “Tropical Storm Tour: Cambodia Part 6”

    1. Louise Balma says:

      geez the veggie burger and fries look like something off the menu at Pauls in Oceanside.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *