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    Tropical Storm Tour: Cambodia Part 13

    Wednesday, July 15, 2015
    Siem Reap, Cambodia

    A Buddhist prayer service at Wat Preah Ang Chek + Wat Preah Ang Chom in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    A Buddhist prayer service at Wat Preah Ang Chek + Wat Preah Ang Chom in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    A Buddhist prayer service at Wat Preah Ang Chek + Wat Preah Ang Chom in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    A Buddhist prayer service at Wat Preah Ang Chek + Wat Preah Ang Chom in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    Today was the last day for the course of antibiotics I’ve been taking for the past five days for my mysterious sore throat. Though maybe 75% of the infection was gone, I could tell the two pills I had left would not clear it up completely, so I rented a bicycle again and pedaled up to the British Khmer Clinic to see if the doc was in. I had a feeling he would not be, and I was right. So, that was only my second wasted trip up there. The doc must be slammed, because he also didn’t answer my email from the day before.

    A Buddhist prayer service at Wat Preah Ang Chek + Wat Preah Ang Chom in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    A Buddhist prayer service at Wat Preah Ang Chek + Wat Preah Ang Chom in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    On my way back to the Golden Takeo Guesthouse, I noticed some commotion going on at Wat Preah Ang Chek + Wat Preah Ang Chom, so I stopped by to check it out. I don’t know if there was an offiicial ceremony going on, but there was a whole mess of people praying to the Buddha image inside the shrine, and getting blessed with holy water by a line of Buddhist monks. It sounded really amazing when the monks’ singing overlapped with the traditional Cambodian percussion ensemble that was jamming away. They were playing louder than the last time I was here, I guess because they were all stoked up by the throngs of people milling about.

    A Buddhist prayer service at a small shrine outside Wat Preah Ang Chek + Wat Preah Ang Chom in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    A Buddhist prayer service at a small shrine outside Wat Preah Ang Chek + Wat Preah Ang Chom in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    I hung out for nearly an hour completely absorbed by the beautiful sights, sounds and smells swirling around in front of me. Then I walked a few yards away to check out a little Buddhist shrine on an island in the middle of the street, which attracted a small crowd of devotees. It must have been an auspicious day. Next, I headed back to the Golden Takeo Guesthouse to exchange bicycles, as the one I was riding had been making some mysterious noise. But, the replacement was even worse, as the rear brakes were missing. I could barely stop during the test drive, so I kept using the same bike I rode earlier.

    A promotional float cruises down the street in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    A promotional float cruises down the street in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    Next, I headed downtown to a restaurant, where I ordered a delicious bowl of yellow curry and vegetables with rice. It was fun and invigorating weaving in and out of all of the motorcycles and tuk-tuks. At 6:30 pm, I rode over to the local big top to see the Phare Circus, performed by a troupe of young Cambodian men and one woman. For the most part, this circus was not really like an American version such as Ringling Brothers. There were no animals, clowns or trapeze artists. Phare consisted mostly of choreographed acrobatics, tumbling and dancing–all propelled by two musicians (on a drum kit, keyboards, a table zither, a xylophone and an electric guitar) who alternately provided a dramatic traditional Cambodian backdrop or rocked out when the time called for it.

    An acrobat performs in the Phare Circus in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    An acrobat performs in the Phare Circus in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    In one sequence, the acrobats did a bunch of flips and twists through two jump ropes. In another, they pulled off some avant-garde juggling accompanied by dance moves. In other parts, they stacked themselves up into some super-difficult and tricky human towers with many handstands and flips thrown in–both up to and down from the tower. All in all, it was very impressive. Plus, the admission fee went to a good cause by helping disadvantaged Cambodian youth. If you ever find yourself in Siam Reap, the Phare Circus comes highly recommended.

    An acrobat performs in the Phare Circus in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    An acrobat performs in the Phare Circus in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    Acrobats perform in the Phare Circus in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    Acrobats perform in the Phare Circus in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    Words and photos ©2015 Arcane Candy.

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