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    Tropical Storm Tour: Cambodia Part 15

    Friday, July 17, 2015
    Siem Reap, Cambodia

    Yellow noodles and vegetables in the Rooftop Cafe at the Golden Takeo Guesthouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    Yellow noodles and vegetables in the Rooftop Cafe at the Golden Takeo Guesthouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    The Blessing Dance at the Khmer BBQ in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    The Blessing Dance at the Khmer BBQ in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    I started my course of Metronidazole antibiotics today. I really hope these pills clear up the infection in my throat–if that’s even what it is. Hopefully, I don’t have throat cancer! In the early evening, I bicycled down to the Alliance Art Cafe to inquire about their traditional Cambodian dance performance and shadow puppet theater, but when I arrived, I realized I had forgotten my lock! So, I had to pedal all the way back up to the Golden Takeo Guesthouse, which wasn’t that big of a deal, because it’s less than a mile away. While I was there, I decided to switch bikes, because the black one I rented had shoddy brakes and a crooked pedal. The orange one that I’d used for the past few days was much better, so off I cruised on that one.

    The Khmer Coconut Shells Dance at the Khmer BBQ in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    The Khmer Coconut Shells Dance at the Khmer BBQ in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    After riding all the way back down to Alliance, a young man out front informed me they only stage the dance performance and shadow puppet theater in high season, despite the fact that it’s listed in the current Siem Reap Angkor Visitor’s Guide. Dang! So, I chalked up not one but two trips to Alliance for nothing. Back at the Golden Takeo, I looked through the guide again and found another performance going on at Khmer BBQ, so I hightailed it over there just in time for a little of their a la carte curry with vegetables and rice. The cost of the food and the dance performance together was only $9.50, which was only one third of the price I paid for the same thing at the Apsara Theater a few nights ago.

    The Golden Mermaid Dance at the Khmer BBQ in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    The Golden Mermaid Dance at the Khmer BBQ in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    As the performance got underway, it didn’t take long for me to realize that these were the exact same dancers from the Apsara Theater–performing the same dances, to boot! And some of them even goofed around and tried really hard not to laugh again–this time during the fisherman’s dance. One of the male dancers made funny facial expressions to try to make one of the girls laugh, which he must do at every show. The only dance that they seemed to take seriously was the opener, the Blessing Dance, and the closer, the Apsara Dance, both of which were very slow and elegant.

    The Cardamom Picking Dance at the Khmer BBQ in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    The Cardamom Picking Dance at the Khmer BBQ in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    On the plus side, the dancers looked beautiful and seemed to be having fun. So, if you must see this troupe, I highly recommend that you do so at the Khmer BBQ for $9.50 (with an a la carte meal) rather than the $27.00 you’d fork over at the Apsara Theater, even though it boasts a bigger dinner. Also, be aware that the show is performed on a small stage (albeit with beautiful, ornately carved walls) in an open air restaurant situated right at an intersection, so the roar of traffic tends to blend in with the music. But, it’s not too distracting.

    The Fishing Dance at the Khmer BBQ in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    The Fishing Dance at the Khmer BBQ in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    The Apsara Dance at the Khmer BBQ in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    The Apsara Dance at the Khmer BBQ in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    Words and photos ©2015 Arcane Candy.

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