Sunday, February 6, 2011

Dragons, Weddings and Palaces!

Cambodia Blog 12
Dragons, Weddings and Palaces
Sunday February 6th 2011

I have decided to actually force myself into some discipline and post a blog every Sunday evening (or morning for those back in the states) for the rest of my trip. Feel free to write me angry mail if I miss a week, I need the motivation :-P

This week was a really great one. It was incredibly busy, but filled with really fun things! This week was Chinese new year, a surprisingly big deal here considering the Cambodians have their own new year in April. Still, school was off for the week and the streets were filled with the crash of drums from dragon dancers! We were invited to a see a dragon dance at someone’s house, and it was really fantastic. The coordination of the 12 or so dragon dancers all manipulating one long puppet was stunning. The lions were also great, their blinking eyes, wagging tails and fondness for heads of lettuce made them seem so real!

Later that night we went to the wedding of two of the staff at NFC -- Pown, a caretaker, and Mr Roon, a handyman/administrative assistant type person. The party was held at Pown’s family house, a traditional Khemer farm house hours away from Phnom Penh in the countryside. We drove about half an hour across raised dirt roads over rice fields, during which time the poor beleaguered NFC bus broke twice! It was a great party though, a really happy rollicking affair with lots of food and dancing. Our friends were so happy! The atmosphere was entirely different from the awkward and generally sad arranged marriage we went to last month.

Yesterday I finally made it to the Royal Palace with Kester, a volunteer at NFC from Britain.. The Royal Palace spirals into the air like a giant bird. There is something light and uplifting about Cambodian architecture that is very different from the heavy western esthetic. Towers lift bright colors into the sky while the paintings and ironwork closer to the ground curl into stories and figures of Khmer mythology. Dancers and flying monkeys, magical birds, demons and giant fish building bridges are frozen in the frescos along the walls of the silver pagoda. The detail, and the expressiveness of the characters in this intricate legend was breathtaking.

This week has been beautiful. There seems to be no end to the adventures to be had in this amazing country!
Detail of the aforementioned fresco

A gate

Me with the royal palace and some monks


  1. Beautiful pictures Anna. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I like this determination to post every Sunday! It seems to fit well with your schedule. What an amazing dragon!!

    The pictures from the palace are lovely. Did it seem to you that the palace is less colorful, perhaps a bit more subdued, than the Thai palace? Or is that just the selection of pictures? I wonder if it was always that way, or if the Thai palace has simply been repainted more recently. But there was lovely WHITE decoration on the Khmer palace, which seemed like would have been painted bright colors in Thailand....