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Slices of Siem Reap

Siem Reap bar openings and refurbishments continue apace. Hot on the heals of

the Funky Munky, and raising a few eyebrows, the Buddha Lounge II has been renamed

the 'Funky' Buddha Lounge.

Let's be fair, perhaps this is not a case of straightforward plagiarism, maybe the

owner is just smitten by tales in the British tabloids of the goings on in the London

celebrity hotspot of the same name. Tight lipped on questioning, we will not be getting

any satisfactory answers from the owner any time soon.

Further along Bar Street, the incessant screeching of power tools has been replaced

by the reverberation of Irish jigs and reels as Molly Malone's reopened after weeks

of rehab work.

Increased floor space and balcony seating have appeared almost miraculously from

a mysterious point in space that was not perceivable in the bars previous incarnation.

Bedecked with the requisite Irish paraphernalia and dark wood balustrades this little

piece of Cambodia, ceiling fans aside, really does have an Irish feel.

Away from the bars and bar street, over the bridge and just a few doors along from

Wat Dam Nak, the Green Gecko Project's Headquarters has applied a fresh coat of paint

to its recently opened doors.

While Phnom Penh has had the likes of Friends and The Global Child for some years,

the Green Gecko Headquarters is the first street kids' drop-in center in Siem Reap.

Project founder Tania Palmer describes the center as a place where "the children

can eat a hot lunch, attend an English class, feel secure, play and receive medical

attention."

The day starts at 10:30 with the kids already sitting at the gates waiting for Tania

and the other volunteers to arrive. The children get to shower, with some of the

real enthusiasts managing six or seven showers in a day. Beginner and intermediate

classes in English follow, then it is a hot lunch followed by gymnastics or Khmer

dancing.

To Tania and the other volunteers it is abundantly clear that these children do not

want to beg. "If I ask who wants to beg, they can hardly look me in the eye....it's

as if they cannot even believe that I brought the subject up," said Tania.

Without sponsors, the center is reliant on Tania's business in Australia to fund

the centre. Anyone wishing to donate, sponsor or volunteer their skills can email:
greengecko@hugabub.com.

Slices of Siem Reap is a regular column that aims to provide information on happenings

and what to do in the Siem Reap area. If you have something to add, email Michael

Hayes at:
michael.pppost@online.com.kh

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