Most expats living in Siem Reap have at least a few friends of their own nationality to chat with when a desire for the familiar sets in – but this is not the case for Colombian expat couple Dur Ocampo and Luis Barreto.
Since settling here in November 2012, Ocampo and Barreto have met a few Colombian travellers passing through, but never any amigos Colombianos staying for more than a few days.
Indeed their plan was to be here for just a month offering their photography and design skills to a local NGO, but – as Ocampo comments – “we found some great projects here, and lovely people.” Barreto agrees, saying, “It’s easy living here.”
Yet despite the upsides of Temple Town living, it can be “weird” being the only Colombians. “Usually when we travel there are always people from our country” Barreto comments, “But in Siem Reap we haven’t found anyone.
“We wondered whether we were the only Colombians in Cambodia, so when we went to the embassy in Malaysia recently we asked. The consult confirmed there are just three Colombianos in the Kingdom, us and a priest in Sihanoukville.”
When the pair returned to Siem Reap and shared their discovery, friends suggested they should celebrate with a Latin party.
“It was a really exciting idea for us” says Ocampo. “Parties everywhere else are really different to parties in Latin America; the energy is different.” Barreto adds, “We miss this sometimes.”
The party, the’ ‘Fiesta Latina’ will take place from 7.30pm tonight at Annadya restaurant, on Soksan Road. “The party’s going to be at a Khmer restaurant” says Ocampo “So it’ll be a great mix of cultures. It’s also a perfect location for a Latin party – open-air, nice lighting, great cocktails.”
They have prepared a Latin playlist, and a Spanish-speaking British singer will perform some Latin classics. The highlight of the party, however, will be true cultural collaboration – a ladyboy performance with a Latin twist! There will also be $1 beers and 2-for-1 Latin cocktails.
“We’re so happy to share our music, our culture” says Ocampo.
Entrance is free and the fiesta is open to everyone. Sarah Brown