Rasmei Pech, manager of French Cultural Centre Siem Reap.
ENERGETIC Francophiles will be racing around Siem Reap on Saturday morning in a scavenger hunt call the Battle Royale, hosted by the French Cultural Centre of Cambodia.
The Rallye de la Francophonie 2009 will pit six teams of three people against each other, challenging them to run to eight different locations around town and solve puzzles that test their French language skills, with the winning team taking away a scholarship to the Paul Dubrule Hospitality School.
Rasmei Pech, manager of the Siem Reap French Cultural Centre, told the Post that the contest is open to anyone, but only Cambodian nationals have a shot at the three Paul Dubrule placements. The first non-Khmer team to complete the challenge will win a voucher for Bodia Spa.
Two participants from each team will roam around town, following clues that lead them to spots with connections to Siem Reap's French community, including restaurants, hotels and shops. The third team member will be stationed in the library and will help, via mobile phone, with the French challenges.
At each location, teams will collect a piece of a puzzle and solve a problem that will unlock their next destination.
While the actual questions and locations are a closely guarded secret, Rasmei Pech said a typical challenge could be providing the ingredients for a French dish while at a cafe, or identifying different types of French wood in a furniture store.
When the teams get back to the centre, with the finished puzzle as evidence of their completion, the competition becomes more cutthroat, turning former teammates against each other in a French dictation contest. The first three teams that return will compete against each other for a scholarship to the Paul Dubrule school, which goes to the team that writes the most accurate dictation.
Rasmei Pech said that knowledge of the French language is a big asset locally. "The French language should not be forgotten in Siem Reap.
There are so many French tourists here, and learning French is a big benefit for students entering the hospitality industry."
Rasmei Pech said that she doesn't know whether the rally will become a yearly event.
"That depends on how successful Saturday is. If a lot of people come up to me and say ‘That was really good', then I will do it again."