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Man about town: 21 Dec 11

Man about town: 21 Dec 11

BUSES FROM HELL

This year’s high season is marred by a plague of buses: each evening cavalcades of super-large buses head downtown along Sivutha Boulevard to clog up an already clogged Pub Street precinct. Many buses carry only a few passengers to preferred restaurants in the strip.

But the buses from hell are strangers to the laws of civilised parking: quite often they simply stop in the middle of the street outside the restaurant destination, hence completely obstructing the street as passengers slowly alight. Other times, the buses park where they will.

They clog driveways and access, with some drivers acting like (several expletives deleted) if asked to move. It’s time for authorities to act to solve the bus problem: surely a bus-bay and drop off point could be established on the edge of downtown, with the passengers then requested to walk a few hundred metres to their restaurants. Judging by the overweight nature of many western tourists, the walk could be a benefit.

OBAMA-INSPIRED SMOOTHIE CAFÉ

The award for topical advertising and promotion must surely go to Siem Reap’s newly opened Panda Pearl Café. The owners’ press release claims the venture is the “First American Owned Business Opened since Obama's Historic Visit.” To add weight to the claim, Hillary Clinton is also quoted as saying, “Cambodia is open for business.” The owners, two American brothers, Jeremiah and Will Johnson,   have taken over the Sunny Bar, and turned it into the new café that purveys fresh fruit smoothies with Asian tapioca pearls, also called bubbles or boba. Local ingredients are used including blue pumpkin, taro, jack fruit, and dragon fruit. The café will be welcome, as will the colorful brothers – both have taught at universities in China. Jeremiah owned a smoothie cafe in the US. Will was a candidate for the US Congress in 2010, and earlier this year wrote a book titled, Noble World Order.

Panda Pearl Cafe is on Sivutha Boulevard, between the Night Market and the river.

GINGERBREAD XMAS

Christmas does strange things to people, Man About included, who was hunkered down in a restaurant at Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort last week, in the company of general manager Fabrice Ducry and marketing coordinator Gaelle Bigeard, while decorating a wee gingerbread house. The gingerbread house decoration day is a popular initiative that was introduced by the hotel last year. Dozens of kids plus doting parents turn up to take part in the fun, and the day brings that extra cheer to the Christmas season.

FARE-THEE-WELL NICKY

A  fond farewell to Nicky Sullivan nee Nicky McGavin, a sometime contributor to this newspaper, who has left town with her husband Dr Michael Sullivan to live in Brittany for six months,  and then to move to Spain.
Nicky arrived in town just under five years ago as an NGO worker.  She then began to develop a freelance journalism career, and she blossomed as a writer actively promoting Siem Reap tourism and worthy causes.  She took time out from writing to get married to Dr Sullivan from the Center for Khmer Studies, and let’s hope the couple continues to live in wedded bliss. Both will be missed.

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