I n spite of a Ministry of Tourism decree issued on January 24 banning the practice, striptease dancing seems to have made a rather bold return to the capital with several establishments around town offering buck naked Thai and Vietnamese female entertainers on a nightly basis.
The Polo Club, just off Monivong Boulevard, caters to a well-heeled, up-market crowd and customers primarily amuse themselves with disco delights. But all eyes are drawn to the 10:30 show where two gals bare all and put on a 15-minute macabre, rock and roll display of rythmic gyrations. With lit candles in hand they drip hot wax on their tongues and other assorted body parts.
Getting a seat may be difficult for the curiousity seeker as the place is packed wall-to-wall with trendy, mobile-phoned execs and high-heeled, Hanoi hookers eager to help the lonely spend their cash.
A more earthy environment is to be found at the Hotel Dragon Palace and Massage on Issarak Boulevard near the Martini Pub. In a boxcar-like, smoke filled lounge the fare is non-stop strippers who rotate every ten minutes of so. The restless crowd is generally sotted to the gills and dancers have had to scamper to the cloakroom with an inebriated customer hot on their heels lurching for a pinch.
A hefty, uniformed bouncer does his best to barely keep the boys under control.
Quite a field apart, the Gecko was horrified with one recent revelation. According to a Khmer doctor, when the Vietnamese troops were in Cambodia before l989, soldiers were given marinated gecko by their officers as a means of cooling restless passions due to long absences from significant others back home. Very hard to confirm this one.
A major oil executive visiting Cambodia to check on how the local operations were going was greeted with a rather abrupt welcome at Pochentong. Arriving first class in his private jet the petrol barron was not amused when his craft pulled up on the apron in front of the VIP lounge only to have one of the plane's wheels punch a hole through the tarmac.
Finally, one pundit who is keeping an eye on the RCAF reform efforts cited an example in history that might give the government's military planners a model to emulate. He noted that Octavian - later Augustus - ruled the Roman Empire from Spain to Syria and from the Rhine to the Nile with only 125,000 soldiers - just about the same size as the Cambodian armed forces.