It may not quite have the crowd pulling power of its aquatic counterpart in Phnom
Penh, but this week saw the Siem Reap water festival take place. The 26 male and
the seven female boat crews came from all over the province to take part in the two
day event that ran over the 15th and 16th.
Whether decked out in their spanking new sponsor's t-shirts and baseball caps or
simple kramas and shorts, the crews crowded the river getting in some last minute
practice before the first race on Wednesday afternoon. By dusk Tuesday evening the
river banks were echoing to the sound of captains and their crews offering songs
of prayer to the spirits that dwell within the wooden hulls of their racing boats.
Rivalry was especially keen according to Race Committee member and Chief of Finance
and Administration for the Department of Tourism Chhoeuy Chien. "Our team has
won the race two years running and this year the other teams have been searching
for the best rowers to build a crew that can beat us." he said.
Mark Chuoen, captain of the department's Mohasal team, shrugged off the talk about
the challenge from a strong agricultural department team simply stating "I'm
sure we are going to win".
He was right. They won. The winning female crewed boat was Boromey Wat Chaydei Koh
Keo from Sambo village.
** Even if the size of the water festival is yet to rival Phnom Penh's, Siem Reap's
seemingly exponential growth in the beer purveying sector may not be that far from
steam rolling the capital in the number of watering holes.
Comfortably, if a little bizarrely, nestled between the Ministry of Cults and Religions
and the government Provincial AIDS Section, the latest bar to open, the Koala Bar,
has added to the Pub Street spill-over into the adjacent roads and given the city
a total of around 40 bars, not including those in hotels.
** Back on Pub Street, refurbishments continue. At one of the town's oldest establishments,
the Angkor What?, what everyone at first assumed to be damage caused by the overenthusiastic
gyrations of barman Charlie, the Mumbai man mountain, in fact turns out be intentional
work starting on a much needed extension to their dance floor.
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, contact Rob Savage at: 092-228-990;
email: [email protected]