If something is called the Great Angkor Party, the hope is that it might be good. Unfortunately for this shin-dig on Saturday night, it wasn’t the case.
Organised by a group of Russian promoters based in Bangkok, the idea was to bus punters from Thailand into Siem Reap for a few days. They were to be wined, dined, ferried about, promised the best hotels, swankiest restaurants, all topped off by a big party on the Saturday night.
A Facebook page described the soiree as, “The greatest event in Cabodia! (sic) The biggest open air party!!! Russian girls will be entertain you! You can not skip it!”
Rumours around town suggested 100 people from Thailand had paid up to $200 for the round trip and were here to have a good time.
But the good time was not to be had at Angkor Mondial Restaurant. Instead there were a few clusters of peeved looking party-goers, local westerners and Khmers, who paid $10 for the night. They sat on the periphery of an empty room.
I’ve been to a fair few rural Irish discos in my time, they were more happening than this.
The start time was 10pm, so arriving around 11, I figured I’d be fashionably late, get there when it was starting to kick off. I’d even dressed up for the occasion. The sparsely populated room was well stocked with booze. There was an
“overflow” bar which I later worked out was for the VIP members among the no-show Thai contingent. It was stocked with bottles of whiskey, wine and, rather ambitiously, champagne.
The music was a blend of nineties dance and old Eurovision tracks, and an MC gave shout outs in a language I couldn’t decipher.
At first the “Russian showgirls” appeared to be a group of male teens – not Russian – who had their shirts off and were attempting amateur acrobatics.
The “crowd” was less than impressed.
Then out came a male crew of hip hop dancers. They were the most skilled of the entire night: their interpretive movements came complete with fight sequences and smashing light bulbs.
A third group came out resembling a kid’s dance class. They stood in a circle and took turns to dive in and freestyle. One child couldn’t have been older than six. He didn’t have a clue what was going on, but then again, neither did I.
After an hour there were even less people than when we’d arrived: I’d roped my boyfriend into coming along – for which he may never forgive me.
Then the MC announced something, the crowd picked up on the only two audible words, “Sex Show” and livened up – note this came right after the dancing children. But there was no sex. There were however two girls – Russian, as promised – gyrating like podium dancers in an Ibiza night-club circa 1997.
Dressed in trainers, white tank tops and short shorts Anna Kornikova would be proud off, they looked more like tennis players than showgirls. I felt sorry for them. They had been promised a crowd and here they were dancing to an almost empty room, with rubbish music and an unappreciative crowd.
And so the pattern continued, the various dance groups came out again, one after the other, and then as a finale of sorts out came the two girls for a repeat performance. This time they danced in the middle of the room, perhaps one final attempt to engage the last dregs of audience.
Unfortunately it wasn’t to be, and at 12.30am the party wrapped up.
I was confused, I was shell-shocked. I don’t know what I was expecting from the Great Angkor Party, but it wasn’t that.