Siem Reap Scene: 2 Oct 2009

Siem Reap Scene: 2 Oct 2009

A woman weaving a box at Senteurs d'Angkor's new workshop.

Over the weekend, downtown Siem Reap residents and businesses received a nasty reminder of the bad times earlier this year when water supply was almost permanently curtailed for close on three months.

Late on Friday afternoon the water supply was again cut off without warning in a large swathe of Siem Reap’s central business district, including the Pub Street.

The water supply was not reconnected until 7.30pm on Sunday.

A spokesman for the Office of Water told Scene the culprit this time was “the China company.”

Apparently an unnamed Chinese company undertaking messy road works along Sivutha Boulevard accidentally cut the water pipe and thereby cut off the water supply along the length of Sivutha and in the Pub Street and old market areas.

Many of the affected restaurants had to cart in water supplies, but a waiter at the chic Aha restaurant simply shrugged and said it was no big deal, “We’re used to it,” he said.

Dean Williams, the owner of Miss Wong bar, was certainly an unhappy chappie. He told Scene, “When the water is off continuously, we have to bring in 200-300 litres per day.

“We manage, but it’s just a real inconvenience, and it’s not a good look for tourists when there’s no water and they have to flush the toilet with water from a bucket. You know, that’s ok at a bus stop in Poipet, but I’m trying to run a cocktail bar here.”

The Siem Reap Chamber of Commerce will hold a ‘Buy Cambodian Products’ trade fair during the water festival starting at the end of this month.

The trade fair, to run from October 31 to November 2, aims to improve and disseminate trade information for producers and traders, and to create a “trade and investment environment.”

A further aim is to promote and support the usage of Khmer products.

At this stage, organisers say that at least 70 booths will display local precuts at the fair.

Details about the venue for the trade fair will be announced shortly.

For further information, contact Nheb Sina on 092 975 214.

Siem Reap-based photographer and 4Faces café owner Eric de Vries has embarked on a profile-raising exercise.

On September 22 his exhibition of recent Preah Vihear photos launched at the Chinese House in Phnom Penh. This work was the result of a speedy trip from Siem Reap to Preah Vihear on a small Honda moto on August 13-15.

Tonight, he launches his Retrospective Cambodia 2009 exhibition at Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor Siem Reap. This features a collection of the best photos he has taken over the last nine years while living in Cambodia, from landscape to portrait and from Angkor Wat to the standoff at Preah Vihear.

The photos in the exhibition form part of Eric’s next book, which will be published early next year and feature series and singe photos.

Meanwhile, advance copies of photographer John McDermott’s long-awaited book, Elegy: Reflections on Angkor, have arrived from the printer in Italy.

The official launch is slated for either November or December.


Senteurs d’Angkor opened its new $80,000 workshop to the public last weekend.

Managing director Stephane Bourcier said around one hundred guests, including many tourist agents attended the opening of the new workshop on National Road 6, which will employ about 80 people.

“The guests loved the garden and most of the agencies said they will try to send customers to us. It’s my business, my baby, I want to commit to running it well and if I can give work to more people, that is nice.”

Senteurs d’Angkor has another outlet in town near the old market but that is now too small.

Bourcier’s business has produced and sold items such as incense, candles, soaps, oils and spices for ten years, and he hopes the new workshop setup will reinforce the local heritage of his product range.

“Most people who come here want to buy Cambodian products, but they don’t know most of the stuff in the markets is not made here,” Bourcier said.

“Our main objective is to produce local products from local materials, by mostly Cambodian people. If we can show people how the products are made, that the workers are comfortable, that it is hygienic, they can then choose whether or not to buy from us.”

Siem Reap’s infamous on-again, off-again skateboarding half-pipe ramp is off-again, undergoing a makeover due to monsoon season effects that were not factored into the original model.

The rooftop ramp at X Bar first made a much-publicised appearance earlier in the year, but has been out of use since the start of the rainy season. X Bar co-owner Carlo Tarabini says it was all going great until a few months ago, when rain “became an issue.”

The materials used to build the ramp lost out in a battle against the rain, with wood warping causing distress. Tarabini, an Aussie, says the new plan is to resurface the ramp with more moisture-resistant materials.

Budding boarders should be able to ramp up again some time soon.

“It’s all taking shape and is probably going to soak up the next month or so, but it’s going to come through,” Tarabini said.


Rome-based yoga guru Diane Long will host a workshop in Siem Reap at Wat Bo from January 11-15 next year. Bookings are now open, but class sizes will be limited.

Long is being brought to Siem Reap by resident yoga teacher Heidi Dewald, in association with The Singing Tree café.

Long is significant in yoga circles, having studied lyengar yoga for nearly 25 years under Vanda Scaravelli, author of the book Awaken the Spine.

Dewald told Scene, “I have had a couple of yoga teachers that have inspired me, but Diane Long completely changed my practice and I would like others to experience her teachings.

“Her explanation of how to use the intelligence of the body to bring the mind and body together is quite unique.”

The cost of the “total workshop” with Diane Long is $450.

For further information contact [email protected]


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