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Published: January 28th 2007
Caught up with some mates in KL last weekend which was really great (Eric & Theresa, Fenella & Ethan, Dick & Hawlinn & kiddies. But not Denys as he was in Mumbai).
Then it was off to Siem Reap Cambodia to catch up with Jason and Natalie (Sydney mates), and also attend the Cambodian wedding celebration of Natalie's brother Tony and his wife Solida.
I was in Siem Reap 5 years ago, so visited all the temples then. Boy has it changed. The place is tourist central with tons of hotels, massage parlours, restaurants, bars and the like. It even has bitumen roads now. The sad part is that it all seems very cut-throat with everyone out to get a piece (or several bucks at least) out of you. For all the apparent prosperity there are still plenty of beggars about, plus unscrupulous adults sending their kiddies to target unwary tourists.
The happy couple took their wedding shots at Angkor Wat, and because I was part of the wedding party, I got in for free instead of paying the US$20 foreigner fee. Just had to make sure not to speak English when the guards were around.
The bride and groom released 2 birds each after temple prayers
wedding celebration lasted for 2 days (normally it's 3 days) and included a lot of interesting Cambodian ceremonies and monk blessings. Felt sorry for the bride and groom having to endure countless costume changes - I lost count after the 8th one.
Lastly there was the wedding reception with around 1000 people. The Cambodians sure do it differently from Westerners. People are ushered to tables, and once they are full the waiters start serving the food. Once everyone has eaten, they just get up and leave. The restaurant was jam-packed by 6.30pm, and the majority had eaten and left by 8.30pm. Totally hilarious. There was only family and the die-hards remaining and hitting the dance-floor for a bit of Cambo line-dancing until close-up at 10.30pm.
But it wasn't all wedding stuff. Managed to get in some massages and body wraps, eat at the night foodstalls, and also snuck in for some poolside cocktails at the fancy-schmancy Raffles Grand Angkor Hotel.
Finally did a pilgrimage to Battambang (5 hrs from Siem Reap by road) which is where Nat's family originated from. Nat & her Mum hadn't been back since the family left in 1981 after the War. It
This is ridiculous!
Strolling for the video dude
was cool to witness their personal journeys and memories as they went past old homes, haunts, villages, markets and schools; and also went to pay respects to their Dad and ancestors. It was a touching and fitting end to a fabbo trip to Cambodia.
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