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Published: November 30th 2014
I'm writing a side note about a must do in Siem Reap. I feel it's important because I would have skipped it if I hadn't been dragged to do it. And I'm so happy I was. And it has 5 stars on Trip Advisor so I'm not the only one feeling this way.
Our last night we headed to the Phare "circus show", or the youth Cambodian version of cirque du soleil. The show profits benefit the Cambodian youth, and allows them to enroll in a school which teaches both academia and the arts, including music, performance, and acrobatics. The kids have to train for 8 years before they are allowed to perform. I knew not what to expect, as I was pretty disappointed with the previous show we saw, and honestly didn't want to cough up the $20 for another dinner theatre. Sasha's dad insisted I go and bought my ticket (really a kind gesture) and we are ushered into a small circular arena where a video is playing explaining the mission and workings of the school. Then the music starts, which is an original score, mainly of marimbas and drums. The theme of the show is a girl who grows up during the reign of Pol Pot, loses her faith in humanity, but finally learns to trust people again through her kinship with fellow survivors. There are no words, not that they are needed, because the show is so powerful.
My positive reviews just won't do justice for this show. I sat enthralled for the entire hour or hour and a half. The facial expressions are so powerful, and range from pure glee to visible suffering. The acrobatic feats are better than any cirque show I've seen, with quadruple level hand stands, body contortionists, flips, throws, and coordinated stunts, all using low budget props like paper boxes and metal cylinders.
Nothing I say can convey how great this show is, so just take my advice, and go.
Another really cool thing I went to was the "Seeing Eyes" massage place in downtown Siem Reap. it's hard to find, as it's off of the main road near Pub Street on a small side street, though on the street there is a large sign. It is a group of bling people who have been trained as masseuses so they can be gainfully employed. Massages range from $5-10 not including tip for one hour.
I did not know what to expect when I arrived. I came up to a small open room off of the street, and was shuffled in by many hands and three to four bodies. One voice says "airconditioning?" And I say, "sure!". I am surprised to see that no one has vision, and all workers are blind, I am brought to a small air conditioned room with three beds. It is not fancy, but clean. I am escorted to a bed, and after a woman adjusts the pillows with the help of another man, I am instructed to lie down.
There is minimal conversation, but I received a quality massage for a really good cause. The massage cost $7, and I paid amother worked, mouth I have no idea how she knew what bills I was giving her, and how to give appropriate change.
It is a bit of a rougher, not intuitive experience, so probably not for the fainter of heart, or someone wanting a spa like massage. But I would really recommend it, because its a great cause, and a really interesting experience.
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