Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cambodian Culture

3:45 AM
On Saturday myself and girls from White Doves went on an outing, to the Cambodian Cultural Village. It's another big tourist attraction in Siem Reap, which is basically exhibits and shows that display Cambodia's culture and it's influences from Asia. The Village is free for Khmer, Cambodians, and $11 for a me, a foreigner (Angkor Wat is free for Khmer and $20 for foreigners....I'm noticing a pattern). But it was well worth the cost. We started out with the exhibits which highlighted Cambodia's history. It was so different seeing another country's history unfold. About halfway through I realized the absence of God, and when one looks at America's history, God is evident. Not so with Cambodia. We took our time walking through and taking lots of pictures. For some of the mothers, these would be their photographs with their children. What a thrill! The girls were eager to take photos with me as well. My favorite exhibit was the one that showed the building of the Angor Wat temples. Complete with elephants, horses and really big men, it really conveyed the sheer magnitude of those ancient ruins. The entire Village was set in a garden. There were beautiful scenic plants and flowers around every corner. I got a little shutter happy to say the least! The first show we saw was a love story, about a young girl who had fallen in love with a handsome boy. But, as with Khmer culture, her parent's had already arranged her marriage to another. Through what I saw as a sad display of society's norms, the Asian crowd laughed along with the bride being bought, and forced to this other man, and then hit when she ran from him. Through a series of well choreographed dance routines, the girl did get her man, and all lived happily ever after. We hope. After the show we discovered the floating village, which I could only compare to (pardon my geekiness here) the computer game Myst, the world with all those &*@! pipes. It was a breathtaking sight, complete with a giant stone waterfall. We then saw a show about Chinese dance which was pretty impressive. Some crazy flexible people those Chinese! Then we saw a peacock dance show, sadly not where actual peacocks dance, but where men in peacock dance wear perform. Entertaining nonetheless! There was also some unique animals on display, a monkey, a hedgehog, river deer, and a red crane! We paused for dinner, which I've pretty much just given up on trying anymore, and then continued on our way. Our final stop was this exquisite garden with miniature replicas of buildings and monuments in Khmer history. As the sun began to set, my pictures could not be more beautiful. Then as 7 of us crammed into a tuk-tuk, we journeyed home, complete with new memories and a lot of photos, and one great day.

Me and the White Doves girls at the Cambodia Cultural Village!

About the author

Joy Muldoon is a full-time missionary and part-time blogger. Read about her travels, adventures, and missions here!