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There and Back Again: Travel Notes

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Archive for the ‘Holidays and Festivals’ Category

Jun '11

La Fête de la Musique

La Fête de la Musique is a nationwide annual music festival, held on June 21.  Every  town in France does something to celebrate, and Vourles was no exception. The town held a two-part concert. The first half showcased local talent, with six or so groups playing two songs each.  This included an outstanding high-speed rendition […]

Dec '10

Happy New Year

Pub Street was crazy-crowded, but quite nice from a restaurant balcony. Happy New Year!

Dec '10

It’s (not) beginning to look a lot like Christmas

I keep forgetting that it’s December. It’s another sunny, comfortable 85 degree day. A few stores have Christmas decorations- rather tastefully done, too- but it’s understated. Meanwhile, I hear there’s been snow in New England, ice on the pond, and “the kind of mornings where your nose hair freezes”. The Christmas packages I sent home […]

Nov '10

Thanksgiving Dinner

The Thanksgiving menu at the Common Grounds Cafe: pumpkin soup waldorf salad roast turkey (Butterball, brought from Phnom Penh) stuffing mashed potatoes and gravy cranberry sauce corn long beans and carrots a choice of pie: apple, sour cream apple, pumpkin, or pecan I brought an Australian and two Cambodians to dinner. They seemed to enjoy […]

Nov '10

What is the Water Festival?

The Water Festival is an annual three-day celebration that marks the Tonle Sap River reversing direction. During the rainy season the river overflows into the Tonle Sap lake, the great lake you see in the upper left of a map of Cambodia. When rainy season ends the water level drops, and the lake resumes emptying […]

Nov '10

Water Festival Preparations

Last week the boat teams brought their boats to the riverbank. They seat about twenty people. They’re very shallow, and look as though they’re made from one tree trunk. I couldn’t see any joins when I looked. All of the boats had incense or fruit or flowers in the bow, even during the races. They’re […]

Nov '10

Independence Day

Happy Independence Day. On this day in 1953, Cambodia ended 90 years as a French protectorate. The Cambodian TV channel had a live broadcast from Phnom Pehn of King Norodom Sihamoni progressing along a long line of subjects. They were lined three deep along the sidewalk, and he seemed to touch hands with every one […]

Oct '10

Tropical Jack-o’-Lantern

I handed out Halloween candy yesterday. It’s early, but Halloween falls on a Sunday. I found these cute chocolates at the supermarket. When you’ve eaten the chocolate, the cardboard base looks like you smashed the bug on your windshield. I’ve been told not to miss the ex-pat pub crawl tonight. It’s the one time of […]

Oct '10

Pchum Ben

We had a four-day weekend due to the Pchum Ben holiday. Pchum Ben is Ancestor Remembrance Day, one of the two big holidays of the year. At this time, the gates of hell are ajar and the dead are able to return. Families offer food at the temple on behalf of their ancestors. The office […]