This was our last day in Siem Reap and we planned to take the night bus to Sihanoukville, a beach town in the southeastern coast of Cambodia. Since this was our last day here we took it easy and didn’t do much. We started our day with a Cambodian cooking class in one of our favorite restaurants in Siem Reap which was right next to our hostel. I think we paid $10 for the class.
The cooking class consisted of an appetizer, a main course and a dessert. For our cooking class we chose vegetable spring roll as the appetizer, Cambodian chicken curry with rice as the main course and mango sticky rice as the dessert. The main cook was helping us with all the recipes. Until that day I didn’t know the outside of spring roll is made out of something called rice paper which is a very thin edible sheet made of rice. We added a few vegetables like carrot, lettuce and cucumber. We also made spicy peanut sauce for the vegetable spring roll. Then we made the Cambodian chicken curry, it was almost like an Indian chicken curry but we also added some fish sauce and a cup of broth. Then for mango sticky rice we cut large piece of mango and carved it such that it looked like a leaf. Then they had the readymade sticky rice which is added with jaggery and some type of lentils. It was a delicious meal! we were more than full.
Then I took a stroll through the night market, which was not vey active during the day. I took a foot massage outside a foot massage parlor. Then I joined my brother to see a movie called The Tenth Dancer. It was a documentary about the devastation caused by Khmer Rouge during the Cambodian genocide, especially the atrocities inflicted upon the dancers and art community. The name of the movie has a meaning, so it is estimated for every 10 apsara dancers only one survived after the Khmer rouge. It was a heartbreaking movie, but at the same time the tenacity of the dancers who hid dance music scripts in their pillow cases and hid their identities as dancers to protect themselves and protect the art of apsara dancing was amazing to see. It show cases one older dancer who used to dance in the Royal court of Cambodia and her young disciple. Most of these dancers were forced to work in hard labor camps and tortured. Later on I learned that evenpeople with soft hands (most of them were female artists) were brutally murdered during Cambodian genocide.
After the movie there was one Cambodian dance expert who survived Cambodian genocide spoke about her experience during those horrible years. Her family was living in Phnom Penh during that time, and all of them were forced to leave the city in a few hours. She said she worked in a paddy field during those year along with many other Cambodian people. Then she also talked about various Cambodian dances such as Apsara dancing, Ramayana dancing and folk dances. In additio to that she also described some of the stories that dominates Cambodian dance culture such as the love story of Hanuman & Suvannamachha and the Manimehala legend.
After that I got back to the hostel and packed my bags to get to the bus to Sihanoukville. Then we went down and paid the hostel for our stay and took the Tukutuk to go to Sihanoukville.
The bus that we took was Virak Buntham night bus which had sleeping arrangements. I got on the bus and our seat was right next to the Driver seat so it was not very comfortable. And I thought our day ended there and I would wake up in Sihanoukville in the bus. But the day didn’t end that way! After all the passengers were boarded the bus started the journey to Sihanoukville which was through Phnom Penh.
I went to sleep after few minutes of bus ride. Then in the middle of the night I woke up to hear people chatting and the bus was not moving. So Ria told me that the bus broke down and we might have to change buses and it was close to midnight!! So we got off our current bus and waited for the next bus to arrive. I guess that is how that day ended. (To be continued…)