Full Moon Cambodian Style


2007/08 Asia Trip Itinerary | Home Page 6 of 6 | Page Up
We're Off To The Races
 The cheap seats or A private box Popcorn is available
We found ourselves a spot on the crowded river bank with our feet almost in the water fervently hoping the crush of people behind us wouldn't knock us in as races got underway and excitement mounted.   In that unlikely event, there were two options for rescue

The speeches went on and on, even those in the stands must have been ready to drown the next one to approach the microphone

Finally they were done and 720 + oars were raised in unison a cry went up and they take off up river en-masse


Upstream they position themselves and wait for their heat


The first two crews cross the start line and they're off

On 30 + boats rode crews of 22.  Mostly all male some all female and a few mixed.  One on the bow another on the stern and in between twelve seated two abreast and eight standing. This was my favourite crew, all female, I liked their colours and the alternative to baseball caps
Two by two they raced downstream the winners heading back for their next heat
Waiting for another race downstream
All over for the ladies
Along with nightfall came the illumination and the amplification  


The children are lovely and when we met a retired American Dr. who volunteers at a small children’s hospital we learned of their terrible plight.  Most are infected to some extent by TB, a disease unheard of in Cambodia before the Secret War, quickly followed by the Civil War which between them completely destroyed one of the best medical systems in Asia.

As the last boats crossed the finish line a firework display rocked the sky

The dragon boat races took part over two days.  On the final day we were leaving along with a mass exodus of happy festival goers heading home to their villages. The roads were so clogged we almost didn't make it in time for our concert at Jayavarman VII hospital in Siem Reap

I can't leave Cambodia without mentioning Dr. Beat Richner who with his cello perform as Beatocello


The American Dr, we spoke with at the river, laughed when we told him we were going to Dr. Beat's recital.  He told us the good Dr. was after our money, had we been younger he would want our blood and middle-aged  he would want both!

And this was true, but what wonders he performs with our money.  While government hospitals, ripe with corruption stand empty, his are overflowing.  He provides 'his' children with state of the art diagnostic equipment and care.  All treatment, surgery and deliveries are free to the patient and family

In 2007 12% of his operating budget was provided by the Cambodian and Swiss governments, the rest he raises from people like you and me

If you are in Siem Reap on a Thursday or Saturday evening, do go

We had a most memorable time here.  How wrong could I be, this had been the perfect time to come to Angkor Wat and Siem Reap


2007/08 Asia Trip Itinerary | Home Page 6 of 6 | Page Up