Let’s lie down, watch movie and enjoy delivered food

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Welcome to the Empire movie theater cum bar cum restaurant in an area popular with Westerners.  Inside, you can glimpse the whole lobby with diminutive bar and, beyond, a kitchen unseen in the photo.  Nachos, hamburgers, curry and beer can be yours during films.

It surprised me to discover that recently released movies of some quality are available to watch in three Phnom Penh movie houses.

But banish any thoughts of desirable fare at conventional cinemas, which exist here in Phnom Penh seemingly to screen mainly combat, science fiction and action films of questionable merit and sometimes of recent vintage.  (Actually, Noah was showing the week of its U.S. release.)

Before the Khmer Rouge horror, there were some 30 grand cinemas in Phnom Penh filled with cigarette smoke and rapt audiences.  They are now gone, but for two that cling to their original intent. At least one is a nightmarish slum.

In a shopping mall, the Legend is one of three multiplexes as the place to go for overwrought fare in air-conditioned comfort and 3D. Among those “coming soon” as I drafted this post last month were Continue reading

Circus tradition evolves to aid kids while entertaining

The performers as portrayed on the organization's Web site.

The performers. (Source: Phare The Cambodian Circus)

Images that come to mind of a circus aside from Cirque du Soleil may involve daredevil animal acts, high-flying acrobatics and thrilling stunts as such someone being shot from a cannon.  I also think of roving food vendors, overpriced souvenirs, brass bands and the clamor of countless children.

The circus that I attended under a big tent had just two of those features: many children plus ambitious acrobatics performed by an astonishingly poised, graceful and accomplished collection of teenagers and pre-teens.

As the Web site promises: Continue reading

Stroll through the poorest excuse for a zoo anywhere

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Notice the dark patch on the thigh, evidence of effective discipline of a performing elephant, which took money, casually passing it back to trainers.

Although I never intended this blog to be a travelogue, I seem to going places and doing things that prompt a post.

Our most recent excursion from Phnom Penh was to a zoo, a lake and a nearby ancient temple.  It was a long day of seven hours, but I promise to restrain myself from going on and on and on.  Well, maybe I’ll stop at on and on.

A gang of monkeys and two animals like big deer or small elk assaulted us as we entered the first chain-linked enclosure, snatching from our hands bananas purchased for that purpose.

As we trudged through the dust in the enclosure we saw Continue reading