Friday, October 17, 2014
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
|The Hanuman ladies deliver the cake. LtoR: Sreymom, Chhrep, Rath, me, Sinat, Daroeurn, Vatey|
|Very chocolaty cake, courtesy of Raffles Hotels - very nice people|
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
|Nice touch from the lovely staff at NOM|
Thanks to the folks at NOM cafe on Street 310 for their nice '1-day before' birthday cake. Its becoming something of a tradition. I get my coffee every morning from the lovely staff at NOM and the personal interaction with their customers is why.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Keep an eye out for these
Sebastian Strangio's book, Hun Sen's Cambodia, should be in bookstores by the end of this month. Published by Yale Univ Press, its a look at Cambodia's recent troubled history under the longest-serving leader in modern history. David Chandler said of the book; "...is an absorbing, clear-eyed evaluation of Cambodia today." Definitely on my 'must read' list.
Another Comedy Club Cambodia will be hitting the stage at Equinox in Phnom Penh on Friday 17 October, kicking-off at 8.30pm. $4 on the door to get your ribs tickled by an Australian trio of mirthmen Ro Campbell, Jon Bennett and Marty Lappan, with Steven Halcrow as MC.
I've just found the two episodes of a new documentary on Angkor by the BBC, called Jungle Atlantis. Both were shown for the first time recently in the UK. http://youtu.be/Nt65c62JTxs and http://youtu.be/RTP-B727KjY.
Friday, October 3, 2014
To the left of the comic's arse
|Phnom Penh's comedy scene including the Brouwer Bros|
The gold medal came in Taekwondo and it was Cambodia's first medal of any variety in 44 years in the Asian Games. Take your bow, Sorn Seavmey. And here's the keys to the city.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
World Premiere at Tokyo
|A screenshot from The Last Reel|
Here are the films in the Asian Future section:
- Above The Clouds, dir. Pepe Diokno (Philippines-France)
- As The Swallows Got Thirsty, dir. Muhammet Cakiral (Turkey)
- As You Were, dir. Liao Jiekai (Singapore)
- Borderless, dir. Amirhossein Asgari (Iran)
- In The Absence Of The Sun, dir. Lucky Kuswandi (Indonesia)
- Kyoto Elegy, dir. Kiki Sugino (Japan)
- The Last Reel, dir. Sotho Kulikar (Cambodia)
- Made In China, dir. Kim Dong-Hoo (Korea)
- North By Northeast, dir. Zhang Bingjian (China)
- Nova Nik, dir. Amir Mustapha (Malaysia)
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Shown The Gate
|A still from The Gate with Raphaël Personnaez (left) and Phoeung Kompheak|
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
|Black Roots, their new album is Ghetto Feel|
Today, Bristol-based roots reggae band Black Roots release their latest album, Ghetto Feel. The vinyl version is out on 6 Oct. So pleased that the guys got back together a couple of years ago to make more great music. Love it. See them on YouTube with the title track from the album @ http://youtu.be/8FpCmFY27YI. They were a fantastic reggae band from Bristol, which was 40 miles from my hometown, and I really got hooked on them when they played at a Cheltenham nightclub, who's name escapes me, in the early 1980s. You can read a lot more about them on my website @ http://andybrouwer.co.uk/broots.html.
Labels: Black Roots
Sunday, September 21, 2014
PPP on Camp 32
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Building the future
|The main grandstand of the future RSN Stadium|
|Another view of the main grandstand|
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Hanuman at PATA
|Hanuman's fine looking travel booth|
River rafting in Angkor
Labels: Float Angkor
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Sambo to retire, properly
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
|The poster of The Last Reel|
Thursday, September 4, 2014
Proud as punch
|Vansy and her youngest brother|
|My adorable god-daughter Vansy, now a beautiful young woman|
Full of pride and admiration for my god-daughter Vansy, who I saw for the first time in way too long, this morning. She's cabin crew with Cambodia Angkor Air so is out & about a lot. I knew those English lessons when she was a nipper would come in handy. She was determined then to make something of her life, and she's done just that with a lot of hard graft. I'm as proud as punch. I first met Vansy in 2003, as she was kicking lumps out of me in a supposedly friendly football match. The following extract is from my travel log to Cambodia at the start of 2007:
<< The Mekong Express coach dropped me off at Wat Phnom at 2pm and I had a quick shower at the Dara before I got a lift back out to Kien Svay to stop for three nights at the home of Vansy’s aunt. Awaiting my arrival was Vansy, her siblings and a group of children and friends as we all sat down to a big group dinner and our first session of karaoke but without the music, when everyone took a turn in singing their favourite song. This became a regular after-dinner event for the next two days. My contribution was Jimi Lundy’s song Cambodia, which they all appeared to love and requested time and time again. During the day, I spent time playing badminton or football with the children though mostly it was 1-to-1 with Vansy, reading through books in an informal intensive crash-course in English! I was conferred with the title of Vansy’s ‘god-father’ and it was going well until I developed stomach cramps late on day three and suffered a serious bout of vomiting and diarrhoea. Vansy and her aunt’s home-spun remedy was to rub ceramic spoons on my lower back, much akin to ‘coining’, which is believed to circulate the blood and draw the ‘badness’ out of the body. I can’t testify that it works, but I can say it was the most painful experience I’ve ever had in Cambodia - believe me, it was excruciating. >>
|One more for the family album with Vansy|
Monday, September 1, 2014
On the evening of Saturday 6, at 7 pm, Sophiline Arts Ensemble presents a programme of new and experimental dance, Tompeang Snong Russey. Three original pieces, drawing on the classical tradition, will have their Cambodian premiere. Tickets are 10,000 riels and available at the door. The venue is the Khmer Arts Theater in Takhmao, and a round-trip bus will be running from the city.
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Before the Fall
Friday, August 29, 2014
Four sides to every story
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Black Roots history
Watch this short video to sail through the history of one of my favourite reggae bands, Black Roots. The band are about to release their latest album, Ghetto Feel. More later.
Labels: Black Roots
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Labels: Unstoppable Me
Monday, August 18, 2014
Walk on the wild side
|Monks in the Areng Valley|
Groups are small, tours take at least five days and the cost is all-inclusive. The Wild KK Project is linked to the Mother Nature (www.mothernature.pm) environmental pressure group.
Sunday, August 17, 2014
New LP for Cambodia
|The new LP to Cambodia cover|
The latest Lonely Planet guidebook to Cambodia is out. Despite having the eighth wonder of the world in its backyard, Cambodia’s real treasure is its people, says the introduction to the brand new Lonely Planet guide to Cambodia, that hit bookshops this month. I agree. Siem Reap and Phnom Penh may be the heavyweights, but to some extent they are a bubble, a world away from the Cambodia of the countryside, it continues. Well you can see for yourself by getting a copy, whether its the print edition or online. There are 370 pages of great tips, maps, photos and recommendations that will enhance your visit to Cambodia and here is LP’s Top 10 of what you must not miss:
1 – Siem Reap & Temples of Angkor. 2 – Phnom Penh. 3 – Sihanoukville. 4 – Battambang. 5 – Kampot & Kep. 6 – Mondulkiri. 7 – Ratanakiri. 8 – Kratie. 9 – Prasat Preah Vihear. 10 – Khmer Cuisine.
It’s obvious why Siem Reap and the Angkor Temples made it to the top spot. LP confirms why: One of the world’s most magnificent sights, the temples of Angkor are so much better than the superlatives. Choose from Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious building: Bayon, one of the world’s weirdest, with its immense stone faces: or Ta Prohm, where nature runs amok. Buzzing Siem Reap, with a superb selection of restaurants and bars, is the base for temple exploration. Beyond lie floating villages on the Tonle Sap lake, adrenalin-fuelled activities like quad biking and ziplining, and such cultured pursuits as cooking classes and birdwatching.
Khmer cuisine made it into the Top 10 so its worth hearing why LP included it: Everyone has tried Thai and Vietnamese specialities before they hit the region, but Khmer cuisine remains under the culinary radar. Amok (baked fish with lemongrass, chilli and coconut) is the national dish, but sumptuous seafood and fresh-fish dishes are plentiful, including Kep crab infused with Kampot pepper. It wouldn’t be Asia without street snacks and Cambodia delivers everything from noodles (mee) and congee (bobor; rice porridge) to deep-fried tarantulas and roasted crickets. With subtle spices and delicate herbs , Cambodian food is an unexpected epicurean experience.
LP highlights 5 useful websites for Cambodia and this blog is one of them. How perceptive of them.
Labels: Lonely Planet Cambodia
Friday, August 15, 2014
Festival of traditions
|Malen and me at the Amatak opening tonight|
The main event, after the speeches, at tonight's opening ceremony of the Amatak Festival was a story called Nary's Journey which paired the Cambodian Living Arts troupe with playwright Jean-Baptiste Phou, who has worked on the Khmer opera Where Elephants Weep and Winds of Angkor. Lots of traditional storylines, music and singing as a city dwelling-daughter came face to face with her mother's rural village life. Watched by a who's who of the arts scene in Phnom Penh including many of the living masters who have helped breathe life back into Khmer arts.
|The gorgeous wedding headdress|
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
After the verdict
Labels: Khmer Rouge Tribunal
Monday, August 11, 2014
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Friday, August 8, 2014
Still on sale
|Dany with a copy of To Cambodia With Love|
If you weren't aware, To Cambodia With Love, a guidebook with a difference, was published at the end of 2010. I edited the book, with contributions from over sixty fellow lovers of Cambodia, and over 120 stories to get your teeth into. Below is my introduction to the book. I think it says it all.
Andy Brouwer's Introduction to To Cambodia With Love
Excerpted from To Cambodia With Love: A Travel Guide for the Connoisseur, available from ThingsAsian Press.
How do I describe my love of Cambodia? I'm not the world's greatest wordsmith, so I'll keep it simple. In 1994 I came to this country for five of the most exhilarating, nerve-jangling, and frightening days of my life-and that was it. I was hooked, completely, by a country and a people who've subsequently enriched my life to a degree I never thought possible. Those five days sparked a passion that grew with each of my annual visits, culminating in my migration here three years ago. I truly feel at home, I belong, I love every day of my life here, and I want to share my passion for this country with everyone. To Cambodia With Love is the perfect vehicle to do just that.
Fortunately, you don't have to read my inadequate prose to understand the essence of Cambodia. I've joined forces with more than sixty contributors who know this country as well as I do-better in many instances-and who I'm convinced will inspire you to come and see for yourself why this beautiful land is so alluring. Whether it's acclaimed memoirist Loung Ung eating chive rice cakes in the Russian Market in Phnom Penh, journalist Karen Coates exploring a bird sanctuary in Preah Vihear Province, pioneering guidebook author Ray Zepp riding a traditional norry along countryside railway tracks, or scholar and Angkor historian Dawn Rooney explaining her favorite time to visit Cambodia's most celebrated temple, there are essays to feed your obsession if you're already hooked, or spark a love that will continue to grow after your Cambodian baptism.
I urge you to discover and unearth Cambodia's secrets, some of which you will find within these pages, others you must find for yourself-and you will, I assure you. Wander amongst the crowded maze of its markets, absorb the slow pace of village life in a rural landscape where few travelers venture, discover the unique lifestyle along the Mekong River, and above all, appreciate a culture and setting that spawned the incredible temples of Angkor, the jewel in Cambodia's crown. Fifteen years ago, I was blessed to see the Angkor temples without the crowds, to experience sunrise over the pineapple towers of Angkor Wat in glorious solitude, and for that I will be eternally grateful. Though the secret of Angkor is now well and truly out in the open-it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world-there are still many opportunities to grasp your own special memories and lock them away forever, as I have ... beginning with a few suggestions in this book.
I know it's a bit of a tired cliché that it's the people of this and that country that make it such a wonderful place, but the truth is, they really do. Cambodia is no different. After weathering decades of bloodshed and civil war, poverty, and instability, the Khmer have proved their incredible resilience, and their smile remains as bewitching as it has throughout time. The friendships I've developed over the years will last forever. No one will leave Cambodia without a large chunk of admiration and fondness for the people they encounter. You have my guarantee.
This is not a definitive guide to Cambodia. Far from it. It is about inspiration, discovery, sharing, and above all else, a love and a respect for a country that has changed my life forever, as I hope it will change yours.
Editor, To Cambodia With Love