A Right Royal Feast– films, music and restaurants…
on So Now It's Cambodia (Cambodia), 05/Jun/2013 17:05, 34 days ago
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Normal0falsefalsefalseMicrosoftInternetExplorer4st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) }/* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;}It’s been a bit of a whirlwind of events here in Phnom Penh recently! The weekend before last we were treated to an excellent piano recital in the elegant Hotel Intercontinental, by the charismatic young Italian pianist Julian Gargiulio, who was joined by a superbly mellifluous Japanese soprano called Satomi Ogawa. Julian has been before and has distinctive long curly hair which arouses much comment – mainly from himself!He is an entertaining presenter along the Victor Borge lines and he weaves stand up comedy into his recital. This can be very funny but has a tendency to prolong proceedings, as it turned out to be a very long concert! The soprano (who also happens to be Miss Universe Japan– whatever that means) had a wonderful, expressive voice and superb presentation. She performed several well known operatic arias as well as a Japanese song and the popular song “Monica” written by the recently deceased King Father of Cambodia. I’d have liked to have heard more! They were joined by local Cambodian clarinettist who teaches at the school where I teach. He's a very talented musician and extremely modest. He bought a whole load of clarinets just so he could teach young people here.http://www.expat-advisory.com/events/southeast-asia/cambodia/phnom-penh/catch-cambodian-star-benefit-gala-concertThe event was organised to raise further funds for Music Scholarships for Cambodians and it was attended by at least one if not two Cambodian Princes. There was much sponsorship from the local fashion houses (Ambre etc.Normal0falsefalsefalseMicrosoftInternetExplorer4http://romydaketh.net/biography.php) so it was quite a glamorous event altogether. I suspect I was the only person there in Marks and Spencer trousers!During last week a new jazz club (the Groove) opened up here and it’s just up the road from us! It’s been eagerly awaited and I went to the opening night which was very promising – it’s very stylish and Phil and Ritchy, our resident professional musicians (whose place it is), were on hand to provide the high quality music.There’s also been a film festival this week.http://memoryfilmfestival.org/This is quite amazing really as it’s all free and there are several films a day for over a week. There are some unusual films showing and we have already enjoyed a couple of them. The first was “La Joie de Vivre” made by the former King Father (Sihanouk) before the Cambodian film industry (and most of its actors and actresses)were decimated by the Khmer Rouge.http://memoryfilmfestival.org/It was a charming film set on Cambodia’s coast, which parodied the behaviour of the royal family in a farcical tale of amorous liaisons. The dancing policeman got the biggest laugh! Some of it is available on You Tube if you want to sample it:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16dQ9D15yYsWe were lucky to get in as we hadn’t realised the current king (the film maker’s son) was in attendance. This meant roads were closed and heavily guarded and invitations had been sent out. Somehow we persuaded them to let us in! It was shown in one of my favourite buildings here – the Chaktamuk Theatre (Conference Hall) designed by Vann Molyvann.http://www.tourismcambodia.com/travelguides/provinces/phnom-penh/what-to-see/327_chaktomuk-conference-hall.htmIt has a great feel to it but is rarely used for anything other than conferences. As is customary here, the occasion warranted introductory speeches in three languages lasting 25 minutes!After the film we decided to try the new Italian restaurant– La Terrazza - that’s part of the set up with the new jazz club. It’s a very smart and stylish place and the food superb. I really enjoyed my crab and Kampot pepper tagliatelle! Lovely wine too – I had the most expensive glass which was $4.50 - so can’t complain about that! Those who knowCambodia will be interested to know that the manager of “Il Forno” in Siem Reap - which previously had the best pizza in Cambodia – is now part of the team at this restaurant! There’s a self contained pizza section upstairs as well! We rounded off the evening with a very pleasant visit to the jazz club which is self contained upstairs. It was nice to able to walk home afterwards!We made the effort for an early Sunday morning start as the film festival was showing Jacques Tati’s “Jour de Fete” at the crack of dawn (ok – 9.00 o’clock!). Luckily, we’re both big fans of his work and we were joined by Wendy, a VSO volunteer from the north of Cambodia. We all laughed throughout and had tears in our eyes. If you haven’t seen it then it’s worth a try and extracts are available on You Tube.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jour_de_F%C3%AAtehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXhRPnh1JSUThere were not as many at this one as the night before, so we practically had the place to ourselves and the speeches were delightfully brief! We followed this with a delicious brunch at another new eatery called“Duck” (next to Meta House Arts Centre). It’s run by an Australian and is another welcome addition to the culinary scene here!https://www.facebook.com/TheDuckPhnomPenhYou can even see“my breakfast” Eggs Benedict on their Facebook page!While all this has been going on we’ve both succumbed to a nasty cold which is going the rounds here and Alison even needed the day off yesterday. However, we did find the energy to go to “West Side Story” tonight, which was showing at our local flicks called “the Flicks!” A classic if ever there was one. On Friday we’reescaping the building works of Phnom Penh, for a couple of days by the coast at Kep, where we’ll stay at the Verandah.After a very long spell of very hot weather (high 30’s/low 40’s) the temperature’s finally dropped and we’ve had a bit of rain to cool us down (the "locals" blame our colds on the change in the weather!). Hopefully, the rainy season won’t spoil the trip to much for us.