THREE LARGE events are covered here: the boat festival, a cultural show, and the really cool cyclo race. These days I imagine there a great deal more of these kinds of things.
Regrettably I gave my cameras the day of for another uniquely Cambodian event, a Honda Cub Rally. Riders on the ubiquitous workhorse scooter, racing round a dirt track at the Olympic Stadium, in 70, 90 and 110cc classes!
Events don't come more Cambodian than a cyclo race.
Foreign companies and NGOs sponsored the race.
The circuit passed famous landmarks like the Royal Palace, along the typically wide boulevards.
Drivers worked in pairs, changing at each lap.
The winner was the pair who completed the most laps in the 4-hour period.
I don't know what the prize money was, but these lads were going hell for leather, cornering on two wheels. Awesome spectacle.
I managed to swing some back stage access to a cultural performance at the National Stadium.
The event was sponsored by the FUNCIPEC royalist party (hence the guns).
From the modern, like acrobats and clowns......
....village harvest dance....
....the gracious peacock dance....
....and the highly formal tradition dances of the Angkor courts.
Lots of details and finishing touches go on backstage to make these performances perfect.
The very survival of these arts and their teachers should not be taken for granted.
The Khmer Rouge wiped out most of the artists and their teachers.
The few teachers and artists not killed have incredibly saved much of Cambodian culture.
Cambodia is blessed with two water festivals.
The more famous New Year in April, and in November, the boat festival, which coincides with the reversal of the flow of the Tonle Sap.
November's water festival brings huge crowds to parklands fronting the river opposite the Royal Palace.
Teams of boat racers from all around the country compete.
It harks back to the time when the Kings would bless the river at the exact moment it reversed. Magic powers, y'know.
The ailing King Sihanouk was absent that year, but his son Prince Norodom put in an appearance.
Even his royal guards enjoyed the festive atmosphere.