Thursday, November 15, 2007

Luxury and craftsmanship...and female warriors!

No, its not Tracy Island for all your closet Thunderbirds fans in the UK (children's tv show from the mid-60s), it’s a brand new luxury resort on a private island off the Cambodian coast, some six kilometers from Sihanoukville. Its called the Mirax Resort, its perched high on the island of Koh Dek Koul and is the height of luxury and privacy in its twelve exotic suites, with one-of-a-kind antiques, custom-made furnishings, Chinese gravures and local hand-woven silks. The ocean views are spectacular as the rich and famous enjoy romantic alfresco dining at Nautilus or the Mirax Club, or relax and get pampered at the Mirax O’Spa. The presidential suites cost $3,000 a night while the standard suites pitch in at a mere $360 per night. Russian backing is behind the Resort and I sailed past the island on my way out to Koh Rung a couple of weeks ago.

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The November edition of fah Thai magazine, the in-flight glossy produced by Bangkok Air, carries an article, Ahead of Time by Jenny Hall, who visits the Siem Reap workshops of Artisans d'Angkor and highlights the success of this organization in resurrecting the craftsmanship of bygone ages. Read the article here.
Artisans d’Angkor offers regular guided tours of both the Siem Reap workshops on Stung Thmey Street and the Angkor Silk Farm. Tours are conducted daily from 8am to 5pm at the Angkor Silk Farm and from 7.30am to 6.30pm for the Siem Reap Workshops at Chantiers-Ecoles. There is a complimentary shuttle bus service to the silk farm if a reservation is confirmed at one of the boutiques, with daily departures from Chantiers-Ecoles at 9.30am and 1.30pm. For more information, visit their website.
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Women warriors may have battled in ancient Cambodia by AFP
Archaeologists have found female skeletons buried with metal swords in Cambodian ruins, indicating there may have been a civilisation with female warriors, the mission head said today. The team dug up 35 human skeletons at five locations in Phum Snay in northwestern Cambodia in research earlier this year, said Japanese researcher Yoshinori Yasuda, who led the team. "Five of them were perfect skeletons and we have confirmed all of them were those of females," Yasuda told AFP. The skeletons were believed to date back to the first to fifth century AD. The five were found buried together with steel or bronze swords, and helmet-shaped objects, said Yasuda, who is from the government-backed International Research Center for Japanese Studies. "It is very rare that swords are found with women. This suggests it was a realm where female warriors were playing an active role," he said. "Women traditionally played the central role in the rice-farming and fishing societies," he said. "It's originally a European concept that women are weak and therefore should be protected. The five skeletons were well preserved because they had been buried in important spots at the tombs," he said. It was the first time that large-scale research was conducted on the Phum Snay relics, which were found in 1999. It is believed there was a civilisation inhabited with several thousand rice-farming people between the first to fifth century.

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