Saturday, November 24, 2007

Water festival kicks-off

This is the illuminated boat from the Ministry of Tourism
Whoever said it gets very busy at the riverfront during water festival hit the nail on the head. It was pandemonium. Busy, noisy and a bit dangerous with so many people walking the streets but moto’s were still allowed to weave in and out of the pedestrians, which I thought was extremely stupid. A complete ban on motorized traffic should be enforced with that many people on the streets of Phnom Penh including lots of very small children. Anyway, I only went to the riverfront after dark for my evening meal at the Bopha Phnom Penh restaurant, my favourite chicken curry eating place so far. The chunks of chicken are stupendous and the curry sauce is spot-on. But the main feature of the Bopha is the view across the river and my 6.30pm booking was timed to perfection as I caught the last half of the fireworks show and the first and second parade of the illuminated flotilla of boats that included entrants from the Royal Palace and all the major government ministries - see my photos. They were pretty impressive and made a great spectacle as they sailed up and down the Tonle Sap River. In various locations around the capital, large stages have been set up for music and dance concerts and I watched the ones in front of the Bopha, the Post Office and Wat Phnom before making my way home. One sour note from the day's racing is that five Singaporean rowers are missing feared drowned when their boat capsized.

1 comment:

Bob Uva said...

Beautiful pics Andy! They really do a nice job on those boats. Hey, you don't mention that the festival is to celebrate the end of the rainy season, after which the Tonle Sap river will eventually reverse direction as the lake loses water in the dry season. I read that on the VOA blog. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!